26 December 2007
Please put a penny in the poor man's hat.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
17 December 2007
I can't believe they did this one. Go listen.
23 November 2007
TheWorldOf Tomorrow: Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to speak with us on everything under the sun.
Patchouli Partyfennec: Pleasure's all mine.
TWOT: Why don't you start by telling us a little about yourself, Pat?
PP: well, there's not really much to think of. I was born about 1873 in Malacca. Father passed away shortly after I was born, due to complications from pregnancy.
TWOT: Ahh... usually, it's the mother who dies from complications from pregnancy.
PP: The poor man was really flustered. He apparently keeled over from a stroke in his panic to get the midwife over.
PP: Prior to that, he was kinda fretting about finding the money to keep me properly educated on being a fine young fennec.
TWOT: It must have been hard on your mother.
PP: Yes, yes it was. I understand I wasn't very polite or well-behaved as a child. But she really took pains to make sure I had a semblance of a normal childhood like any Peranakan girl deserved. My being an only child possibly helped.
TWOT: So you had a good childhood and grew up into a perfectly upright fennec there, I see. That's it? no dark disturbing secrets?
PP: Well I may have indulged in opium a tad bit before it was banned. There was a den near my home, and the ventilation wasn't exactly airtight.
PP: I may have inhaled a few times as a kid whilst walking by...
TWOT: Opium? How... quaint. I've seen people on harder drugs straight from the local pharmacist.
PP: Like that Seclimine stuff Gideon Teevee drops occasionally?
TWOT: Yeah, that stuff.
PP: A bit distasteful to me. drugs is for people who can't take meta-reality.
PP: But those days are pretty much behind me now. Being a mentor means being disciplined in public.
TWOT: all the time?
PP: Welll... not all the time. Like anyone else , I do have my own foibles, but I don't smoke anything at all these days. As for anything else, you may not dig further on this detail, young man.
PP: Charming fellow from some little town named Caledon visited and offered to pay my passage and my school fees. Naturally, I sprung at the chance.
TWOT: That was a pretty hefty teleport there, yes. Do you regret making that trip at times?
PP: At times, yes, I am a tad homesick
PP: but you live with the world you know, not the world you want
PP: and there's enough going on here that I rarely have time to indulge myself in any lowish moods.
PP: Besides, the Peranakan Museum here is pretty close to what I would have had if I hadn't been so hasty about my choices in life.
TWOT: Nicely spoken... so what's your biggest pet peeve these days?
PP: While working, one of the biggest problems I face as a mentor is getting people to read. While it's not really solvable when the person in question doesn't understand the language used, it's rather appalling at times how some people don't have the same spark of curiosity that I used to have.
PP: They just walk right past the sign, and they don't even think of examining it, or touching it.
TWOT: Maybe they're too busy to do so?
PP: Excuses of the lazy. if you know you can read something in front of you, you should. it may be important enough to your enjoyment of the world, perhaps even your wellbeing, to do so. There are so many examples I laugh/cry over.
PP: For example, the newbie who didn't read the danger sign shortly before he tipped himself into a grinding machine at a shop for gore fans.
TWOT: Could the possibility be considered that maybe he INTENDED to try out the machine?
PP: ... possibly, but you'd think the pain would be a negative selling point. And then there's the greedy guts I see sometimes.
PP: It's amazing how many people actually attempt to sell freebies. FREEBIES. FREE-bies. What part of that is not understandable to these people?
TWOT: The 'free' part?
PP: The thought had occurred to me, yes. We are talking about the labour of the people involved in creating these items, which is worth something, but being given for nothing, just being ripped off.
PP: It's appalling, and if I had my way they'd be dangling off a nice hanging noose for it.
TWOT: You live with the world you know, not the world you want, remember?
TWOT: You've been around long enough, are there any locations that you would recommend personally to anyone?
PP: I would recommend any newcomer to Second Life hang out at a new resident support organisation such as The Shelter or New Citizens Incorporated .
PP: For eye candy, Light Waves' work at Black Swan (formerly Rezzable Hallucinogen, formerly Error) has to be seen to be believed. just the ones that come to mind right on the spot.
PP: You must excuse me, I have other matters to attend to soon.
TWOT: cya later? and thanks for taking the time to say hello there.
Anyways, keep watching.
Nota Bene: This series of interviews will be conducted mostly by TheWorldOf Tomorrow. If you enjoy it, be sure to tip your reporter woozl :D
15 November 2007
Foamee is a Twitter application that takes advantage of the time-honored cliche "Have a beer on me". By following @ioubeer and texting a message with your Twitter account specifically to @ioubeer, you too can now reward people with virtual beer for one good reason or another...
This world gets crazier by the minute...
08 November 2007
07 November 2007
02 November 2007
His name is Tiberious Neruda, and he is a friend of mine.
Certain individuals who believe they have the license to lie as journalists have painted this tiger in army slacks as a childlover.
I have known Tiberious Neruda almost since my first days as a Agnian in November 2006. Like most residents he has his penchants, his flaws, even his fetishes. Those fetishes do not extend to humping little kids. He would not associate with builds or groups known to indulge in sexual ageplay, and he has no love of ageplay whatsoever.
Like most tigers however, he has a big bite when he is clearly wronged. I cannot imagine he would simply let this slide, and I don't imagine whoever did this will come out of this in one piece. Well, maybe he will.
I just don't think it will be the same-sized piece. That's the thing about big bites - they tend to make things smaller.
As a personal request, he has asked that I not disclose extra details of this matter beyond what I have noted so far to anyone else, pending further action, and I will respect that as a friend. The only three things I would ask are these:
- There are people who have known Tiberious Neruda for several years, in a world where one's personal foibles become all too well known pretty fast. (It must be something in the air in Agni or something.) Why was he not turned in earlier if sexual ageplay or child pornography was illegal in Second Life, as it always has been? or is there something that the journo has not revealed, because doing so would make a total mockery of what he intends to write?
- If you know Tiberious or have known Tiberious in his time in SL or RL, on a genuine personal, unmercenary basis, please show him your support in these trying times. That's what being a friend is all about.
- If this is eventually going to lead to where I think it is going, you can have anything else, but I want the head to mount on my wall.
I will not comment on this further until after the matter is resolved in a matter that is deemed satisfactory. It would not be... fair.
12 October 2007
26 September 2007
Special Thanks to Hervy Rikchi and TheWorldOf Tomorrow. (Yes, there really is such a Resident in SL.) He's da Woozl. No, I really didn't eat him... I think.
17 September 2007
pdp over at GNUCITIZEN highlights a serious exploit that affects Windows-based Second Life Users. Read this like your SL depended on it, because it does!
Explaination of exploit:
The exploit basically uses a inline frame tag with a deliberately malformed set of parameters. (This is a common trick in Cross-Site-Scripting Attacks) it passes what is apparently a secondlife protocol link, which should fire up the SL client by default and pass along the parameters following it.
In a proper secondlife:// link, it would simply be a sim name and XYZ coordinates in a segmented URL). However, this hack truncates the URL awkwardly and instead passes on command-line options that specify that the client should fire up the client and automatically and submit login details, including a MD5 hash of your password if "Remember Password" is enabled in the client, to a specified server at another URL other than the one for the Agni or ADITI grids as run by Linden Lab.
This is a severe compromise, as a false login can be performed at the genuine Second Life authentication servers simply by playing back the request from start to finish (actually logging into the Second Life website would require a further step of unscrambling the password hash, which is possible, albeit tricky, no thanks to pregenerated 'rainbow tables' from projects established to break MD5.)
Until this issue is publicly addressed and fixed by Linden Lab, my recommendation would be to disable password caching by unchecking "Remember Password" at the client login screen. An attempted auto-login would still send your name and client version and type as in a normal login request, but without a saved password to hash, no password will be sent along, rendering this exploit mostly useless.
Switching to Firefox would also help. The vulnerability in IE that is used to run this exploit also used to exist in Firefox, but was patched within days of recognising its existence (yay for FOSS). Attempting the same attack on a updated copy of Firefox would merely result in Second Life being passed a odd "Startup Location" rather than actual command line options (with the security leak that could be used to create)
16 September 2007
I got that odd feeling while watching a anime movie tonight. The name of the movie is "Paprika", and it is based on a sci-fi Japanese novel about the ramifications of playing with people's dreams without due care.
It was directed by Satoshi Kon, whose previous works such as Tokyo Godfathers, Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, and Millenium Agent were commonly known for depicting uncertainty in the boundaries between realities, aided by the fact that anime is a considerably more economical artform for depicting the odd and the bizzare. In this movie, Paprika continues to play the fool, but a very interesting fool.
The plot is relatively simple: the prototypes for a world-changing advance in psychotherapy are stolen before the work needed to make them safe for widespread use is completed. In less than ten minutes, we are already thrown in the deep end as the protagonist, a young redhaired dream detective named "Paprika" explores the concerns of a cop with mental issues through interacting with his dreams, using one of the prototypes as a diagnostic tool, which has been illegally smuggled out of the lab. The opening sequence after she takes her leave is surreal, and surprisingly detailed, something that keeps repeating throughout the movie .
Paprika's RL ego is actually a chief researcher for a psychiatric facility named Atsuko, and a surprising contrast to the saucy lass - for starters, she seems horrendously uptight and serious, fearful for the future of the DC Mini technology and its potential for abuse without proper access controls.
Surreal is the keyword here. This is pretty much what David Lynch would have done if he had turned to cels instead of celluloid to film his works. Within the first ten minutes of the film, we already start getting an inkling of how potentially serious the problem is as the thief infiltrates a delusional dream into a colleague's brain, causing him to burst into a really odd essay on stuff as he starts seeling strange dreamlike things while still awake:
"Even the five court ladies danced in sync to the frog's flutes and drums. The whirlwind of recycled paper was a sight to see. It was like computer graphics. That I don't support Technicolor parfaits and snobby petit bourgeois is common knowledge in Oceania! Now is the time to return home to the blue sky! The confetti will dance around the shrine gates. The mailbox and the refrigerator will lead the way! Anyone who cares about expiration dates will not get in the way of the glory train! They need to fully realize the liver of the triangle rulers! Now, this festival was decided by the third grade class with the telephoto camera! Move forward! Come together! I am the ultimate governor!"
And then he jumps through a window, several stories above ground level. For what?
Thank god for well-placed trees. It gets much wierder from here onwards. The movie doesn't have a tonne of separate plotlines... what it DOES have is atmosphere. quite hard to describe, but if you watched it, you'd see it.
To describe it further is to spoil a very good film.
If you see it, rent it. better yet, buy it.
The soundtrack is equally gorgeous, with most songs heavily laden with verbal scatting and lyrical singing as composed by Susumu Hirasawa. In fact, two songs have been released free of charge (for noncommercial uses only) from the soundtrack. If they are any indication of the quality of the OST, I think I will be placing an order for it when I see it at my local record store.
14 September 2007
Some good proposals, and comments are welcome at the original post as always. Your opinions will help make up proposals on the matter she plans to put forth to the people above - make it count :D
06 September 2007
His latest video is something different: film noir kittens, heartbreak and more rain than a worst day ever.
20 August 2007
I wonder why... ^^;
Cool stuff, if you can wrangle it. the toolkit from NORTEC LABS is available on SLExchange at http://slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=297916
19 August 2007
Bioshock Steam Preload
Under normal circumstances, I would question a claim like this for any other game...
Except for one problem here: Bioshock is System Shock with a new genetically engineered Art Deco flavor.
Bioshock has the world's best water since idiots tried to put infinite planes in Doom and call it water.
Bioshock has a seriously disturbed art design and direction. Even their idea of kawaii goes into the spooky.
Bioshock will do System Shock and unlike the previous two versions, it will be a major hit. I'm going to save you the continued blurb and let you google for it - it's been plastered all over the place repeatedly in recent weeks.
In short, I'm not normally keen on system disruptions... but if it's for dozens of people giving a good game the attention it genuinely deserves, I think I can live with it. Just this weekend.
Seriously, if you're running a modern, over-powered DX9.0+/10 rig and you're only using it for Second Life at the moment, you seriously owe it to yourself to go over and grab a copy even if you're not exactly a FPS junkie by default (the game has ways of playing through that deemphasise twitch if you look carefully enough, though one might question exactly what sort of sacrifices are required)
12 August 2007
"Welcome to BarterTown"
Vandeverre is right ... and wrong when he says "have no monetary value". You see, as long as he sticks to first party tokens (W$, in this case) he's right. We're just talking game tokens. However, any interaction with Linden Dollars (L$) or other currencies messes up the statement. -Tateru Nino
Take it away, Tat!
As with any commentary or advice, always think carefully based on your own circumstances as well. I for one do not imagine I will continue to invest in the WSE if this is true, but I'll be asking my accountant for a second opinion.
This letter just arrived in my mailbox. for those of you who have funds currently trapped in with Ginko Financial, it bears reading:
GINKO FINANCIAL ACCOUNT TRANSFERS COMPLETED!
All Ginko Financial account holders now have an account on the World Stock Exchange and all Ginko Perpetual Bonds have been issued.
Any Ginko account balance with decimal values has been transferred to your new WSE trading account balance. WSE trading accounts earn a base yearly interest rate of 15.95% calculated daily and paid fortnightly (every 14 days). *Subject to change without notice.
If you did not have an existing WSE account please reset your password by visiting a WSE ATM and typing: "reset password".
You can view a list of WSE ATM locations by visiting: https://www.wselive.com/education/atms
ABOUT THE WORLD STOCK EXCHANGE
World Stock Exchange (WSE) is a fictional securities exchange developed for use in virtual worlds such as Second Life. The exchange provides Virtual companies with the ability to raise capital using the fictional Linden and World Internet Currencies.
The journey started in December 2006 with an opportunity which was followed by the vision of Australian entrepreneur Luke Connell. Today the concept of an Internet based World Stock Exchange servicing the virtual world community of Second Life has achieved over 24000 trading accounts and over 60 virtual companies exceeding 400 million linden dollars in trading volume. The WSE has exceeded all expectations however it is an emerging and development market that will always be improving. This is only the beginning.
The World Stock Exchange includes enhanced security features such as 256-bit SSL encryption, Risk API for Second Life residents along with the ability for general Internet users with a browser to trade on the World Stock Exchange using the World Internet Currency.
The World Internet Currency acts as one fictional currency bridging the gap between the real and virtual worlds. This will encourage growth in the virtual economies around the world especially in Second Life while providing the everyday Internet users with the ability to LEARN - HAVE FUN AND PROFIT.
By visiting and using the World Stock Exchange website (www.wselive.com) you will be accepting the WSE Terms of Service ("TOS" located on www.wselive.com. Please read them carefully and if you disagree with the TOS in any way, then do not use the web site or services provided by the World Stock Exchange.
The WSE provides users with a fully automated trading platform that operates 24 hours, 7 Days per week. Traders have access to real-time and historical trading data allowing them to make informed decisions.
To learn about the World Stock Exchange and how to use the our services please visit our Education Centre which can be found at https://www.wselive.com/education
*'Virtual Company' refers to an Internet based business generating income from a fictional currency and includes many businesses based in virtual worlds and 3D multi user environments such as Second Life.
'Fictional Services' are all "Fictional" services provided by HopeCapital on the World Stock Exchange. Fictional services are an imaginative creation in a simulated gaming and education environment that are without basis in reality and hold no legal monetary or asset value.
'Fictional Currency' is used as game tokens and have no monetary value in and of themselves and as a result are not be taxable as income. In most cases a fictional currency constitutes a limited license right for use by account holders and is subject to the terms of each Fictional Currency provider. The World Stock Exchange supports the "Linden Currency" (Linden Dollar, LND$, L$, Lindens) and the "World Internet Currency" (WIC, WICS, W$).
The financial and group operations of a virtual company are controlled and managed by the controlling WSE account holder who is assigned with the title CEO.
Chairman and CEO,
World Stock Exchange
World Stock Exchange
An interesting turn of events, to be sure. a 15% p.a. return may be considerably lower than what Ginko was offering, but more realistic (although this rate is normally associated more with credit card bills than most deposits)
I gotta ask: will you hold, or will you fold? Replies in the comments please :D
06 August 2007
This would seem to make the case that a democratic approach to software development would make sense: let people make more decisions as to what they want, and vote for it. Bees do it all the time. Zerg hives as well. It's a form of swarm theory - nobody sees the big picture, but they have the same interests in general that the decisions that they make wind up being the most efficient.
Swarm theory, unfortunately, only works well if you're THINKING reasonably and looking at it with a reasonable skillset. If not, you need to be able to put your foot down and say 'no' at some point. at some point, giving everyone a say and a veto for everything leads to total sloth in development.
Just ask the people who are waiting for perl 6 how long they've been waiting for their Holy Grail. :( It is not a pretty answer, and contains 300 RFCs since 2000. 6 years plus of waiting for upgrades to a language that is readable only by savants, or severe hair-tearing. 6 years is a long time in Internet years - do you want to wait that long for anything to happen?
I thought not.
Software development will always be a meritocracy or oligarchy (developer/client owned/controlled). Live with it. Let a thousand ideas bloom, and stop trying to hamper other people's ideas with FUD without reasoned analysis.
(Disclaimer: The writer uses more scripting languages and does more graphics/scripting than actual programming languages, but most things that apply in scripting development and graphic design still apply in programming too :( )
"If I listented to people all the time when I was working, nothing would ever get done."
01 August 2007
Now any bank, in any world, will more often than not have very little of the finances it claims to own available for withdrawal. Money sitting in actual currency rather than sunk into investments is money that does not earn money. However, not having enough of this float to cover depositor's regular demands up front is dangerous: word gets around fast and eventually, the bank loses consumer confidence. There are also costs involved in cutting and running from investments prematurely. It's a balancing act on tightrope, perched above fiducial damnation.
One of the biggest victims of this run on SL Banks has been Nicholas Portocarrero's Ginko Financial. Eloise Pasteur writes in the Second Life Insider a summary of the matter as well as some good links to other websites that practically thrive on reporting this sort of thing. Nobody Fugazi has also attempted to tease more answers about his intentions out of Nicholas as well, and the results are in his KnowProSE blog.
It is not as if Ginko was a stranger to controversy. Since the moment it offered what was initially an effective interest rate of about 72% p.a. in its heyday, the company has been accused (fairly or otherwise) of being a Ponzi scheme by many residents on one hand, . On the other, you have Residents who have ridden the tiger and profitted significantly (encouraged in part by the explosive growth in signups in Second Life.), who urge that Ginko can be a valid investment like any other investment instrument that is native to Agni provided you do your homework before investing and never risk anything that you can't afford to risk.
So withdrawals per day from Ginko have been significantly capped, and its offered interest rate reduced significantly since then. To make matters worse, prudence has dictated that the Ginko Financial Lottery be shut down in case it falls foul of LL's recent ban on wagering inworld. While part of the rake from tickets was always going to seed the current draw and the next, there was also a portion being funnelled back into Ginko's fund.
While I was browsing over earlier today, I found that Ginko Financial has introduced two things:
- It has cut interest on openly accessible funds to 0.1% per day from the 0.13% it offered in previous weeks due to a earlier run by residents to other banks perceived to have more financial stability...
- and it has introduced term deposits.
What are Term Deposits anyway? Especially if you're a teen fresh off the TSL or someone who's not particulary keen on financial knowledge, this might sound newfangled.
Unlike a normal bank savings account, a term deposit is essentially a contract with a bank whereby you hand the bank an agreed amount of money for an agreed period to earn an agreed interest rate.
For the duration of this contract, you cannot take any of this money out for use on other matters. This is money that the bank does not have to budget for in its cash float till the day it matures at the end of the term, and can be sunk in to investments that require more stable funding but promise greater interest. Some banks in real life DO offer early term deposit cashouts, but impose onerous penalties to ensure that depositors do not do so unless they have absolutely no choice.
On the flip side however, the bank also pays a price of sorts for this stability in its investment funds: many term deposits are tied to a higher interest rate than the current interest rate set by the banks in order to compensate for the inability to access the funds involved, and this increases slightly with every extra month or dollar tied up in the deposit. This rate is also not renegotiable for the term of the contract - bad news for the bank if the interest rates fall.
And it still has to be repaid at the end of the term. It is still possible for a bank to default and fail to be able to make payment of depositors' demands in the end - only worse, because all that extra interest means more money owing.
Different banking jurisdictions will have different ideas about what to do in the event that a bank falls over from the weight of its obligations. For instance, the FDIC guarantees up to US$100,000 per investor per insured bank on any bank defaults in America (with extra insurance provided in certain cases), with anyone who has more than the insured limit basically plumb out of luck for the excess barring any successful legal action. Other countries may have more generous offers to cushion the blow, or totally fail to provide a safety net - check your local governmental body on finance for more details.
And there, for most of us, is the nub. In Second Life, regulation is not a cornerstone of most of our activities (excepting possibly the Terms of Service, The Big Six, and whatever covenants our landlords require us to agree to). Who watches the bank? Except for a few million depositors and a couple of more attentive, more inquisitive residents, most finance in Second Life is virtually bereft of oversight, not to mention guarantees or insurance. if a SL bank falls, you're going to be left picking up the pieces barring the appearance of some damn fool who doesn't mind spending money to pick up the tab (and possibly some other ulterior motives - banks don't get bailed for altruistic reasons)
It is a double-edged sword: it cuts out a lot of the costs many oversight bodies inflict on banks as a result, and allows them to take risks that a oversight body would disapprove of or even deny coverage for. But then, there's a reason why they were so prudent, these bodies. Having dozens of trained eyes to keep looking for possible problems in the system isn't cheap either.
So is taking out a term-deposit with Ginko, at what is effectively twice as much interest per day (and if you're taking a compounding interest deposit, considerably more than double the dividend due to the power of compounding) a good investment?
Yes. No. Maybe.
You have to ask if the future of Second Life is going to be bright enough that whatever portion of it Ginko can get hold of will be enough to service your deposit, especially if it's a compound interest deposit.
You have to ask if you can afford to let go of the money. You do NOT put your rental money into extremely highrisk investments. Let's be brutally frank - Ginko is inherently that with its lack of transparency and its insane interest rates (even if it HAS honored most withdrawals till recently). Money you don't mind losing is the best money to invest, especially with such risky instruments.
You have to ask if you can afford to let go of the money for long enough. whatever you put into term deposit is something you're not going to see for a long time. Possibly up to 360 days (just shy of a year) in this case. and especially more so if you're opting to keep the interest in play with a compounding deposit.
It's a personal choice. Best way to deal with them is to look at yourself and ask the questions you do want to hear... and the ones you DON'T want to hear (but really should).
Good luck out there.
(DISCLAIMER: The Author has sunk a modest amount she can afford to lose in a 30-day compounding deposit with Ginko. The author also recommends that the reader ideally seek more professional advice and opinion prior to committing to any financial investments, and will not be held responsible for any damages incurred due to failures in investment with Ginko or other banking companies.)
31 July 2007
- Catherine Fitzpatrick (I have it on good faith that whoever took this name is Second Life is NOT the genuine article. And so you know - judge a person in Second Life by his or her actions, not by his or her name...)
- CatherineAnn Fitzpatrick (EDIT: so Prokofy Neva registered this instead to play safe. Rationale: the horse may have bolted, but the pony hasn't... so shut the door already!)
- Oysters Fitzpatrick (Erm... I thought that stuff with the bacon and cheese bake was Kirkpatrick?)
- Paul Debevec (doesn't ring a bell? Think HDRI)
- Paul Huldschinsky (1944 Academy Award Winner - Best Arts Direction - for the movie 'GasLight")
- BaiOu Chemistry (Bio-chemistry. geddit? xD)
- NoDetectable Paulse (No Detectable Pulse xD)
- Vincent Price
- Half Price, HeavilyDiscounted Price and RecommendedRetail Price
- TheWorldOf Tomorrow
- PennyPinching Miszer
- Jonah Lomu
- Camui Gackt
- LetMeTellYouA Cooljoke
- Natsume Aya
- Ham Burger, Beef Burger, Chicken Burger, QuarterPounder Burger
- Maccaron Charron (think 'batmanbox')
- Judi Dench
- Electric Eel, Moray Eel
- EbbAnd Flow
- RollingInTheA Lisle
[EDIT - clarified actual ownership of Catherine and CatherineAnn Fitzpatrick names in Second Life. Catherine is owned by some random person, CatherineAnn by Prokofy Neva. Apologies for the misunderstanding]
30 July 2007
[22:49] Patchouli Woollahra multiplies into a horde of SL Vikings and chants 'gridbork' repeatedly.
yeah, me noggin's taking a funny turn. losing IQ points on a visible scale, even.
[2:17pm, 31/07/07] - Things are looking up more and more. TPs still borking regularly, and item rezzing not working perfectly, but considering where we were earlier, it looks better.
Going to sit for a while longer, then go to sleep in the sun.
26 July 2007
Wagering In Second Life: New Policy
Now I don't know about you, but I'll bet this is going to be a total bitch to enforce. Seriously guys, where do you draw the line? This is a question that needs a relatively clear answer.
All I can say is that Torley's office hours this Friday are going to be decidedly less civil. Ah well.
What worries me is the abruptness with which this policy is being announced. Governments that abruptly announce an about face on national tradition and prior rules tend to make abrupt turns like this only if they're totalitarian. More fuel for Prokofy, I say.
People are also asking me how I can continue to defend the Lindens after repeated incidences of this. I need to clarify some matters:
- The Lindens I work with are associated with first responses. They help to ensure the rules are followed, and that wrinkles in the system are followed.
- The Lindens I work with do NOT have much say as to exactly how rules should be formed. They also do NOT have much say to voice their opinions on this sort of thing, as to whether it is good or it is bad.
It just wouldn't be fair. It would be something I would be against doing.
22 July 2007
Cats, as everyone knows, sit on the window ledges where, as everyone knows, they collect solar rays. What everyone does not know is that they transform these solar rays directly into gravity. You can tell that they are doing this because when they get into the window they hardly ever make any noise; but when they get out they almost invariably go "thud."
You can't seriously make stuff like this up. To read the entire text (which makes a almost Agnian sort of sense), click over to: Robin Wood's Cat Gravity Poster. xD
19 July 2007
27 June 2007
I've been busy busy busy...
- I've been taking due care on my studies. This is my final semester at Edith Cowan University. I need to find a job after this month is through, basically. If you know of someone in Australia who needs a web developer and can cope with extensive use of telecommuting tools (outside of Perth - I can do physical presence in Perth), drop me a comment inworld by notecard - I'm all ears.
- I got back to working on Second Life's 4th Anniversary. If you see the SL01 Telehub/Tram Station complex in SL01 Region, or the New World Notes installation at SL01 PG, both of them were my work. I make no apologies for the lack of style or primming/textures on both of these builds - I didn't think showing my neighbours up was a good idea at all...
- Building a new outpost in Blumfield. Basically, the shop I run in Tamarack has become untenable in terms of accessibility, thanks to a camper arcade
It will eventually go. So I'm detiering. In the meantime, you can still reach me inworld by the usual means and methods - drop an IM or notecard, or visit me at The Living Room at Fishermans' Cove.
- Thinking very hard about my future, and the future of newcomer education in Second Life. Second Life remains esoteric to the average Internet user, and most Residents require a hand to understand it. Linden Labs has thrown open the provision of such orientations to select SL Resident Organisations that have a plan that doesn't involve mature content or crass commercialism. I for one welcome our new Orientations, and have started working on a few of them an hour or two at a time. This should be interesting.
01 June 2007
When I got home late, this is what greeted me:
Daniel Linden, I'd never thought I'd be able to say this of a Linden, but seriously... dood? how good can it be if even my school's firewall thinks your blog post reeks of the purest form of intolerance known to mankind?
Watch this if you love the following:
- vintage 2003 Second Life UI
- Chinese labels on everything.
- beta work that made the Primatar age of art as done by early Lindens in primatar outfits look like the damned Louvre.
- Sluggish helicopters
- Two different ways to draw a progress gauge screen, none of which are easy on the eyes.
- World Map drawn by some alternate world version of Torley Linden (who in this alternate world loves bananas).
- reduced quality and quantity of avatar UV maps, Appearance tweaks
- parachuting out of a helicopter in a stance associated with Vogue dancing, not parachuting
Everyone else keep clear. This really begs the question: why even bother? Wouldn't it be easier to just translate the SL UI to Chinese and use it instead?
(petitions to add QQcoin-L$ support to SL)
29 May 2007
28 May 2007
Instead, I was hanging out in Second Life a lot. Days where I would be in at the stroke of midnight to the stroke of midnight (the next day obviously) came around two or three times a week. These were wasted on exploring the sandboxes, the casinos (I spent a small sum on last-minute Slingo raids, but only what I could afford.), the furry fandom and gorean cities, the institutions and Svarga. Friendlist growth (and a couple of pares, I'm not ashamed to admit)
I spent enough time that I started getting comfy with my wildcat self and it showed when I got back to college from SL. I used to be fearful of interaction, often preferring the company of others considerably older and wiser than me. Having the feeling I could reach out and maul hard (even if only in spirit) gave me excuses to speak more to my classmates in non-professional matters.
Some wise dolt once said the next stage of progression from ceasing to fear others is to start making others fear you. I strongly disagree with this negative view of any world. The next thing is to offer help. I started to learn more and haunt other places. Help Island and Orientation Islands Public. Shovelling through the knowledge base regularly for help.
I put in an application.
Initially it was just to cover the bases - there had been horror stories where willng participants formalising their assistance towards others became a matter of waiting for months on end.
I got a lot of work done in the end though, throughout those days. It eventually became a matter of point where someone up there felt I should start running with the people in Live Help (later retermed Help Request, subsequently retired from public (ab)use).
At this point, I have something really personal to say. Shortly after I first badged up, in the midst of the congrats and the regular buzz-ins, someone tried to make me feel very unwelcome and unwanted. You took one look at my tag and my age while I was working hard, and dismissed me as a advanced hire into Second Life's concentrations and networks of power.
You managed to sledge the people who decided for me, the people who said I should apply for the job, and even a handful of people who were publicly my friends. The way you did it was perfectly legal, but it hurt. It hurt very badly.
I've kept one eye on you since then, and your behaviour has gotten no better since then. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse.
You should be ashamed of your self. You know very very well who you are. You spend thousands of dollars on land every month, partly to poison the ears of newcomers every passing day. You pass on values that, long-term, only lead to more suffering.
You're feted, but only amongst the very sort of people you claim to eschew. In short, you are the sort of trash whom nobody would mourn for long if you slipped up one day and got hauled for it.
Don't let me be the one to help you over the edge.
The months seem to have gone by very fast. I eased up on the throttle to avoid burnout, but I still got into the world with a passion.
Several hundred thousand other people would seem to concur with me. Just look at the 60-day login figure that comes up here...
All sorts of nationalities in that mix. Agni was once primarily a place filled with people from the western hemisphere (if that actually exists), people whose main choice of language was English, or japanese, or some European language I can't parse for gobbledygook.
Amazing what a difference a year makes. It say something when Max Case actually gets rejected from Yahoo Pipes and Google translation services suddenly after months of working on his Babbler translation software...
And some of these guys were Chinese. Setting aside the fact that Anshe Chung started from a very very low position (in more ways than one) in Second Life, China should be proud that it has a daughter who has reached out and grabbed her fortune in the "damned-if-I-don't" manner that only Chinese hunger can manifest. Publicity about her would have become an obvious thing.
And some of that would spark minds. While most of China labors under what can only be charitably described as dial-up on chewed copper wire mesh, there are some parts that have access to broadband. and computers with good 3d accelerators.
Get them into the hands of the curious and the interested, and you have visitors. Get visitors into Agni, and you have people who can't leave. Sure there's churn, but any online service has churn.
My first call in Chinese came through one quiet April evening. Prior to that, I had only noted my ability to handle Chinese as a matter of fact, and not even a given - half the incoming Chinese diaspora was educated in countries and ages where people didn't consider putting over ten strokes into a single character a waste of time or money.
It was a pretty interesting call. it was mundane, the usual call people put in asking for ways to make money in SL. But it was in Chinese.
Help Request may be dead, but I haven't stopped getting those calls. Two chinese phrases come to mind that keep popping up half the time:
It's an odd Chinese habit. you tend to leave China for anywhere. Paris, Egypt, California, Nanyang, Hongkong... anywhere but your home.
You don't even have to be a Hainanese (客家人，'guest people' - something like Chinese for wanderer). You just have to be Chinese, and in a position where things could improve for yourself and your family (which basically covers everyone living and breathing with Chinese roots)
You get out there, often become native - you learn the local rules and rites, the local language, the local demands and the ways you can contribute to society. You might forget your native language in whole or in part. But one thing remains:
When partaking of water, one considers the source. One forgets, but one doesn't forget totally. I remember being Chinese and of late, I've been finding more excuses to read it when time permits.
I've been rifling through my Besta. It is not a power workstation - hell, it doesn't even cope well with most things a Windows CE can do. But it IS a window into learning Chinese. (Bonus - if I get bored ever, I can learn Korean and Japanese later on with it as well xD) I spend an hour on it every day, and leave it to recharge once a week, and learn something random every day.
I really don't think I'll get out from any of this funk ever. Not that I'd want to.
On that note, I think I'm done. I apologise for making you guys sleepy and yawning, but I simply had to let go of my neuroses for a while. The funny and stupid will resume shortly.
23 May 2007
I need to reason it out, and I don't see the damage in doing so in front of you, my reader...
It's not something I advertise much, but in real life, I have a bit of Chinese heritage. I don't spew classics like a person seeking a official post in feudal China, but I can write and read simplified JianTiZi (Beijing's idea of Chinese, less strokes, more speed) at a level that lets me read the weekly Perth Chinese papers without picking up my Besta dictionary more than once or twice a page, though I don't speedread in JianTiZhi the way I do in English.
My real-life father once bragged that knowledge of Chinese opened the doors to an entire new kingdom in a way few other experiences could match (No, fanboi, your copy of WoW Burning Crusade doesn't hack it). I was the last person anyone would ask to translate anything written in Chinese. As a kid, I was rebellious in a way that proved deleterious later on in life, and I chafed at my father's suggestion to read the classics and learn the language deeply. I regret a little now that my command of Chinese is barely sufficient enough to order a short-order cook to get me my favorite mock beef claypot (he doesn't have a good command of English, but apparently, Australia is short on good cooks, so... ^^;)
For most of life, I felt far from comfortable with this aspect of me. I confess to having flunked formal Chinese qualifications on several occasions in my youth. In Singapore, failure to meet standards of understanding in one's mother tongue led often to abject failure. Significant work was done to correct this, but only after my cohort, sadly - There is a recognition that some people *JUST* don't cope well with their mother tongue in a country where a unified language is a must-have, and that this is not necessarily a sign of stupidity on its own. But it was too late for me...
Following my obligatory years in service to my country of birth, this necessitated relocating my RL avatar to Perth for further studies, where Chinese was an advantage only half the time. Except for a couple of stumbles, I have found a certain calm in the way my studies were conducted (barring my contraction of Ross River Virus, something that still occasionally moves in and makes my life a living hell for a few days).
There were others like me - bonded in a knowledge of English rather than whatever their parents' patois was - Swahili, French, a million other languages, all bonded by the fact that they were anything but the Queen's English (or POTUS' English, come to think of it). I didn't feel like I needed to speak or write Chinese any longer.
And then I logged into Second Life on Halloween, in a country where the only cool thing about it was the opportunity to pub crawl while disguised as a demon from hell. I entered Agni, another world where being disguised as a demon for hell was something people sometimes did all their lives. (Garn Conover, you are one hell of a Cerebus, and one damned good shephard of newbies. Aryn Lassard, you are an accursedly patient scripting mentor. Charming devil too.)
They say people change Agni by the way they touch it. I'm proud to confirm it. But what most people don't consider is the fact that the favor is reciprocated! I would lapse back into a desire for my mother tongue as part of my new sickness, but that's telling the story a bit too fast.
At first, it was a couple of touches here and there. brief excursions into the world. often lasting less than an hour. I camped here and there while checking my mail and writing my obligatory educational stuffs. I may have indulged in some minor griefing (<-- spoken in an 'I may have inhaled' tone) at one or two points in time.
And then I got to know of the full extent of the world via a chance encounter with a older Resident. I believe you may already know her all too well if you have come here via references in the Second Life Insider or her own blog. If that doesn't chime totally: she wears her heart, but she doesn't bother to waste a perfectly good sleeve to mount it on. Why would she need to?
But I digress. Over the course of several drop ins, I learnt the fact that Second Life had beauty and power beyond anything one could imagine in the real world. Prejudice still existed in Agni, but the things that people could be prejudiced about were ideas and beliefs, not fixed constructs like age, sex, or cultural backgrounds. One could, given the right application of smarts and societal skill, become someone of significant note, or even wealth (take a bow, Aimee Weber, Starax William Niangao, Max Case et al.)
I would wake into Second Life every other day with a new landmark from someone who thought I needed to see more of the world... And I did.
Navora. NCi Kuula. Midnight City. Silk Waters Mountain. Samurai Island. New Paris.
A few others. I didn't pick any favorites consciously when I wrote that list... I think.
A landmark into Svarga pretty much clinched the deal. It is pretty funny how the things one takes for granted in the real world suddenly become important in Agni. Feeding the birds with virtualised birdseed scattering and listening to visitors turn Svarga into a celebration of Second Life on the region's own elven orchestra, right there in the virtualised morning sun of Svarga, I realised something important:
This is the best of all possible worlds.
I also realised something else:
Now and tomorrow, this is where I want to be.
Like a Red Gyarados on a Neo-Realms Epic Rod, I was hooked in Agni.
(To Be Continued)
25 April 2007
"This is Madness!"
"Madness? THIS IS AGNIIII!"
Overheard on Live Help:
"One of these days, the world will calm down enough that Linden Labs can get in a good thank-you dinner."
"I can see the tagline on the invite now. 'Tonight, we dine with Elle!'"
Signboard rezzed on a passerby during a particularly laggy day with very high concurrency:
"Phillip Linden's 30,000 - Prepare for lag"
Attached, find more insanity:
What does a Hungry Penguin eat?
Whatever it jolly damn well wants to eat! Updated: Editor's Choice Award! Yayzerama!
Year Of The Cat
I've been accused of taking my name and choice of main avatar from an old Al Stewart classic about a lovely girl who lives in a rural area in the Year Of The Cat. Now as poetic as if sounds, I'm afraid I have to disabuse you guys of that notion. It just popped into my head and this song never came by me until I was fishing in Simkast Cove and fell over on hearing the lyrics.
Knowledge Fruit Tree
More a symbol than an actual genuine purveyor of intellect, this sculpture is available on approved request via inworld IM. For those with prim shortages, a alternate arrangement is available - a fruit hat! (disclaimer: may contain matriculated worms)
Prism Durosport MP3 player
Shown actual size, this inworld MP3 'player' is a Moldovian POS no-tech item. Actually, it was a really big April Fools' joke. I mean, nobody would seriously consider doing something like this in Second Life for real right? (Sony Ericsson *cough* *hack* *wheeze*)
Luskwood Easter Bunnies!
Easter Sunday this year saw the hosting of a easter egg hunt in Luskwood... or at least it would have if there had been a properly working grid...
That didn't seem to stop Samara Nerd from getting a vendor cobbled together. over 5650 of these bunnies were released into the grid by 2am the following morning. For the most part, the day was mostly one long party in Luskwood consisting of record serverloads of visitors to Luskwood often dressed in their new Easter bunnies. These bunnies are no longer available folks - if you missed out, cross your fingers and hope for good furtune next year.
DarkDharma Daguerre's Halloween Haunted House
Neo-Realms Ride: classic Totoro scene
Emerce Shun and Emerce Tween - Two private islands consisting of showrooms for nothing but metaversal artists in Second Life. Any estate that has Totoro and a haunted house in place is either mainland gone out of control, or cool art. Firms such as Aimee Weber Studios, Rivers Run Red and Neo-Realms Entertainment make their homes in here...
There are others who have helped longer than me. Hell, there are people who are more passionate than me (yes, you there in the back row, stop laughing on the latter). It has been a swell 2 to three months. I've made my mistakes, but out of little more than misguided stupidity or unawareness about the way things work in any world.
As I type this, SL is beginning to wind down Help Request in world. In its place will come a structure that follows the simplest and yet hardiest of mantras any metaversal explorer could have, whether it is mere HTML or all-singing, all dancing primmage:
There have been postings on the forums and in the offiical blog about the changes to be wrought: a gradual shift from Linden Labs as a mere San Franciso startup/upstart to a full 24/7 service on most, if not all, matters, the reworking of pull channels for knowledge such as the Knowledge Base and SL wiki, the introduction of a actual 'system is down' report to alert gridmonkeys more directly to unwanted griddeath.
And the usual 'the end is nigh' BS. I need to reiterate this since it seems to have gotten lost despite repeats:
Live Help is not going away totally.
Blue Linden has noted in meetings about this sea change in how we help Residents make sense of Agni that there will always be room for people to help each other, and the death of Help Request is not going to mean he becomes less busy. Far from it - one of the new priorities in SL now is to find ways to help Residents help each other better, to help themselves better. I fail to see exactly how that is a bad thing.
Well, maybe I do... I for one am going to miss dispensing advice and sweetness (and the occasional foambatting) to people who need it, anywhere within SL's 70,000+ regions.
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Ahhboxes self-replicating in sandboxes like rabbits on heat. I've watched Lindens bling in the sunlight near the Tenera Train Station. All those moments will be lost in time, like cache losses on crashing regions. Time to concentrate on Real Life for a while.
I'll see you guys on the other side. Don't forget to send me a private IM when I'm on if you need help, okay?
15 March 2007
- Giant Volunteer Cheshire Cat
- Blue Linden's Coffee Mug
- Spaceballs, anyone?
- Panda Claus!
- Renaissance Winged Woolly!
- RIP, First Land / Developer Subsidy / Instructional Subsidy / (Insert favorite defunct LL initiative here)
- Yak with Chinese name in SL!
- Big Brother: SL midget pirate jig
- Prelude to a Luskwood Core 40-main raid - "After I Relax Michi Lumin with my Luskwood Core Rifle, you are going to DPS very, very slowly. throw lots and lots of dots."
- "My name is Yamabushi. Tengu Yamabushi."
13 March 2007
Agents and avatars are two different things as well. Your agent is your identity on SL, and your avatar is a 'physical' representation of that identity. To muddy the waters, even Linden Labs routinely blurs the lines between these two different things in communications.
Moriash Moreau documents an example of the further indignities that avatars in SL suffer from. Read. Laugh. Then treat your fellow avatars better in future!
I gather from what other residents have said that Simone is one of those people you hear about: the successful businesswoman who can sustain her RL avatar solely on the proceeds from her work in SL. She has also helped to raise funds for a fellow Resident inflicted with serious RL maladies in order to help her secure treatment (See "Ayeshe's Millions").
All in all, I gotta say this couldn't happen to a nicer lady, but the fact is, it could. :( There has been quite a recent spate of larceny on the grid to the tune of hundreds of RL dollars, in such places as Furnation, Darklife, AKK Ranch, and now Simone Stern.
I honestly have to ask the people who indulge in such acts of depravery:
just what the FUCKING hell sort of kick do you get out of it?
It's at times at this that I'm grateful that my RL avatar is a Augustinian on the matter of the human condition: people are innately bad and need lots of rules and rope to tie them down before they go out of control. Now I want to strongly disagree on this point, but when stuff like this happens... PEOPLE, you are not making easy for me to stand up for what I believe in in Agni.
That'll be all.
25 February 2007
The sim has become significantly quieter in the past few hours, as I carry out the motions of kicking undead ass.
I do hope it's not permanent
[UPDATE: The sim has been reopened on a partial basis. In a way, the hack attack could be considered partially a sort of blessing: it has accelerated development of the new upgrade of Darklife 2, and given the developers a chance to clear out deadwood and find out exactly who their friends are. Entry into Navora is currently restricted to current players and carefully vetted friends and invitees on the offchance that further hacks into the system haven't been found yet. If you're a prior Darklife Player and wish to get back in the game, please send an in-world IM to your previous groupmates and/or the moderators for an invite.]
16 February 2007
13 February 2007
The grid has been on the blink for at least the past 24 hours as I write this, with no apparent end in sight. While people are playing blame games and wringing their arms around like squids shouting about the implications of being asked to refrain from handling the assets, I raided my friendslist. Send a few hundred IMs, chattered like an idiot, hung around in Live Help helping out whenever the system wasn't making it impossible for Help Request to route stuff over. It's amazing how much you can still do when restricted to standing in one spot in a ghost avatar that you pulled on just before the worst hit... with no TP abilities.
It's something to consider in future when things go bad: not all your assets are on the asset server or the LindeX.
That will be all for this post...
(Update: things seem to be on the mend now. We shall see how long they stay up again before another issue like this happens again... Back to partying)
29 January 2007
28 Jan 2007 saw the birthday of Simkast Radio DJ Rusty Opel.
We here at Woolly Wildcat Writings would like to wish Rusty Opel a happy birthday and more good years to the folks over at Simkast Cove - a SL outpost of the TSO/CoV/CoH/WoW Internet Radio station Simkast Radio!
22 January 2007
Frontier Linden hosted a party to honor and thank the Volunteers of SL at Portage this Sunday. I was fortunate enough to snag an invite, so I brought my camera and got on my favorite leather dress...
The Author as a Leather-draped Party Fennec. Pizza was great. Where's the camera? Hey, great cleavage has its advantages... ;P
The party got underway around 12PM SLT after a brief moment of technical setup by DJ Ron Overdrive. Despite some teething problems, the music was soon on in high-quality Ogg Vorbis
Ron Overdrive DJing, dancing and jiving with Amber Linden at the party
Sponsor of the party, Frontier Linden, twirling some glowy Poi around to the beat of Tetris. Yes, Tetris.
A fun time was had by all!
13 January 2007
If you had l33t coding skills and could code and compile the source differently, what would you put in the client for yourself? None of those lame "less lag" things - everyone wishes for it already. I want off the bat answers, and I want them... erm... now? XD
Answers in the comments please!
(What a mess - Ed.)
10 January 2007
the 1.13.2 viewer update has been scrubbed today in favor of server patches only. Apparently, the new viewer creates bigger problems with region crossings and attachments than the problems it seeks to solve... Considering how important it is for many people to cross regions, or wear attachments, or cross regions while attachments, this move is to be applauded.
The update will still take five hours. These are five hours you've never had to schedule anything SL related in unless they said there was no update, so it's no big loss. I'd like to know what you're doing while waiting for this stuff to happen, and will be in the SLUniverse Chatrooms as always!
08 January 2007
\Paging Patchouli Coalition Rescue Crew number 2... Again.
07 January 2007
03 January 2007
Choose your future.
Choose Second Life.
02 January 2007
Having said that... props to Tateru for reminding me that people actually set up websites to do nothing but aggregate a million other blogs!
I'd like to give you some ideas for gooing up Second Life that are more creative:
- Self-replicating teddy bears
- Self-replicating Abuse Reports
- Self-replicating hypercubes
- Self-replicating Yellow Lanterns
- Self-replicating fruit that goes "Mmm, delicious." - bonus points for watermelons. or pears
- Buying four chibibotfoxes, sitting them down with pen and paper, then asking them to ghostwrite a New World Notes column.
- Actually using your main account for once and be counted
- Buying your own private island and spending lots of your own time crashing the grid repeatedly.
Patchouli (the griefer one)