Sunday, February 28, 2010

you must never shoot trout in September, you must never feed babies on gin

More information on the banning at the Caledon Fourth Anniversary party.

"By acting as the hostess for Caledon's anniversary party, she is acting with the Guvnah's voice. And I know a public banning of ANYONE to this event is not what he would have wanted done in his name."

I tend to agree. The main problem here is that it's already over with, the damage is done. Apologies may come (I tend to think not), but from everything I've heard, this wasn't an isolated incident, it was all dances hosted at this location, and more than one person banned from them, by this host.

I didn't go to the main 4th Anniversary ball, not because I didn't want to, but because I'm still having difficulty breathing, and I tire easily. But I don't think it's overly paranoid to wonder--had I gone, would I also have been banned?

This sets uncomfortable and galling precedent. Because Mr. O'Toole is right, on this thing--whomever hosts the dances for an official state event, hosts as Desmond Shang in absentia. While each person differs, and there is no word-for-word accountability standard, those who host official events are, in this sense, acting with full accord of Des for their actions.

Logically? We can likely dismiss this as an aberration and move on. What does it truly change? But ethically, this is far thornier. Ethically, by this definition, Des wanted those people banned, which I don't believe for a minute. But by this definition, Des also supported the banning--and again, the banning of more than one individual at more than one event--by the fact of the ball's host banning these people.

This sets an excruciatingly poor example. And it's deeply saddening to hear.

In other depressing news, according to Ann O'Toole, creators will no longer be able to save full permission textures to their own hard drives, for use in creating clothing to import back into Second Life, without such practices being a violation of the Linden Labs' Terms of Service.

This is staggering. This changes the entire game. And this may well be the start of the nails in the coffin for content creation on Second Life--or, as Miss O'Toole puts it, "Mark Kingdon's new facebook life".

'Facebook Life' may be becoming more appropriate; without creating our own textures, and modifying them off SL, THEN importing them into world, taking pictures of them against backgrounds we have created using prims that we have textured, then taking those images off...oh, wait, will we even be allowed, come Aprille 1st, to save any textures/photographs/images to our hard drives?

Potentially, using even the literal interpretations, this kills:

* clothing designers
* home designers who take textures off SL to add windows or aging
* furniture makers who take textures off SL to bake on shadows
* photographers
* filmmakers

Is this the SL we want? A world where thee is no user content? A world where there is nothing that we can do that won't be a violation of LL's ToS? What's next, webpages set up for people to pass textures to each other under the table to modify? I can see it now: Nighty Goodspeed sets up a web page. I buy the Isfahan Pavilion set but I want the door a different shape. I can do that in Gimp, but I can't export the texture.

I leave a coded message for Nighty on the web page's forum. She pulls up--out of world--the Isfahan Pavilion texture pack. She sends it to me encrypted with the key. I match my key to hers, decrypt the texture, make the edits I want, then send it to her email.

Nighty opens her email, and imports the altered Isfahan texture, and sells it back to me for whatever price we agreed upon, so I then have legitimate in-world rights to use the texture she made and I altered and gods, it's sounding like it's easier all the way 'round to play City of Heroes.

In the meantime, I've been following a lot of random links to random boards today from Schnaeppchen's blog. One entry she has is on the new Lucky Chair offerings at Violent Seduction (a group I'm also in). This is the Broken Hearted skin:

Shopping,skins,Second Life,fashion

And this is the Buckled Up black gartered outfit:

Shopping,skins,Second Life,fashion

Last night I finally won the outfit, but I'm still trying for the skin. It's very frustrating.

But I don't have the patience or the strength to build, and I'm not looking forward to playing a Second Life where we are only gamers, not creators, not builders, not dreamers of the dream. It would, in my opinion, profoundly lack what I originally started playing SL to gain: the ability to create, to see what's in my head, in three dimensions on the grid: to learn from other creators, to see what they create, and to take what I've learned back to my drawing board and learn to make better, build better, draw better.

My world. My imagination.

But M Linden doesn't see it that way. Facebook Life, here we come.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

and after the day, the darkness will hide me

Shared media in 2.0? Peter Stindberg says it's more shared loss of privacy. I say he's right. Linden Labs hasn't said anything in response, but frankly, I don't think they much care.

New film coming out of Germany (I think; I think it's German, but there's some French intermixed) called Cargo. It looks impressive as hell.

The banhammers are in for the Caledon Banhammer contest! There are five hammers and one...geared...badge-thing. The badge is lovely, we all agree on that, but it rather missed the point of 'hammer' in terms of the contest.

At any rate, go vote for them in Winterfell Absinthe; consider this the official kick-off for SLRFL in Caledon. The contest will last until March 6th; winner will be decided by the maximum donations to that kiosk. Happy voting!

And it seems that some members of Caledon were unable to come to the Caledon 4th Anniversary Ball because they were banned from the parcel it was held upon. As noted, this seems particularly unsporting; especially if they're banned nowhere else in Caledon. Anyone have more information on this?

On to other matters. I will admit, I joined the Nenashigusa Nest group, and sat in this chair for forty minutes, for this outfit:

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

Because the only way to get that outfit is if you joined the group (it's a group-only camping chair) and sat for forty minutes in it.

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

There's lovely detail work on the back, with the folded ribbon straps. There's detail for plenty on the bodice, as well; simply breathtaking for something that only takes time, not Lindens. If you like spiders, at least.

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

I like spiders.

But I also like Wanderer the Wind's design aesthetic:

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

They're simple but highly detailed pieces; usually on a limited number of layers, no copy, no modify, but all transfer.

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

They waver between L$60 and L$80 per set, which is amazingly inexpensive for this level of quality.

shopping,lingerie,Second Life

And there's at least one option that's of potential use in Caledon; they call it a "slip" but the cut is similar enough to simple sleeping corsets, it could work.

^&^

Hair is from the "Lara" line in Grey from Discord Designs; eyes are from the House of Ruin, they're her Thaumaturge Love eyes (and currently a freebie!); wings are the Lace Bat Wings in Tintable Black from Seven's Selections; stockings are the ALB Cuban Heel stockings in "light braun"; skin is Adam & Eve's Pandora Gothic Web (no idea whether it's available anymore); and shoes (not that you can see them) are from Adam & Eve's "Miranda" line of shoes in "Coffee Bean". There you go, I don't usually identify everything I'm wearing, I just take pictures.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I stayed in the pines where the sun never shines , and I shiver when the wind blows cold

Dale Innis takes on viewer 2.0, and why Imprudence is better in the long run. Can't say I really disagree, though the landmark/picks hate in the comments seems--to me at least--to come out of nowhere. Picks unnecessary? To whom? Landmarks a power-user feature? Wha?

Adric Antfarm, in fact, has the single most baffling comment (to me, anyway) ever:

Landmarks are annoying and their auto offer by merchants should be punishable by castration. Once you get a good number of them they are near useless. The same places offer the same ones to me over and over. Do they overwrite? Of course not. They Tribble.

Putting aside the use of "Tribble" as a verb, though I get what he means...that seems ever so slightly harsh. Auto-offering landmarks simply means you can delete the ones you have. Why is this bad? There's a discard button for a reason; that goes double for the Trash feature in inventory. (Adric, try it, it's to die for--you move things to the Trash folder, and then...you can throw them away! It's amazing!)

End of Aprille, we'll have a new Nightmare in theatres. The down side? It's being produced by Michael Bay. Yeah. Michael Bay; that Michael Bay. The patron saint for overblown productions and reckless spendthrift producers everywhere. I have fear. But I'm still willing to give it a shot because of Jackie Earle Haley. He was a magnificent Rorschach in Watchmen; so yes, I'll go to the film for him alone.

At least, this is one film that Michael Bay can't ruin if the set explodes while two teens make out frantically on a car. Because really? That sort of thing happens in Freddy's world all the time...

You can nearly hear Russian gamers screaming from here about what happened to Allods Online, the country's latest free-to-play game. They may go down in history as the first game ever completely and totally killed by introducing an item shop. Moral of the story? Game companies, don't do it. Your players will desert you and two years from now, they'll write stories on how you went wrong, and by how much.

Meanwhile, over at Jezebel.com, they're talking on how female avatars are just asking for it, with their sexy clothing and their big boobs. Which--well, consider the source; isn't Jezebel.com the last blog to trumpet the she deserved it card? Aren't they supposed to be more female-positive, or something?

Also confusing, for the article: they mention Neelanjana Banerjee's foray into Second Life two years ago, and quote a passage from that article:

"[Wagner James] Au estimates that 40 percent of Second Life residents come in world looking for sexual activity, something that takes a lot more skill than I could even muster up—the sex on Second Life comes from users hacking into animations meant for other things entirely, like riding a motorcycle. Yet when I mention the over-sexuality of my dark skinned avatar, Au says that in a skin like that, I would be pretty much asking for it."

Um...I'm not entirely sure where she got her information from, but no sex animations in SL require the users to "hack into" anything. More to the point, there might be some low-end ones that look like someone is riding a motorcycle, if one takes away all context of what the avatar in question is actually riding, but...really, bring another avatar into the picture, I'm sure it will become clear.

More to the point, there are animations for everything in SL--dancing, being held, firing a chicken gun, cuddling, painting, sculpting, swimming, flying, plus every single page of the Kama Sutra and then some. Why is she stuck on this concept of "hacked" animations?

In fact, actually, now I am curious--where did she get that concept in the first place?

In other news, updated Snowglobe recently; not the 2.0 trunk, but the 1.3.1 version. It rezzes textures and sculpts faster than 1.2.4, but the down side--and it is a LARGE down side, for me--is it's highly unstable.

I move--and Snowglobe freezes. My AO shifts--and Snowglobe freezes. I port--and Snowglobe freezes. I do my typical 360-degree turn, automatic standing in place, to "look" at everything so I can rez things in--and Snowglobe freezes.

I won't go into 2.0 again on anything until the Labs make it mandatory, but so far, Emerald, Imprudence, Kirsten, and Snowglobe all bork since 2.0 went live. So it's either "use 2.0 or else"? Is that my option? "Or else"?

And another couple of JIRA files for those using 2.0. First one, inventory totals are not reading right; and the other one reveals problems in the places tab, for landmark sorting. Vote if you can.

Now, Fawkes and I have been discussing my off-and-on experiences with viewer 2.0. Having now talked to him, he reports that this:

oddity,weirdness,Second Life,avatars

is also what he saw. So...I guess alpha mesh works for 1.0 users as well?

Also, let me say this. What I said up there about not going back into 2.0 until the build gets better? I'll break it down for the Lindens, flat out: if they do not bring back translucent windows, I will not use 2.0. The last time the programmers pulled a bonehead stunt we had to literally attack the internal code of the browser itself to insert a line making windows revert to 70% opacity when not actively clicked.

This is my bottom line. It may seem like a frivolous bottom line, but there it is. Bring back 70% opacity on the chat windows, or I won't be in. It is not worth it to me and the browser is useless in all regards until that happens.

Flat. Out.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

everywhere, so white, the river has frozen over

Sometimes packages do very odd things.

I'd managed, in my involvement with the Wear Grey campaign, to forget to go to the fashion show. Someone tipped the fact that there was a video of the show made. I think my dress for the project shows up around 6:16, but you know, it's hard to tell?

Tipped my way by Miss Rucker, proof that Wagner James Au (formerly Hamlet Linden) has lost his friggin' mind. I don't agree with anything he says in that.

Miss Astolat Dufaux lists precisely the problem I'm finding with 2.0; that it is not intended for people like me, it is not intended for serious builders, serious scripters, serious anything; it's intended for people who find FarmVille fascinating.

Versus those of us who find Echo Bazaar fascinating. It really may well come down to which browser games we prefer. If we prefer stalking out clues, and getting mysterious hints as to which dark forces in the land can be trusted, and which cannot...viewer 2.0 is not for us. If, on the other hand, we go out of our minds with glee when we seed and harvest fifteen acres of virtual land...viewer 2.0 is our baby: embrace it, cuddle it, hold it close. Enjoy.

We'll just be over here in Snowglobe or Emerald, doing functional things. Have fun in the fish tank.

And Boy Lane brings out the banhammer on her blog; in short, she says, if you connect to Second Life with any non-Linden-approved viewer, the Lindens can ban you. Does anyone else have any verification on this?

First, minor drama in Caledon last night when a new feature of the Emerald Viewer was discussed. Namely, Emerald has recently implemented a system whereby those who are on your friendslist, but whom you don't have set to see you if you are online, can see you. This to me seems a recipe for arguments and hurt feelings and--as confirmed on the Emerald forums--it is! How unsurprising. This "feature" needs to be erased from the Emerald viewer, stat! It was a very bad idea to add it to the Emerald build in the first place.

Second, major hair drama on the grid. Near as I can figure, the whole mess starts on the Rags 2 Riches blog, February 17th. The blog writer received a whole box of ripped hair and was horrified; she tossed up pictures of the hairs in question, along with the ripped skin, because she couldn't identify all of them.

In the comments, people mentioned Gritty Kitty, the Abyss, Sirena, Zero Style, Second Image, Sixty-Nine, Cake, Detour, Shop Seu, Armidi, ETD, Eat Rice, Truth, Here Comes Trouble, Curl Up & Dye, Raspberry & Cow, MMS Hair, Naughty Designs, Laqroki, Calla, Waka Yuki, Tiny Bird, Maitreya...and Deviant Kitties and Magika.

But also in the comments, someone going by the handle Fine, thanks made this comment on the 18th:

GEMINI is doing something to combat this. Please keep your ear out for some news within the week.

Two days later--after the release of the GEMINI system on XStreet--Arora was labeled a copybot and banned from Deviant Kitties. Why?

This is where the tale gets very strange.

First, she is a user of Emerald, not Neillife. I have no reason to believe someone would fight copybotting in the ways she has, and be a ripper under Neillife, it makes no sense. Second, there is a clear and distinct difference between the two browsers, it's not at all easy to confuse them.

Now, Helyanwe Vindaloo had recently acquired the GEMINI system; after setting it up, she went about her day, no further owner input needed. But her system banned Arora. Why? Because she was listed as a copybotter under the GEMINI system.

Why?

Arora contacted Helyanwe on the 17th, asking why she'd been banned. Helyanwe had no direct clue. And if the GEMINI protection system was normal, that's where the story would stop. But it's like Bloodlines for grid protection: once your name gets into the GEMINI system, it's in there. And every time someone else rezzes out a new GEMINI unit, the database for the scripting funnels in all current banned people...including Arora.

Essentially, she was banned from Deviant Kitties for wanting to support the store; and for using the Emerald viewer. But she's now banned from every store, every parcel, every sim that is currently protected by GEMINI.

Prad Prathivi writes on the Metaversally Speaking blog that the GEMINI system is more than a little Orwellian, as apparently it's been sitting quietly on the grid, gathering information over the past several months. If anyone on the grid ever, even once used a suspect viewer, and that viewer was recorded tagged to that avatar's name in the GEMINI system, now that the system has gone live that avatar will be banned. Not might be; according to Prathivi and others, it is most definitely will be.

She goes on to write that Ember Farina wrote to ask the question in the Emerald Forums, as well, and that she was instantly challenged--and in wrong ways--by Skills, a developer of the GEMINI system. (I'd link it and tell you to check for yourselves, but every time I try to use the link given, the Emerald forums tell me, Access denied. Very interesting.

(Also? I love how the developer says "I am sorry if your system confused Emerald with Neillife, my system didn't." Really? But your brain confused Arora being banned from Deviant Kitties from Arora being banned from Magika. I guess your brain isn't that reliable. So how's your system, then?)

It's a very long post, I encourage people who care to to read all the way down--but again, from the comments section, comes this telling bit from Skills:

I later digged more deeply and found out that you were indeed using Emerald when you have been ejected, but you have been detected using Neillife some time ago, when the auto-ban system wasn't active yet.

Save the grammar issues for later, this is what I wanted to reinforce: "...you have been detected using Neillife some time ago, when the auto-ban system wasn't active yet."

Really? How long ago, then? Back when the word was first going out about how the copy-enabled viewers work? I can't recall ever downloading any copybot viewers myself, nor using them--and so I will be raising holy hell if I find out I'm banned--but there were people, copybot vigilantes and makers alike, who downloaded 'bot-abled viewers to see for themselves how bad it was. Or to take pictures for their blogs to urge others not to use them. To get the word out on how damaging these viewers were.

Under Skills' logic, anyone who uses a bad thing for a good reason needs to suffer. Anyone who used Neillife even once while his system was nefariously collating data, invisible and untraceable, needs to be banned. And anyone, once in the system, stays in the system.

So I suppose by this same logic, the reporter for Sky News who found evidence of continuing child sex sims in 2009 should be registered as a sex offender? What?

I think, personally, GEMINI goes too far. I think, personally, anyone trying to help the infringement of copyright should not be punished for doing so. I think, personally, I won't be buying the GEMINI protection system and I think, without major revision to their database and how names are entered into it, I don't think, personally, anyone else should either.

From that same comment on Arora's blog:

"We are currently discussing ways of giving people the ability to appeal a ban in case they have used one of the banned viewers 'by accident' or however you want to call it."

Translation for the folks who don't speak snide in my audience:

Since this all went public and we want to keep sales up, we're currently tossing over the concept of letting some of you sleazy douchbags we KNOW copybotted things, because you're EVIL, off the hook, because you're probably too stupid not to get caught again. Since you're that stupid, putting "by accident" in quotes will actually mean something to you, you troglogdyte. We KNOW you used a copybot viewer in the past because we've been gathering information on everyone on the grid since 2008. Die on fire.

But then, I'm sure, Skills wouldn't have put it that way; after all, the way he did put it was simply to emphasize "by accident" as if to say "by no accident". Pfff.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

and if I make it to the waterside, I'll be sure to write you a note or something

So, more reactions to 2.0:

Kitty O'Toole likes it:

"And there is your problem, because the new viewer is created with the new user in mind, and it really shows. With a few exceptions I think the uber-creators are going to despise it, and I’ve certainly seen evidence of that tonight on the forums and feeds. Gone are the pie-charts and the myriads of options that some, like myself found so confusing, but builders found essential. They’re still there of course, but this new viewer, so far as I can tell, is all about immediate functionality and ease of use all the way. I really rate a lot of the options that the labs have incorporated too. For a start the interface is really neat and more visual than the previous viewer. They’ve installed an easy to manage landmarks system, kerching! I LOVE that. They’ve integrated forward and back buttons which seem such a trivial thing but will make such an enormous difference to navigation.Beloved was peeping over my shoulder and said that the new interface reminded him of Firefox [...]"

The Betterverse blog gives five reasons why the new viewer is good for nonprofits, governments and business (which, let's all face this squarely, M Linden's new criteria for desired residency), including such "desired" features as a simpler user interface, "enhanced" search, and the SL-as-3D-browser concept.

Miro Collas comments on the new viewer on Twitter:

#SLViewer2 (how do I edit profile pics, classifieds?). No integrated AO, no script count, useless ARC count still there, sidebar unwieldy.

I would tend to agree, with one addition: no AO presence (as in, I logged in and, because of the HUD placement, my AO went missing. I still posed, but I couldn't find it on the screen, and that always worries me.

Also on Twitter, Lalo Telling responds to Skate Foss's (positive) comment about 2.0:

Maybe when it's out of beta, it'll be a major step forward. Frustration level's pretty high right now.

That's pretty much my view at present.

In an earlier comment, she stated:

There's lots to like in #slviewer2 - but the sidebar is intrusive, and forcing 2 chat histories (Local & IM) eats lots of screen.

There is a way to bring tabbed chat back--first, hit Ctrl+P for Preferences (or track down Edit, it still has Preferences under it); then go to Chat; then click the radio button for Tabbed over Separate IM windows.

Then restart your browser, because that's still a change that has to be made out of world.

I know I react badly to change. Part of the reason I'm in Caledon is I want to take change slowly, in fits and starts, and I want to hold onto what works likely far past its technological expiration date. And walking in to viewer 2.0 and being slapped in the face, essentially, with not one but two big pet peeves--untabbed chat windows and clutter on my browser--did not help in the slightest.

Finding out another JIRA's popped up--this one specifically to do with malformations in the SL inventory in all non-2.0 browsers--pretty much gave me a whole handful of nails to put in 2.0's coffin. If 2.0 is really where we're going? SL is going to tank, and tank hard, for anyone with the slightest bit of creative urge in their veins.

* You can't build if you're not at ground level, ON plain terrain. It's not possible; I'm hoping severely this changes SOON. (This has, several hours since I started writing this, spawned another JIRA on the subject.

* If you install the 2.0 browser, then go back to any non-2.0 browser (this is the JIRA I mentioned up there), you gain folders you cannot move, delete, or access in any way. This is a BAD THING. It is a BUG, not a FEATURE.*

* "Preferences" are no longer under "Edit", they're under "Me". "Edit" is under "Build" and does something entirely different.

* Cam controls? Don't make me laugh. You have a click button that spawns a large, OPAQUE square with button switches that are mostly graphical. Camera view, mouselook, zoom, pan and tilt, front view, "group" view, and over-the-shoulder "standard" are all accessible on this large LiveJournal-icon-sized square. You can move this square, but there are two additional problems with that: first, it stays opaque wherever it is, and second, whenever you click the button on the bottom to remove it, when you click it again to get it back, it comes back square center at the bottom of the screen again.

In fact, a huge part of my bitch on this? Nothing is translucent. It's all FULLY opaque. Which means hello, THE SCREEN IS BLOCKED. This is insane and needs to be fixed BADLY. Also, the thing I noticed earlier, losing my HUDs? They weren't actually lost, they were just displaced. To the side, when the sidebar opened.

I don't know who came up with this. I know early testers are irritated because the things they most complained about a year ago, in early testing? Are still there now.

Osprey Therian did find out one cool thing about 2.0--apparently with a little tweaking, 2.0 can render shadows. Can it do it on all machines that can render SL now, though, or is it another stopper for certain architectures like Windlight was?

"The dream over the long term: Linden Lab wants Second Life to be bigger than Facebook. Much bigger." And lose the long-time users in the process.2.0 is only the start of the campaign against every user of SL who wants to create things, not simply shop and rent land directly from the Lindens.

* {Late insert: The "bug" I mentioned for the folder creation in non-2.0 viewers--as has been pointed out in conversation, it's not a bug in 2.0, 2.0 is doing what it's supposed to be doing. If anything it's a bug in 1.0 viewers--and even there, it's not a bug, as 1.0 is being told there are new system folders. Unfortunately, this is what happens when the game architecture changes on this drastic a scale.}

she just looked at me, uncomprehendingly, like cows at a passing train

New article out at MMORPG on player housing I found somewhat interesting, for two reasons: first, the sideline inference that future MMOs under development are using the Second Life engine as a jumping-off point to build multi-player games (and if that's really what's going on, WAU for open-sourcing Second Life!), and second, that multiple different designs for homes--or any large displayed areas, really--butchers performance on single machines because of the multiple draw calls.

So, we've known this for a while--large-textured builds--who use lots of individual textures--cause lag. Lag = performance. Multiple draw calls, then = lag. Huh.

So the solution would be--if Second Life were a game--to reduce the number of allowed textures, and the problem is solved, right?

Save...SL doesn't work that way.

The Second Life 2.0 viewer is available now, the SL blog trumpets--or, at least, the beta version. And as anyone who has any experience with beta programs knows, "beta" means "the end version may drastically change and nothing you spend arduous time learning will remain fixed. Thanks for helping us find all the bugs so we don't have to pay people!"

The first thing I'd advise everyone to do is watch the video--it's embedded in the blog, but really, you need to view it, big as you can, because it's priceless.

This is the future! They've decided to be Firefox with bad jazz! It's INCREDIBLE!

Okay, okay, I'll stop being sarcastic, but really, that's what they've done--they've equated 'viewer' with 'browser', and they're fairly sure this will be so simple and easy to use, even a cavema--I mean, a newcomer could use it. And it's endlessly customizable--three minutes in, SB Linden has said those two words at least three times.

They also have introduced two new inventory types--along with a new 'alpha mesh' wearable item, they've introduced a 'tattoo' layer. What I want to know--and what I'll have to test out--is, does the 'tattoo' layer have to be a texture layer, or can you take any previous costume-layer tattoo and punch it in to the tattoo spot? Because that would be damned useful.

At 4:43 everything stopped for me. I literally paused the video and just stared at SB Linden in total shock. Let me reprint what she says here, because I'm still reeling:

"Second, is a list view called 'My Outfits'. Outfits are a new special type of folder in viewer 2 that allow you to save an entire look. You can quickly switch between outfits by selecting the one you want to wear from this list, and then clicking the 'wear' button."

So...let me get this straight. They've implemented a feature that is the same thing as taking the outfit you want to wear, the skin, hair, eyes, and a bald cap if you want, shape, shoes and accessories desired, and putting all of that in a folder and naming it, oh, I don't know, "Special Outfit"...and then right-clicking that folder to put it on. I'm told the plus on this is that you can move no-copy items to these outfit folders, because you're not actually putting the original items on, you're just compiling a folder with links to the actual items.

I guess...but it still seems redundant.

From the blog itself:

"We looked carefully at the experience design of other successful social media and technology platforms--such as the web browser, Facebook, the iPhone, Twitter, etc.--and the key elements that enabled them to reach mass adoption. You'll see much of that thinking baked into new Viewer 2 experience design."

So...again, everything we've been telling the Lindens is a bad, bad idea...they're going to implement. Because they don't listen to us. Because they want their world to fail? Because they want their residents to run off screaming? What? I honestly don't get it. What is driving them to the cliff like lemmings running after Facebook?

The first good thing I noticed in the browser itself is active links on login. Remember how many times you've seen the little bit.ly links logging in, that are all text, so you can't click and check them out? They're more annoyances than anything; by the time I hunt down pen and paper, or pop open a text file, I've logged in and it's gone.

Now? You can click them, so that's a benefit. Of sorts.

The second thing I noticed was, they're still having the appearance bug, of rezzing in and being ghosted. I can't even get to that yet, because I'm coping with half my screen being blocked by various things I can do, and trying to figure out where my notices went. Then I see several light grey boxes on the lower half of the screen and spend the next ten minutes going through notices, laboriously, having to agree twice for everything I click "Keep". This is annoying and redundant.

And then disaster struck.

[7:00] Emilly Orr: AGH
[7:00] Emilly Orr: HATRED
[7:00] Emilly Orr: BILE
[7:01] Emilly Orr: leaving for Snowglobe
[7:01] Fawkes Allen: >_>
[7:01] Fawkes Allen: Did you even give it a chance?
[7:01] Emilly Orr: I did
[7:01] Emilly Orr: I logged in
[7:01] Emilly Orr: Two lines for every single line of chat in group chat
[7:01] Emilly Orr: Individual group chat windows, no tabs, no simple aligning of chat windows out of the way
[7:01] Emilly Orr: If I'm in more than two chats, I HAVE NO WINDOW SPACE
[7:02] Emilly Orr: It is dead to me

Fawkes wants me to log in, because he says there's fixes for these things, but damn it, I'm in the middle of trying to get a store that I can stand up and running and I DO NOT NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS CRAP.

How'ver, I did log back in, to try to figure things out. The first thing I figured out was that music streams automatically start; it's not a pure user on/off thing anymore. At the bottom of the volume bar is a little gear; clicking that brings up the direct volume settings (which used to be tidily down on the bottom of the browser window). The location of the media streams (which used to be accessed via a single intuitive click of the land name) proved nigh inaccessible, so while I have Fawkes trying to talk me down from DefCon 2, and me clawing at my desk with my headphones blaring--because the stream was apparently set to DEAFEN in he new client--I'm just trying to find the land tools so I can gut the sound entirely.

The second thing? Getting the chat windows back to tabs, not individual windows. This required getting into Preference settings, then into Chat, then clicking the button for Tabs over Separate Windows...and then restarting the damned viewer, because apparently it can't make these kinds of changes on the fly.

My next unpleasant surprise? There are no camera controls. Let me say that again, because to me, functioning for four years with them, that's vaguely important: THERE ARE NO CAMERA CONTROLS. Instead, we have a single button called "View", which controls both camera and movement, including 'group view', back-of-the-head view (I would suppose that translates to 'standard'), "front" view, and mouselook. Without calling it mouselook, of course.

This is going to make my style of picture-taking IM. POSSIBLE.

There's also a pure cam view, and BOY is it sensitive. In the space of one scroll I went from in the skybox to outside Morgaine entirely.

I hate this viewer. HATE. This viewer. I want not to hate it, but I hate it; I want not to kick the Lindens repeatedly until they stop screwing up the things that work, but I really want to do that too.

So much for building tonight. So much for SL, tonight, if it has to be under the 2.0 viewer.

There's already a JIRA issue about the scroll bars in place profiles not working; this is a bad thing for estate managers and people who own their own parcels, AND ANYONE WHO NEEDS LAND TOOLS--which is, frankly, EVERYONE.

I'll try it out when I have more time, but first impressions with me, as with many people, do tend to last--and my first impression of viewer 2.0 is now batched up in a neat little package of frustration, panic, and rage, tied with a pretty barbed-wire bow sprinkled with napalm. To simplify....it's a bad viewer. Bad bad bad.

Unless you have digitigrade legs, in which case, it ROCKS COMPLETELY OMG NO MORE INVISIPRIMS TO MAKE YOUR LEGS BEND BACKWARDS THANK YOU LINDENS FOR LOVING THE FURS SO MUCH...or so I've heard.

If that's the only thing good about this viewer? Go back to the drawing board, Lindens, you need some major frigging revisions before this puppy goes live for real.

But the furs thank you for making their bendy-leg problems go away. So hey, you got one thing right...

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'd read your future but it's written in the past

Delora Havenbrook wrote two columns on poor taste in SL--the first part she wrote back in mid-January, and the second part came along about a week later, but they're still worthwhile to read. What she objects to back then we're still objecting to now, and we objected to a year ago. Please, makers of things, STOP DOING THESE THINGS.

[23:36] Lalinda Lovell: did anyone else get the revenge gears porn spam???
[23:36] Emilly Orr: She's lost her mind, she has.
[23:36] Lalinda Lovell: how gross
[23:36] Lalinda Lovell: i thought she was dying
[23:36] Gypsy Laufer: yes i didnt appreciate it either


So, here's the story, in brief. This morning, people who were still subscribed to She Wants Revenge, got this from Revenge Gears' subscribe-o-matic:

I' m a brazilian girl, 25 years old with a lill fat curvy luscious body.
You will not regret the time you spend with me I am sure of that, my feedbacks are all 100% positive lol ;)
I also love roleplays,they can be so hot sometimes...naughty
Marcy Mars,Revenge Gears,She Wants Revenge,Second Life

FEEES ON WEBCAM & VOICE ( paypal possible too )

NO REFUND/PREVIEWS 1000 L$ ( or just watch my pics in in my profile picks )

3500 X 5 min
6000 X 10 min
8000 X 15 min
10000 X 20 min
13000 X 30 min
You ll have me talking to you with my sexy brazilian hot accent
showing you my luscious body and getting naughty for you, masturbating with my fingers and cumming for you screaming your name :)

3500 X 10 min (only tits)

EXTRAS ( to be added to above services )

KINKY THINGS ask away and i will tell you the price depends on the level of kinkyness P

OTHER SERVICES
ONLY VOICE SEX
3500 x 15 min
5500 x 30 min
7500 x 45 min
8500 x 60 min

watching you on msn or skype 4000 x 15 min
6000 x 30 min

CYBER TYPING IN PRIVATE
1500 x 15 min
2000 x 30 min
500 x 45 min
3000 x 60 min

Normal Webcam ( No Stripping ) ( No Sex ) ( No Voice )
We can chat about anything you like or you just want to get to know me better, its up to you ;)
L$ 6,000 for up to 15 minutes

PICS
1000 each

xoxo, i need you.


Other than the color, and some spacing issues, the resizing of the "sample" picture (which is also the pic on her current bio in-world), this is exactly what she sent out. To every member of her clothing store's subscribe-o group.

Translated out (and as of current February 2010 SL currency values), some equivalent numbers for comparison:

L$1000 = $3.97 (average fast food meal)
L$2000 = $7.73 (average paperback book)
L$3000 = $11.59 (CD with tax)
L$4000 = $15.45 (one movie ticket with popcorn, or large drink)
L$5000 = $19.41 (average hardbound book, or meal for two at a mid-range restaurant--no drinks, no appetizers, no dessert)
L$6000 = $23.17 (lift ticket at average ski resort)
L$7000 = $27.03 (two movie tickets, with one medium popcorn or one large drink to share)
L$8000 = $30.89 (one mid-range concert ticket)
L$10,000 = $38.62 (average iPod Shuffle, if you check around for online deals)
L$13,000 = $50.20 (one 'play pass' to Six Flags Magic Mountain, exclusive of surcharges and taxes)

Now, as I've stated before, I have no problem with escorting. I have no problem with chat escorts taking a second seat to voice escorts or camgirl options; the higher prices have always gone to the women who can take it farther. And that's fine with me.

Where I have a problem is that she sent out this little missive to her entire group. The people who signed up for latex. The ones who signed up for leather. The ones who signed up for her evening gowns. The ones that signed up for cute little party dresses. The ones who signed up for the freebies and the jeans and the t-shirts, and suddenly, all of these people--mostly women, anyway--got this "ad" for her voice and hot-chat services.

Oh, yeah, she's going to get people flocking to her door with those tactics.

[Late edit: I decided Miss Poindexter was right, I should at least compare SL prices for these services to RL prices directly. So a cursory search for equivalent services turned up Pinklive, an attractive, slender blonde, whose listed prices are:

15 minutes = $25.00 (listed as being this month's "special rate")
20 minutes = $60.00
25 minutes = $75.00
30 minutes = $90.00

She also does 'couple shows', as listed below:

15 minutes = $50.00 (listed as being this month's "special rate")
20 minutes = $80.00
25 minutes = $90.00
30 minutes = $100.00

She mentions that her couple show partner "has a 9 inch dick and is 6.4 tall and slim." Okay then.

Using those rates for comparison, even at Gears' highest rate, she's still coming in at less than a third of these prices--and checking around, this is about average for live cam girls, maybe even a little low. But here's what confuses me, yet again--you can do this with a website, people do, there are even sites that walk you through how to set up a webcam and link payments to PayPal accounts. So why is she bothering going through Second Life, when she could just log in to a website, advertise in a couple places, and have, one presumes, more customers that way?

The situation remains puzzling.]

Sunday, February 21, 2010

through my lungs as the dust settles

Just to note in passing--and I left a similar comment on the blog in question--but Whisper at FabFree has an amazing shape for Second Life. She is rounded without pushing the limits of the mesh; she reminds me a bit of Angel with darker hair. Very well done, Whisper.

Noted on Schnaeppchen's blog, this outfit from Burlesque Lucrezia. It's sort of tucked out of the way as a small wall placard. Looks very worthwhile.

Damien Kulash, Jr. takes on EMI in an opinion piece in the New York Times. If that name doesn't ring any bells, he's the lead singer and main guitarist for OK GO. (And if that doesn't ring any bells, this is the infamous "Treadmill" video he talks about in that article. Although I admit, I've always preferred this one, the so-called "wallpaper version" of "Do What You Want".)

From the piece:

"The numbers are shocking: When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account."

The numbers are shocking, and very telling; and this is also why, for their current album, OK GO is marketing an mp3-only version, along with a full shippable CD version, and two separate "I want everything" limited editions on their own site. Why? Because true devotees of the band who want such limited editions will pay for them--which will keep them creating music and covering the costs of touring that EMI may or may not be doing at present. And for the rest of us, $10 will buy us a full album with artwork and case, or shave a dollar from that and get all the songs without the album notes and artwork. And they'll make sales at those prices, too. Everybody's happy.

Except EMI.

Dusan Writer tipped me towards a scathing indictment of Sony 'Home'. Whatever they wanted it to be, it wasn't this:

"According to some digital buyers, Home exemplifies Sony’s slow-footed nature when it comes to embracing advertising."

Yeah. While they still have Red Bull, and by report, the Army is running a current campaign, most other advertisers have crept away from the strong scent of virtual failure.

'Home', meet Lively. You'll be hanging out in limbo with it soon enough.

Also from Dusan Writer--the Facebook game "Farmville" hits eighty million users. I get that people are playing it, believe me, I know that; and it even goes into why. While a lot of it is hit and miss (there's really no magic recipe for finding "the next big thing"), I'm thinking of the Nintendo game Harvest Moon and Second Life's (now slightly waning) obsession with growing, feeding and breeding virtual chickens. Whatever it is that draws the privileged towards farming without the consequences (when your crops fail in Farmville, your family doesn't starve; and there's not one single chicken in Second Life you have to run down and kill for dinner), it's huge, and it looks like it's only getting bigger.

By way of Miss Muse Carmona: "The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader." Funny, but well put--and well demonstrated by the video.

While I like the basic concept behind Microsoft's current research that links physical/emotional health markers with avatar appearance and flexibility to play games (ostensibly to encourage good health and exercise), it still seems a bit too close to Big Brother telling me when I can go places, when I must stop being on the computer, when I must sleep...

*grins* Okay, I have a set bedtime, but one, that's personal, not impartially set according to industry guidelines, and second, I'm a lifetime insomniac and we're really, really trying to break that pattern. It's not the same thing.

Finally し て く だ さ い. 6. when the product を タ ッ チ し た あ と, チ ャ ッ ト に “/987 reload” と enters the strength し て く だ さ い.   こ れ で ノ ー ト カ ー ド を 読 み 込 み ま す. エ ラ ー に な ら な け れ ば preparation が で す.   エ ラ ー と な る the situation, the commodity テ ク ス チ ャ ー name, business commodity name が disobeys っ て い な い か the confirmation し て once again   タ ッ チ か ら や り straight し て く だ さ い. 7. ス キ ン セ ッ ト を writes down し た the situation,   When the product を タ ッ チ し た あ と, チ ャ ッ ト に “/987 skin” と enters the strength し て く だ さ い.   こ れ で ス キ ン セ ッ ト が cuts り for わ り ま す.   The plural number writes down し た the situation は goal

I bought a 'lucky board' type of thing. It's not that I paid so very much for it, but it's that it's entirely in...this. It's not Japanese. It's not Chinese, strictly. I've run it through Babelfish and t's not the same thing. I initially ran it through Google Translate on Chinese setting, and got back hash again.

But I noticed Google Translate now has something new--about mid-way down the list of languages there's a line that says simply, 'Detect language'.

I switched to that.

Purchasing a W INITIAL CHANCE you very, very thoughtful.

This product will display the initial randomly at regular time intervals, when you touch the appropriate way,
If you give them your registered products, products that are kind of so-called LuckyBoard said.

Our product features, not just first name, last name and initials also elected
Is a specification that is.

Other specifications, skin sets (fonts, backgrounds of character display, the display part-time tech products OFF
Sucha, a set of sound at the time of election) can be set into the content, the skin
May be able to be switched.
To own and texture, or change your preferences, and change to normal when the event
Ete and use, providing maximum flexibility.

Please use the products as a tool to attract customers come


Um. Thank you, Google Translate?

From Adbusters magazine, comes a definition of altermodernism. I don't entirely agree, or understand, but they seem convinced. The most I pulled from it--blurring the lines is a bad thing, but we need to reinstate the categorical opposing systems without polarizing into 'good' and 'bad' definitions--thus, we need to blur the lines on polarizing systems?

Isn't that what we're doing now?

Caledon Morgaine,Lady Disdain,shopping,Second Life

I'm working on getting two shops up and running so I can take out ads with them. Or at least the larger one. The one in Caledon Morgaine is still so incredibly empty. I'm just running out of energy to track down vendor-things and put them up. I'll work on it.

Finally, RL because I simply have to spread this wider: Andrew Koenig is missing. There was some initial concern that this might be a stunt to drum up interest in a future comedic project; but I sincerely do not believe Walter Koenig would post that much information about his son and have it lead to a joke in the end. He's a funny man; he's very talented; but he wouldn't bandy about a disappearance of a child to fake us all out.

If you're in Vancouver, and you see Andrew Koenig, or hear of his whereabouts, please leave a comment in Koenig's guestbook. He and his wife will be in Vancouver soon to help with the investigation.

Friday, February 19, 2010

remember me, I used to live for music

How serious is this? Though I will say that this sounds like a global version of the Australian plan. Is this rumor or potentiality?

There's a new Dr. Who trailer up, and okay, I am getting more willing to try out Doctor Who 90210. Because Matt Smith looks much less twelve when he's actually speaking and moving around.

"When the people that control the laws of physics and the land supply and so on also get to choose the aesthetic theme of various areas, that seems to me to unfairly advantage those Residents with similar tastes, at the expense of everyone else. Is Second Life really 'Your World, Your Imagination'? Or is it 'Our World, Our Imagination, You['re] Allowed To Participate If You Follow The Theme'?"

Good points all that Dale makes; but more than that, it goes back to my main point--I'm all for resident creativity, and I think Second Life functions best when the Lindens interfere least; but it is their world, not ours. At the end of the day all the accusations of creepy paternalism and interference rest at the Labs; because it isn't "Our World, Our Imagination".

And it hasn't been for a very long time.

And John Carter McKnight contemplates gender in Gor, and social science on SL. I'd tag on one additional comment to this, other than saying it is an interesting question, always--how much of what we choose to reflect to the world is hardwired to our personality, and how much is reflective of gender choice in virtual worlds? But what I want to pair with this is Forceme Silverspar's experience switching gender. I think it's relevant regardless of who's switching to what--though I'll agree more with Forceme that men becoming women is inherently easier, and on a certain level, more "accepted", than women becoming men. I've only personally known one female who chose to rp as a male, instead of the other way 'round; and he was ruthless, abusive, and aggressive beyond all reason. His portrayal of a male in SL would have been offensive even if the typist had matched the avatar's gender; somehow (at least to me) it was worse, knowing this was a female who should have known better.

I have been thinking about this since I read McKnight's blog entry. Apparently I have been operating under slightly less accurate information than I knew. Prior to those words, I thought I was in the 'new crowd' of SL users; those who joined during 2006, in the last big wave of new residents. As he puts it, I'm actually lumped in with "everyone before 2007"; 2007 being the start of the big, foundation-shaking changes. Or to use his terms, the switch of SL culture from "frontier" (you are who you say you are; you are what your actions make you, honorable or not honorable) to "metropolis" (you have to back up who you say you are, and you will be harshly judged if you fail; you are what your credentials say you are, and you will be mocked if your credentials don't match your words).

Personally, at least regarding gender in SL, I'm definitely more comfortable assuming the gender in front of me is the gender I'm addressing; I don't tend to engage much in "she is SO a guy behind the screen" thinking: unless it's obviously someone fetished to the max with triple-J prim breasts, perky little kitten emotes, and a name that mentions either anatomy or level of sexiness.

I could be wrong in this; I freely admit that. And that is a judgmental line to hold; but I never claimed to be fair and unbiased. And I still think anyone changing gender to deal with SL residents needs to strongly consider either an alt, that is the gender portrayed and very little else, or make no mention of gender in the profile.

But I'm not a social researcher, so.

(Also, if you want to read the first bit of McKnight's series--"The Closing of the Alt Frontier", well, there it is, you can now.)

In music...meet Nervous Doll Dancing.

Francesca Mountfort,Nervous Doll Dancing,cello,steampunk music

According to a history page found elsewhere, Nervous Doll Dancing, otherwise known as Francesca Mountfort, is a cellist born in New Zealand who graduated from the Victoria University of Wellington in 2002, studied under two symphonies local to Wellington, before deciding to relocate to Melbourne, Australia. She has a wide and eclectic diversity of music she's interested in, and she's played everything from solo-music background gigs for poetry readings to full-on punk cabaret.

Did the avant-garde wave of cellists just become co-opted into the steampunk music movement at large? Because I'm beginning to think that if a band has a cellist, and they have an interest in dark carnivals, retro-punk rhythms, and scattered Victoriana, they're in.

Nervous Doll Dancing might be in. I haven't really listened to enough yet. I found some of her work with Carousel on YouTube (she's the one with the cello on the right, natch). I also found a cover of Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love", by Noemi Liba, where the cello work is provided by Francesca Mountfort. But she's tipping me towards thinking overall, yes, she's steampunk--in tone and composition, if not in specific intent.

And briefly, finally, I want to touch on Evelyn Evelyn. My original intent--and what I've been waiting with breathless anticipation for--was to carry on the fiction of the twins in art and performance.

dark carnival,Amanda Palmer,AFP,Dresden Dolls,Evelyn Evelyn,music,steampunk music,conjoined twins

Even now, I feel that the pairing of Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer having to practice walking, playing instruments, and singing in concert--and having done this together, whenever they can find the time, for the past three years--was mind-blowing as a side project. They've even gotten Cynthia von Buhler on board, who will be penning-and-inking the graphic novel forthcoming from hometown favorites, Dark Horse Comics (and yay for them, they ROCK, and they always have).

And it's not as if there haven't been performing real conjoined twins in the past to the present day. The most famous case, I think, is the Hilton Sisters, Daisy and Violet, who were performers throughout much of their lives, in good fortune and bad.

sideshow,carnival,freaks,Hilton,conjoined twins
(Daisy and Violet Hilton, in addition to singing, starred in two films: Tod Browning's Freaks, shown above, and Chained for Life.)

(There are also notable additional cases, like Millie and Christine McCoy, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon, now retired, and Lori and George Schappell, where George has a singing career, and her twin does not.)

But on the heels of all the enthusiasm--and still a day or two before the official record release notification--came this: Evelyn Evelyn: Ableism Ableism?

The hell. Now, Amanda in turn responded with not one but two blog entries on the topic, but in essence, what it boils down to is this:

* Artists decide they want to collaborate in a very new way;
* Word leaks out;
* Oversensitive people get oversensitive.

I mean, seriously, that's it--and as Amanda points out, she is very glad her fans are literate and thoughtful, but at the end of the day, it's all bitching about exploitation, which isn't the case, and blogging about how insensitive it is to create a back story for the two girls that features circus oppression and a lack of socialization (and frankly, I'm still trying to figure out why people are so incensed about the child porn angle, which I can't find a direct reference of from either Webley or Palmer).

So, fine. I'm no one as far as the big blogging world goes, but damn it, I can't sit back and say nothing about this, for two very good reasons:

1. (Which I think is most important) I think the music they're doing, the dancehall-oddity performance of it, and the clever witty lyrics of the songs I've heard fits very well into what I'm developing as recognizable steampunk music.

2. How. Is this. Hurting. ANY OF YOU?!?

I'm dead serious. Anyone who's offended, who isn't:

* a conjoined twin who's feeling personally attacked;
* a disabled woman who's experienced sexual abuse and/or emotional abuse at the hands of parental figures who put you on display;
* someone who's been personally turned down for employment for more than a year because of how they look;

SHUT. THE HELL. UP.

What is wrong with you people? It's art. It's MUSIC. Debate the issues it raises, fine. Debate the ethical angle, sure. Debate what circuses and sideshows were like, whatever. Debate the writing and the back story itself, you have that right.

Just as I have the right to say you don't have a dog in this fight if you don't fit one of the categories--or all of the categories--above.

Amanda Palmer has gotten a lot of heat for this one line sent out on Twitter:

setting aside 846 emails and removing the disabled feminists from her mental periphery, @amandapalmer sat down to plan her next record.

In case any of the gerbils in the audience missed the meaning behind that? She sent out another tweet clearing it up:

for those who didn't understand that one: i will re-translate: "time to make art. not time to argue points with people."

She was NEVER SAYING she hated feminists; she was NEVER SAYING she hated the disabled; she never said at all that she was mocking anyone. CHILL THE HELL OUT, PEOPLE.

I have to register support for the project; not because I'm resigned to people doing stupid things to wake up callous minds, but precisely because I think the time for slamming Evelyn Evelyn was three frigging years ago. More than that, they have both worked hard on this, and it's innovative, damn it. As well as being an homage to conjoined performers in the past.

America, far more than the rest of the world, is a country where we work to erase our past as we embrace it. We are a culture where "old" is "anything made before 1977". Moreover, we are a culture where children are routinely modified to pass parental, and doctoral approval.

When was the last time you saw anyone with a cleft palate? Or three eyes? Some of the war wounds that people returned home from in World War I were nothing short of horrific; to the point of masks being created to cover the most obvious, socially jarring disfigurements.

Remember, that's clear back in 1920; but now? Cosmetic surgery is routine. Extra fingers? We'll trim that one off. Not enough fingers? We'll replace one with a toe. Child not the right gender? No problem, we'll just nip that off, invert that other thing, and your child is perfect.

We are not perfect. We are a country and a planet that has genetic flaws. We cannot hide this fact in make-believe and cosmetic surgery. And the incredible arrogance in it is galling, and worse, more appalling than the actual conditions in the first place.

The real tragedy in all this controversy? Is that people are arguing the wrong damned points. You all should be up in arms and screaming about how often the choice is made to save one conjoined twin by letting the other die--where is the concept of 'sanctity of life' there? Oh, but a shared, paired life of everyday inconveniences, why, that's far worse than picking which twin lives, you're so right.

You can hear snips of the first, Webley-produced effort here, tossed up on the web, I surmise, because it was such a limited edition vinyl press. You can also see an animated video Alex de Campi made in support of Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn? Which manages to be both completely charming and scathingly adult at the same time; I'm amused. And you can see the very beginnings of the project here, where Amanda and Jason are seen playing an accordion together, standing on stage.

Support it or not, it's your choice. They'll sell records or they won't, with or without the controversy. Just stop screaming at the woman, it's undignified. And beneath all of you.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

darkened rolling figures move through prisms of no color; hand in hand, they walk the night, but never know each other

MMORPG's Jon Wood on why 'Community' shouldn't mean 'Marketing'. Short but insightful article; the Lindens could do worse than to read it, considering that Pink Linden seems to be in the cheerleading/marketing position now, when she was hired more as a community (read forum) supporter.

Or, put another way--when you feel you as a game player/subscriber/resident (depending on the game) can talk to rocks in the game and get better feedback for your time than talking to actual people working at the MMO's company...the time has come and perhaps passed for things to change.

Of course, the actual chance of getting a Linden to read, and/or reconsider what they're doing to damage their company is about 0.000000000876% to 1, so...

By and large, on this blog, I don't go mad over nifty new tech toys; I leave that to other blogs who do a far better job. But this one I had to mention. With this amusing codicil that arose in separate conversation: What do you want to bet that, when that mouse is released, it sells to more women than men?

I'm serious. I think it will. Slap breasts on a remote, men will buy it; make a beer can container in a bikini, men will buy it. A sophisticated visual pun on female anatomy that pretty much demands dexterous fingers to use...that's selling to more women than men.

In other news, while this is not primarily (or even secondarily) a recipe blog, sometimes things come up which are so bafflingly stupid, I have to include them on general principle.

I present to you now the Cooks.com version of teriyaki sauce. Note the first ingredient is, yes, teriyaki sauce. That's...insane.

Teriyaki is actually just a style of Japanese cooking: in this case, glazing or marinating meat or vegetables ("teri", which means 'shine' or 'luster') followed by grilling, roasting, or barbecueing ("yaki", which means 'grill' or 'broil'). It results in a tender, slightly sweetened end product, be it beef, pork or tofu, and it's turned into a pretty good, standardized flavor with the commercially-bottled varieties.

What teriyaki sauce actually is is, a sweetened, thickened version of soy sauce, soy sauce being the actual base for true teriyaki sauce. Sara Weaver has a wonderful version on her blog, and there's a lot of other homemade and "restaurant-style" variants. Here's one that's pretty simple and keeps well:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
5 Tblsp packed brown sugar
1 to 2 Tblsp honey
2 Tblsp cornstarch or tapioca flour
1/4 cup very cold water


Mix everything but the cornstarch and the cold water in a medium sauce pan; heat on low, stirring with a whisk. In a separate cup or bowl, mix the cornstarch and the very cold water until fully dissolved; drizzle into the saucepan while stirring until completely mixed in.

Then you just heat until your sauce is as thick as you want it; you can add a bit more water at need (if it gets too thick). Bottle and store in the fridge; lasts to a tedium if chilled.

And feel free to change it up however you wish. After all, the point is the thickness as a glaze and a certain sweetness of flavor, not any particular ingredient list beyond soy sauce and some sweetener (be that honey, brown sugar, molasses, rice syrup, or Splenda for all I know). People have added dry mustard powder, sliced green onions, sesame oil, whole chunks of ginger, onion or pineapple...be creative. Experiment. Write down what you like and do that from now on.

Came across two entries on the launch of the Linden Homes project, one by Dusan Writer and one by Trisha Gelber. Of the two, I vastly prefer Dusan's, because Trisha's is far too chirpy for me. B'sides which, Dusan gets into the hard code of the rules for these little themed home offerings:

* Linden Home is for residential use only.

Makes sense; they're giving you that 512 block to live in, not to create a store.

* Business use of any kind is prohibited, including parcel rental, rental boxes, classified ads or other forms of advertising, and event listings.

So, no turning your Lindenhome into a club, subletting it, setting up rental boxen or vendors; right, right, we get it.

* Land cannot be terraformed, sold, deeded to group, joined, or divided.

That also makes sense, in terms of the Lindenhomes being on strictly themed and controlled areas, and designed for new residents who may not be in a ton of groups...but they fly in the face of virtually all other contract agreements for land on private estates, and, in many cases, for mainland as well--thereby creating a class of land wherein no land change, no transfer, no group ownership, is allowed. I think this will confuse residents down the line, honestly.

* Land cannot contain sky boxes, temp-rezzers, or individual prims beyond the allocated size of the Second Life Viewer build tools – 10×10x10m (no megaprims).

The hell? All right, we have recently learned that temp-rezzers were massively abused, and therefore I can see them being disallowed--but no skyboxen? And no building with megaprims at all?

* Linden Homes may not be removed, modified, exchanged, set or deeded to group, or transferred.

Again with this reiteration--we get it, yes, land and homes cannot be removed or modified or altered or exchanged, if we get one we don't own one, not in the sense that we can own other homes, and we don't own the land either...it feels like the worst sort of gated community, land owned by small and petty dictators, telling new residents what they can and cannot do from the first day on--then expecting grateful payment for the privilege!

* Linden Homes should be kept presentable and in-theme.

So...no Danish modern furniture in Elderglen? No faery chairs in Shareta Osumai? Okay...

* Linden Homes should not be used as sandboxes.

Okay, for mass building of everything, I agree with this, but this combined with no skyboxen makes me think that new residents aren't supposed to use Lindenhomes "gifted" them to build anything, which is...pretty anti-SL, actually.

* Linden Homes do not include traffic tracking.

I'm trying to figure out why this matters...

* Ownership is limited to one Linden Home per Premium Account.

And this last one's just a duh statement start to finish.

Wandering on Instant Watcher, discovered it now has ads. It's a simple service, basically a rundown of what's new on Netflix, so it's partially comped by Netflix to do so. Everyone's happy.

I'm not even saying I mind the ads, just--this one, in particular.

My reactions, in order:

1. Yay, Second Life is buying ad space on other services!
2. Whoa. Second Life is buying ad space here. Man, they must be getting desperate for new people.
3. *peers at the ad* What the hell??

First off, one: "becoming" your avatar in SL has NEVER been the focus of SL. In all my time on SL, in fact, I know less than one handful of individuals who make it a point to match their in-world avatars exactly. (Though to be fair, that number *might* be higher, because I don't ask to see peoples' photographs to stop and compare!)

And two: "becoming" your avatar was always a byline of IMVU, so, what, now Second Life is stooping to the level of stealing other virtual worlds' advertising slogans? Is this cool at all?

But then I stop and remember, Second Life was the one that did the big "Avatar" film tie-in with the Na'vi avatar in the banner ad--and then backpedaled clear into Kansas to get away from the blunder when several of us pointed it out. (Which also didn't make their in-world stomping on people who hand-created their own Na'vi skins look good at all, because it very clearly became a case of "Do what we say, not what we do, because we're the Lindens and you're not!)

*sighs* When did this blog become mostly Linden bitching? I mean, really, I know we live in a world where the overlords are distant and unapproachable; I know they don't listen to us; I know they keep making mistakes; but really, is it all about that, now?

I'd go on, but really, it'd just turn into a rant. On so many things currently...

but when I looked under the blankets I saw the legs of a fish

Screwing in the dead? I guess. At least it would be neat, in that sense of a simple, single process. It's all one thing in the patent pictures: body in the screw length, cap is left above the ground, so becomes the base of whatever memorial stone is desired. Though I'm sure jokes would be made ad nauseum about the process.

What happens when a sonic boom hits a sun dog? This. (All courtesies to Mr. Allen, who found it.)

Second Life,shopping,weirdness

I am now very, very scared. If you read this blog and somehow manage to be a Twilight fan (and don't care in the least about intellectual copyright issues), then by all means go visit. Just don't mind me when I shriek and run away.

In the meantime...

[19:15] Ranma Tardis: I wish to make an announcement to the Caledon Community
[19:16] Ranma Tardis: In the past I have been rude and inconsiderate to Serra Anansi who did nothing to deserve this vile treatment
[19:17] Ranma Tardis: gets down on tatami mat putting head to floor
[19:17] Ranma Tardis: I wish to apologise to her for my bad conduct offering no excuse for my vile treatment to her
[19:19] Ranma Tardis: I have sent her an IM and notecard state my sincern appoligise
[19:20] Ranma Tardis: I also wish to beg the forgiveness of those I have offended in Caledon
[19:20] Emilly Orr raises an eyebrow
[19:21] Sophie Zuta: ??\
[19:21] Emilly Orr: What brought this on, seriously?
[19:21] Ranma Tardis: been meaning to do it for some time
[19:23] Ranma Tardis: I wish to beg the forgiveness of the people of Winterfell
[19:24] Ranma Tardis: It is a wonderful community
[19:30] Ranma Tardis: Caledon and Winterfell thank you for hearing me out. Bows low


There. Never let it be said I'm so grossly unfair that I won't pass this fervid apology on to the most eyes possible. I have edited as much of the retorts--and I will freely admit, mostly mine--out in the process, so her words' pure intent is displayed.

There you go.

*goes off to kick something small and helpless*