Friday, August 31, 2007

Return of the Revenge of the Attack of the Fifty-foot Melissa

It's been a long time since I posted a worm's eye view photo; I've tended towards forced perspective lately... but having found the joys of ctrl-[890] (thanks, Cheyenne, and also thanks to Torley Linden for the great video tutorials), I had to try again:

I'll have to try again standing on a ledge or step so I can get the POV down at shoe level.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Check it out

Please read Lillie Yifu's blog entry, "Triangle of Fire." It's eye-opening.

I guess I was extremely lucky when I came to SL, or perhaps I was/am blissfully ignorant of the extent to which I may have been fleeced.

So... how to stop the scams? It's going to require a trustworthy source of inforrmation—a way to ask whether a vendor provides reasonable value for L$, or a way to search for something and have the crooks filtered out of the search result.

User ratings leap to mind—but can those be gamed, with scammers buying good ratings or creating myriad alts to give good ratings? Another possibility would be an organization that functions like Underwriters Laboratories, but for SL. I don't have an answer, but one will need to be found.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Cannery: Wow.

The Cannery has opened. I'm amazed, and inspired.

This exhibit is open until November. You'll want to take your time to see it; there's a lot to see. The photographs there are beautiful, clever, evocative... and show me that I have a lot to learn. (The learning will be fun, I suspect.)

My mouth is still hanging open.

P.S. At least some of the photographers featured have their work on flickr... but there's nothing like an art gallery, be it real or virtual, to display art as it should be seen. Go see it.

P.P.S. OK, barring a gallery, the next best thing is a big book... I bought one long ago with André Kertész's photos of models' reflections in fun house mirrors, and it was a glorious thing. Turns out there will be a book—not as big as the Kertész book, but not tiny either—of the art from the exhibit at the Cannery.


I wandered over to Google Analytics again, and looked over the map.

It's still amazing how many places look at this blog, though many for 0:00. Surely it takes at least a second for a person to look at a page, say to him or herself "To heck with this," and go somewhere else... but OTOH, are there that many places around the world with programs that go wandering about the web? (Maybe there are.)

Then there are the cities where the average time spent is half an hour or more. Do those represent people actually reading for that time, or "Hmmm.... it's lunchtime/time for my favorite TV show/time to take a {nap, shower, ...}; I'll look at this later"? (And Google can't tell the difference between someone there and actually enjoying reading and someone there and thinking "Good Lord, this is like a trainwreck you can't look away from!")

I'm glad that I'm not trying to make money from this blog, and hence having to try to infer things from the data.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

IP Theft

I'm going to do something I never thought I'd do: recommend that you read an article in the Second Life Herald. It contains Enktan Gully's description of blatant IP theft and the (astonishing, to me at least) results of her pursuit of the matter.

I was involved with the anti-Copybot frenzy... but note that this theft was not done with Copybot, but was plain and simple reconstruction—with the notecards copied and rather carelessly edited.

I've done business at Enkythings, Enktan Gully's store, and have been quite pleased with what I bought there. I for one plan to continue to do business there, and to make a point of not doing business with establishments that sell stolen IP. I hope that others will do likewise.

Local lighting

I have a love-hate relationship with local lighting in SL.

Lighting in SL is weird, to an extent probably intentionally. Go in an enclosed room with no windows. Set the sun to noon. Surprise! Your camera is no longer obscura! I'm sure that's intentional, so that you don't have to put lighting everywhere.

Local lighting is treated differently somehow. My choices in SL mean that I do a lot of color matching... and local lighting makes that a pain. Colors that look identical in the SL noonday sun can look totally different at midnight with local lighting. It's enough to make one want to detach one's prim hair...

...but that different treatment can look so good! Take a look at the picture that appears at the top of my blog. Nice... but flat. Now, look at this:

That was taken at midnight in the Rainforest sim, lit by torchlight. It's incredibly flattering to the avatar, and definitely not flat... I mean, it shows depth... um, you know what I mean.

In RL, we see the harsh shadows that result from direct sunlight... and like extraneous background objects, we learn to ignore them--but can't ignore them in photographs, so photographers must take them into account. Similarly, we don't ignore them on the screen—which is no doubt another reason SL doesn't accurately depict sunlight. (Accuracy was one reason people kvetched about the initial versions of the SL client with Windlight; we adapt to the differences in lighting at dawn and sunset, too, but Windlight rubbed our noses in it.)

So, photographers, local lighting is your (fickle) friend... just like RL, come to think of it. (The fashion-minded have noticed this, too; I have heard of local lighting attachments that people wear.)

A lot can happen in a year...

Even in RL. In SL, where things seem to happen so quickly, how much more so.

Yesterday was my first rez day (the SL equivalent of birthday, the anniversary of the day one first goes on the grid). I've already posted about how my appearance has changed over time, but that's certainly not all that's changed.

When I first arrived in SL, and for a fair time thereafter, 20,000 users was a peak daily number. Nowadays, it's typically a daily minimum.

The average frame rate has gone up with time... of course, that might be partly because SL provoked me to get graphics hardware better than the nVidia 4000 and 4400 cards I'd been using. One reason I don't call SL a game is that I'm no gamer, and I like SL... but SL certainly uses graphics resources (and RAM, and CPU cycles) the way a game does.

When I was first in SL, I don't think that a million had signed up yet. That's certainly changed, and I've been told a time or two by new residents that I've been in SL a long time. Who, me? There are people who've been here from the start, years longer than I have!

A year ago, while I was happy that LL was enlightened enough to provide a Linux client, it couldn't display video, and LL hadn't taken advantage of the many eyes that Open Source status provides to software. That's changed now, and we have the open sourcing of the client to thank for bug fixes and enhancements, as LL has recently formally recognized.

I'm hoping that some major improvements will occur well before my second rez day... but all that aside, the most important thing about SL for me has been the friends I've made, people I'd never have otherwise met. *hugs* to you all.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Cannery opens

This coming Wednesday, at 3:00 p.m. Second Life Time, a photography exhibit will open on the Rezzable Cannery sim, and will run until November. It will feature six artists in particular, plus forty photos, grouped into eight themes, by other SL photographers.

(I'm using the P-word, even though no photons are harmed when one takes a "snapshot" in SL, just as one says one's avatar "walks," even though the only muscular activity involved is pressing an arrow key. When you take a snapshot, you're doing (most of) what a photographer does in RL, and your concerns are the same.)

I mention this because, to my amazement, I am one of the other SL photographers. It's a humbling experience.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

You've been in SL too long when, part N+1

Living in Iowa, one has the experience every four years of the coasts pretending to care about Iowa until the Iowa caucuses are over. (OK, not just the coasts; I remember the time I chatted a bit with a crew from RAI, Italian radio/TV, there for the caucuses.) Presidential candidates swarm the state like flies.

Tonight, there was a clip of John Edwards, he of the expensive haircuts, on TV... and I immediately thought, "Somebody get that boy some flexi prim hair!"... and caught myself, and had to laugh at myself.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

You'd think they could afford another hard drive...

Well... I'd finally noticed (warning: Flash-intensive site), and thought I'd post the results of "Simpsonizing" my picture, but after repeated tries at all times of the day and night, all I get is

Whoa! As the world is going Simpsons it is getting crowded in here. Come back a little later and try again.
You'd think they would anticipate getting a large response. Ah, well... I never really got into The Simpsons anyway.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

So that's why I like it so...

Lillie Yifu of the 2nd Sex blog can count dressmaking among her many talents. She gives away some of her work in the 22nd Century Yedo bargain basement, and I dearly love her "Jade Circles" dress.

(Note: I don't have on the bustle or hair ribbon that comes with it here, and the top is one for prim breasts that I adapted to work with the dress.)

I finally realized one reason I like it so much—it reminds me of this:

That's a polished sample of malachite, a mineral I find utterly gorgeous. Now I know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"This time, fer shur!" --Bullwinkle Moose

OK... I think that I've finally rooted out the problem with the cable modem that has plagued me for weeks. We will have replaced every piece of coax and every splitter between the wall and the cable modem, but what the heck. The intermittent problem has been highly frustrating.

So... with luck I will be more consistent in my time online and on-grid. Whew.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon; the connection is still flaking out. Someone's coming in to look at it... again... today.

UPDATE: I have my fingers crossed (which makes typing difficult...). The fellow came back, and I have to admire his doing so that late in the nasty weather we're having, found a problem outside, and fixed it. So far, so good.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So, am I a sexy celebrity or just a sexy celebrity gossip?

I succumbed to temptation and went egosurfing. Most of the hits arise from my name appearing on each of my blog entries, and a lot of others from my posting comments in various places... but I was surprised by one entry, which purported to be my profile on "Sexy Celebrity Gossips"!


It showed my blog for my web page... most of the items were unknown. I didn't think I'd signed up, but it claimed I'd registered early in March, and posted shortly thereafter (but not since). Well... maybe I had signed on to it, but I had no idea what password I'd chosen if I had--and when I gave it my email address after clicking on "Forgot password?" link, it said it had never heard of such an email address before.

My guess is that it's some kind of scam--maybe the whole thing is to lead people to enter that email address, thinking that maybe they had registered, to give some spammer a source of live email addresses. Goodness knows that there seems to be quite a few places that somehow generate pages with many common search terms on them and that direct you thence to whatever porn site they're pushing.

My answer to the question, then, is "none of the above."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

She's no fun, she fell right over!

For the past few days, and for the next week, I'm doing some volunteer work. Twelve hours a day, outside in outrageous heat and humidity. When I get home, my main interest is in collapsing. Bertrand Russell once said that young men sometimes wrote to him that they found no pleasure in life, but that when he was their age, he would walk quite a few miles each day, and that he found immense pleasure in sitting down. I now know how he felt.

This is cutting back considerably on my time in the grid. My friends, I miss you all.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Do Patent Leather Prims Really Reflect Up?

One of the wonderful things about SL is that it gives us, visually anyway, that gift Robert Burns asked for... so when a friend recently IMed me that I was somewhat exposed, I was startled.

I double checked the edit I'd made to notecards controlling the items I wanted to be transparent. I commanded them to reset, which should have set them to their initial state, which the aforementioned edited notecards said should be transparent. Nonetheless, my friend could see them... and emailed me a photo as proof.

Other friends assured me I was observing the proprieties... and I trust that they tell me the truth, so what is different about the friend who IMed me? We compared client settings, and while I am far from thoroughly knowledgeable about that subject, we didn't see anything significant differing between us. My friend is investigating further on her own, as she has an item that to me looks proper, to her looks exposed. I am very curious about what is going on.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fun with permissions

I found out that a problem I was having was fixed in the release version of an object I'd been editing an early version of. Oops. Time to do it over, with any luck better this time.

So... I made a working copy of it, and set to editing. I'd been told it helped to place the object on the ground/floor to work on it, so I did, and it did help.

After some work, it seemed to be in reasonable shape—putting it on and comparison with the previous version seemed to check out—so, it was time to make copies and paint them with alternative textures...but I couldn't! Looking in inventory, it was marked "no copy" and "no modify." "No modify"?! I'd just been editing it!

I resigned myself to starting over—practice makes perfect, right? This should get easier each time I do it—and suddenly the light came on. I created a working copy once again: it had the same permissions as the original. I set it on the floor: poof! It changed permission.

Now I know what sandboxes are for. :)

UPDATE: No, I don't. It happened to me again, and a friend told me that something similar happened to her. I have also looked closer--the inventory says the object is not modifiable, but if you edit it, the object itself says it is modifiable, and that appears to win in a fight between inventory and object. OTOH, inventory seems to be the one with the info on copyability, and its version of "modify" permission is all that's looked at to decide whether to let you rename. I am now wondering whether there was a change to fix the disappearing object problem that had this as a bad side effect. That's just as much as guess, though, so I'll search JIRA and then decide whether to submit a bug report.


There's a new SL client out... it teases Linux users by dangling voice configuration before them, but Vivox still hasn't written the required code to support it. (One would hope this gives LL a hint about the advisability of counting on proprietary software, but... we'll see, I guess.)

One thing it does support for Linux is video... and ironically, after all the times I've found myself unable to watch the video that everyone else is watching and presumably enjoying, I was having a hard time finding something to test it on! (Well, I probably could have gone to all the places advertising X-rated video, but decided against it.) Cheyenne came to the rescue, and I was able to successfully watch a very educational video Torley Linden created showing photography tips and tricks for SL in world! Whee!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Roseanne Roseannadanna Moment

Sigh. It looked like things were back to normal. I could see the map. I could teleport. I could see people's profiles. I could see my L$ balance.

But just now, I logged on, and decided that I'd had my fill of Victorian clothing for a while. Gee, the room looks bigger than usual... Oh, no--I was partially Ruthed! " least I can change clothes," I, I couldn't. I was stuck in the "loading appearance" limbo. Rebaking makes no difference. Relogging makes no difference.

It just goes to show, it's always something.

Nature red in stamen and pistil...

I was wandering through Apollo at midnight, taking portraits illuminated by the flowers that light up the Apollo night. I was standing by some huge blue flowers and enjoying the peaceful scene, with an insect flying about...

....and then something darted out from that huge flower's pistil, snatched the insect from the air, and returned so that huge peaceful flower could eat the insect.

I shuddered and headed on my way.