Friday, May 30, 2008

This is proving to be a musical evening...

Via Digg, a Musicouch article on various neat music web sites. In particular, I want to mention Songza, a site that lets you search for songs or artists and play the songs the search turns up. I mention them especially because they have several tracks by the wonderful and still loved and missed Jimmie Spheeris, which I am listening to as I type. If they only had Laura Nyro's "Keys to the Treasure," they'd be perfect.

(Alas, the article doesn't mention, which I urge you to visit if you're in the US.)

Tom Rapp said it best...

It's been a long time since Pearls Before Swine first gained a following, but Tom Rapp is still around, and the music he made has influenced other artists and is still worth your while to check out.

My personal favorite (OK, not counting the title cut of Rapp's solo album Stardancer) has to be the gorgeous and evocative "Another Time". And why do I write this? Because trying to sign on SL this eveninig reminds me of it: "Or have you come by again to die again? Well, try again another time..."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Laughing Academy

Antiquity Township is a beautiful 1800's era sim that I was totally unaware of until I got word of The Laughing Academy. I'll have to explore the sim further when I can.

The Laughing Academy is a clothing (and other things--they have some lovely eyes and shoes) store. It's new, so the inventory is not extensive, but it is strongly reminiscent of the motto of the great Karl Friedrich Gauss: pauca sed matura (few, but ripe), for the detail of the gowns is exquisite.

Even if gowns are of no use to you, I urge you to visit if only to see inside the beautiful house that holds the store. It is a marvel of Victorian decor.

UPDATE: Oops! The Laughing Academy has been around almost a month; just goes to show, as Cheyenne would say, this is so not a fashion blog.

"You come crash into me..."

This morning's crashes were definitely not those of the metaphor in the Dave Matthews Band song...

I spent this morning and this afternoon mostly watching the SL RC and official clients crash. Clearing my cache didn't make any difference; finally I went whole hog and did

cd; mv .secondlife .secondlife.bak

so the client would completely regenerate my data, and I was back.

Thank goodness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Out, damned spots!

That photo with the new skin shows up a problem in the RC client: at least sometimes, when you take pictures with it, things have spots. Here's a detail to show the problem more clearly:

I've created a JIRA entry (very NSFW)--apologies for the NSFW image, but it first showed up when I was in the Minoan Empire, I was dressed appropriately for there, and I submitted the image I had, and... *blush*

Do any fashionistas or fashion photographers read this blog? If you do, I hope you'll look into it, and vote for the JIRA entry, VWR-7071. I will ask around elsewhere, like the Second Life flickr group. This had better not get into the official client.

"I've kicked the habit/shed my skin..."

For nearly a year and a half I've worn the Paris Athletic Light skin. It's very nice, and I couldn't pass up the abs. (I guess it's as I've said in the past--the RL mindset carries over into SL for me when it comes to appearance. I can change it totally at a whim, but I don't.)

I couldn't pass this (NSFW) up, though: "Honey-Freckled Harmony" from Soft Touch is gorgeous. and at least at the time of the Fabulously
Free in SL post, on sale with some other items in a box for just L$5. I bought another at regular price--anyone who does that kind of work deserves support, and besides, I wanted darker lipstick.

For comparison, first, here's the picture I currently use with my profile here on Blogger, at a reasonble size to see detail, with Paris Athletic Light:

And here's a picture I took with the Honey-Freckled Harmony:

I've changed my mind about the lipstick; I like it fine.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Linux Info

You may have noticed that there's a topic I tend to write a lot about... but this time, I want to give some information about the other topic I tend to write about: the Linux operating system.

Linux is an operating system that is free in both senses of the word. Were I writing in Spanish, the confusion wouldn't be there: Linux is both libre and gratis. English forces us into the circumlocutions "free as in speech" and "free as in beer" respectively.

Free as in beer is nice... but it's the "free as in speech" part that's more important. Linux gives you control, which is contrary to the trend of proprietary operating systems. Above all in the field of audio and video, today you are assumed to be the enemy; an incorrigible who will steal if given any opportunity to do so, and who must be prevented from doing so by having control over your computer, your TV, etc. taken away from you, including the "time shifting" capability that you might have thought the "Betamax decision" assures you. (That seizure of control comes at a hefty cost in resources; see Peter Gutmann's analysis for details.)

Let's keep away from the issues of so-called "digital rights management" for now, though. (If you want to pursue them, head for the Electronic Frontier Foundation,, or the Open Rights Group.) Instead, let's stick to something that matters to you as a Second Life user.

If you have the misfortune to be using Windows Vista, you know that it has a reputation as a serious resource hog, especially if you turn on the fancy "Aero" GUI. Some will say "No matter; computers these days are fast, and graphics cards capable"--but the SL client is also a serious resource hog. Wouldn't you rather your computer spend its resources running the SL client?

Linux, like Unix before it, isn't inextricably linked with a particular GUI--or any GUI at all. Compiz Fusion provides fancy graphics effects at far lower cost than Aero, but one can happily use Linux without it, or even eschew the relatively ornate GNOME or KDE in favor of minimalist window managers like Xfce, IceWM, or Fluxbox.

So, where can one go to learn more about Linux? is a good place to start. distrowatch keeps track of, and describes, the various Linux distributions one can choose from. These days, Ubuntu is getting quite a bit of attention, and via Wubi, can be installed on a Windows system without having to deal with hard drive partitioning.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sun Gate by Moonlight

Sorry... I just had to take another picture of the Whimsy Sun Gate when I saw it the other night.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

KoinUp Windlight Competition Winners

Vint Falken posts about the event and exhibition honoring the winners of the KoinUp Windlight Competition. By all means take a look; Clarrice Cinquetti's "Hosoi Ichiba" is my personal favorite and a breathtaking work of art (in the opinion of this geek who avoided humanities courses as much as humanly possible, you should pardon the expression), just to name one of the winners.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SL Under the Radar

If you don't listen to Radar Masukami's SL Under the Radar podcast, do check out the episode current as I type this, episode 29, "The 2004 Show". The initial few minutes had me fighting off laughter that would have convinced those around me of my insanity. Come for the parody, and you'll stay for the discussion.

Adios Twitter

I've been noticing a very long delay in the rendering of the blog, and I think it's caused by fetching Twitter data. So, so long Twitter, at least from the blog, though if I'm going to be honest, probably altogether--I don't think anybody really gives a hoot about the minutiae of my days.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Garden of NPIRL Delights

I use the phrase "do not miss" rather a lot, though I mean it when I use it, but in this case it can't be overemphasized. The Garden of NPIRL [Not Possible In Real Life] Delights is now open, and will be through June 22nd. It covers four sims, so you won't want to wait until the last minute or not give yourself time to explore.

Inspired, of course, by the famous Hieronymus Bosch triptych, it depicts the creators' images of paradise, earth, and hell.

"Heaven, I'm in heaven..."

More coverage at New World Notes, the above link, the Flickr group, and from Vint Falken.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Definitely in my eyes

I went exploring. After some time in some of the Bay City sims (be sure to find the building, in Moloch I think, with the blackboard; you'll get a chuckle out of it), I went searching for flowers... and found lovely stained glass.

The Pennie Lane sim has various shops arranged around a circular piazza. (Yes, I almost typed "pizza".) I can't tell you about any of the other shops; I spent all my time in the stained glass shop.

Pennie Strauss, the owner and designer, has done a far better and more thorough job of documenting her work than I can, so I'll just point you to her web site.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


The other day I was off to grab a freebie that had just been announced--a rare experience for me, considering how little time I have in SL these days. There was quite a crowd there, and a woman said to me she hadn't seen a figure like mine before in SL. I assured her that I am by no means the record holder, and we had a pleasant conversation--she was very supportive. "Knock 'em dead" sticks in my mind, and I still haven't quite come down; it more than makes up for the rude comments and insults (thankfully, they haven't been many).

I regret not asking for a notecard or offering friendship on the spot. If you're reading this, ma'am, thank you very much indeed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another bell, or perhaps whisle

I was reading October Hush's fine blog, and noticed that it features a selection of music one could play. There's a free service,, that lets you create such a thing and embed it on your web site, and her blog takes advantage of it.

So... I've decided to do it, too. (It's down at the bottom of the page; it was too wide to fit down the right hand side.) I will follow her wise choice to have it default to not play; if there's anything more irritating than the <blink> tag, it's sound that starts playing when you arrive at a web site. Even if it's pleasant sound, it's a bother--you may already be listening to something, or trying to keep from waking someone up, and you end up fumbling for the !@#%! off button!

I hope you enjoy the music; it does kind of indicate my leanings toward the mellow, if not downright melancholy.

Virtual World Tour

Well... not in SL, but with Google Earth.

A while back I wondered what it would be like to travel and visit all the places where people who read this blog come from; Google Analytics provides that kind of data. I couldn't possibly do it for real, but I can do it in a minimal sense using Google Earth.

In another window as I type this Google Earth is zoomed in on Wissous, France, where someone visited here for twenty-six minutes (or perhaps came here and then had do something else for twenty-six minutes before deciding to shut the computer off). Google Earth has improved greatly, with markers of places people have pointed out--I happened across a spot marked with knife and fork and the legend "La Grange aux Dîmes". Apparently it's a restaurant built in a 13th century barn... kind of puts Iowa Machine Shed to shame. Such details make it a little more real.

So some weekend I'll sit down with the map overlay, plan my virtual itinerary, and go on a virtual trip, no need to deal with airports, passports, or packing. If you blog, you might want to try it too... Bon voyage virtuel!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tunnel of Light

Many thanks to Natalia Zelmanov for writing about her travels through the breathtaking Tunnel of Light. I've been there twice now, and I'll be back repeatedly.

The Tunnel of Light is another product of the folks at Rezzable, and it's a tour de force. It makes use of the glow feature that arrived with Windlight--turn up your graphic knobs as far as you can while maintaining reasonable performance.

I don't want to reveal all the delights that await you there, but this should whet your appetite:

I hope you'll go and experience it. (Bring a friend; it's best with company.)

Friday, May 09, 2008

dandellion Kimban asks a question

A while back, there was a huge brouhaha about age verification in SL, and about the company LL chose to implement it. It was announced as available, and so far it's not been mandatory... and probably most of us just forgot about it. I know I did.

dandellion Kimban asks the question, what happened to age verification? As she says, it's a dangerous question to ask; the temptation is to let sleeping dogs lie.

On the other hand, it's also dangerous not to ask. It's only a matter of time until the next tabloid, radio or TV host, crusader, or politician wants to score cheap points and paints a lurid picture of SL. (Just the other day there was news of an Illinois representative up for re-election frothing about how the FTC needs to alert parents to how dangerous SL is for their children.)

LL had better be ready, and we'd better let them know what we're willing to put up with before the next flap.

I'd buy it, but I can't

PixelDolls does lovely work; here is a set of brocade halter tops in various colors that they sell... sort of.

The thing is that you can't buy them. I've tried. They cost L$100 each, but if you click on the vendor and select "Pay", you are presented with the choice of canceling or of paying L$200. If you choose to pay, the L$ are returned to you and you're told that the price is L$100.

If you've managed to buy one of these, please let me know how. Thanks.

UPDATE: Before that post, I'd followed the instructions and both IM-ed and notecarded the person Nephilaine Protagonist's profile said to IM, to no avail. Now I've IM-ed Ms. Protagonist, and I guess we'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Not just a name in a song...

While rummaging around Google Analytics, I was surprised and pleased to see that someone from Carrickfergus has been here. It drove home to me that it's a real place; even seeing a photo of Derek Bell with Carrickfergus Castle in the background on an album cover didn't quite register.

That in turn induced me to go Googling, and read about Carrickfergus's long (to us Americans, at least) history, its well-known sons and daughters, and even about Carrickfergus in Bloom.

So thank you to the, um... what is the proper adjective, I wonder?... to the person from Carrickfergus who took a peek here. It's been fun and educational.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

One More Photo...

I can't resist posting another photo taken in the Minoan Empire sim, because it shows the gorgeous textures used there:

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Minoan Empire

RFyre announced a new outfit, Ondari, inspired by the famous statuette of the Minoan snake priestess. (It includes a version of the top that deviates from Minoan women's clothing, for situations that call for more modesty than historical accuracy.) It is available in a number of colors. I chose the crimson and gold.

It's not clothing that one can wear just anywhere... OK, it's clothing that one can't wear in most places. So, I started the search for places to try it out aside from at home with the curtains drawn, and came across the Minoan Empire.

It's a gorgeous place, with beautiful architecture, reside
nces available for rent, a harbor (are those triremes?), a temple, a chariot racetrack, a place for a women's council, a shop, and more things that I've yet to see.

It's an RP-friendly place, and there are rules intended to preserve the atmosphere and sense of place of the Minoan civilization. (In particular, women visitors are requested to, and women group members expected to, dress in accordance with what we know of Minoan women's fashion.)

I will confine myself to showing a photo taken in the temple at sunrise.

"I hate when that happens..."

Yesterday I edited a copy of an item to work with a particular outfit... and forgot to rename the copy to remind me of what it's for.

Of course, now I can't find it to save my (second) life.

I hate when that happens...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A Peek Behind the Scenes

I read that LL had already decided what they were going to do with search, and all the talk of wanting residents' input was a sham. There was even a link, so I figured I should go take a look. By golly, there it was:

Feature Design Document

Functional Spec

Discussion for Future Improvement

User Guides

...well, there you have it.

Of course, that's the great thing about conspiracy theories; any contrary evidence just shows how darn clever the conspirators are.

Friday, May 02, 2008

"Holy cow, 7500?"

Yup, 7500. Jewelry was a significant hunk of it, but the real killer was this dress:

It's a beautiful dress, and wearing it is sheer bliss, but skirt attachments run the ARC way up, so I will, as the stupid old Hai Karate commercials put it, "be careful how I use it."

I think I'll go through my inventory and take pictures showing a range of ARCs, so I can get an idea of what I can get away with in various situations, and then post the results. I can keep well under 400 while still having simple earrings, nice shoes (Aphrodite Creations; she does very good work indeed!), and hair I really like (the hair in the photo)... or I can load up on the bling. I'll give the fairy wings and multi-colored particle emitters for hands and feet a try, to see what happens!

I'm hoping that this will cause clothing and attachment makers to tell us what putting their wares on does to one's ARC. More information is always good, and it will encourage them to achieve their results as economically as possible.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

LL VP of Platform Technology and Development speaks on Open Source

Thanks once again to Lillie Yifu for mentioning this interview on the Linux World website.

The interview is with Joe Miller, the Linden Lab VP of Platform Technology and Development, and concentrates on LL's use of Open Source and opening of the SL viewer code. One portion that I find quite heartening:
If we've learned anything in the course of the year, we learned that you can't be "half-in." You can't be partially committed. We're "all-in." We know we need to be a fully committed to this effort with Second Life.
This, I hope, puts the lie to the gleeful posts of some pundits that Cory Ondrejka's departure kills LL's move towards Open Source.

Impossible in Real Life

There's an interesting group called "Impossible in Real Life"; it's a group for those interested in folks who make creative use of SL to do things that are, well, impossible in real life. It's a good way to find out about neat things that are being done.

So, I've joined the group, so I can explore new places and be inspired. I'll post about some of them, I'm sure.

(Not to mention that if you have the group active, you're labelled "Imposible in RL", and I get a good laugh out of being so labelled.)