Thursday, April 30, 2009

"Me and my shadow..."

The new RC client has the code for shadows (aside from Macintosh,alas). It's been announced at New World Notes, and in the comments you can find out how to enable it.

I have a 9800 GT, and ended up dropping back a bit from all the knobs set to 11 to up the frame rate a bit. People have reported some very weird things going on with some skins, and I notice little sky colored dotted lines around the edges of the strands of my hair. (If we're lucky, those are aspects of the same bug.)

In any case, I'm going to go take some pictures, including one I've wanted to do for a long, long time. More news as it happens.

UPDATE: Those pictures will have to wait; snapshots I take with shadows activated come out solid black--and even in world, my body doesn't cast a shadow, just my attachments.

UPDATE: The "downloads" page has dropped back to a 1.22.x version of Release Candidate, so I guess they think the 1.23 needs more work--most likely because as it was it had a change that corrected a bug that many in SL, most notably skin makers, had come to depend on. That change gave rise to a HUGE outcry.

UPDATE: ...and I can see why; using the 1.23.x client, my eyelashes look like Tammy Fae Bakker did them for me.

Yet another UPDATE: they did something to get rid of the eyelash effect. (Whew!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A corollary of Moore's Law

Soon, if not immediately, after you buy computer hardware, a version that is cheaper, more capable, or both will appear.

I moved up to a 9800 GT, and it has made Second Life much nicer... but now ATIAMD has come out with the Radeon HD 4770, with a very nice price, comparable or better performance, and consuming less power. (Leaving the question, how is it set for drivers for Linux?)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Apologies to Madame Pele

Cheyenne and Sweetie were graciously showing a new friend of mine the wonders of Whimsy, and my friend was particularly interested in Pele.

Cheyenne summoned Pele, and the volcano started to erupt... but I couldn't refrain from saying something less than respectful--and my SL client immediately died.

Clearly Pele was not at all happy with me. I will strive to come up with an appropriate penance.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I really, really need to work on composition, and remind myself to get close to the subject and not try to take in too much at once.

The other day I went to Apollo... I hadn't been there for a while, and it's a gorgeous sim that's been around at least as long as I've been in SL. I especially like it by night by the torchlit columns, walkways, and stairs, and one of the glowing, particle-emitting... well, if they weren't glowing and particle-emitting, I'd think they are birdbaths... that invite you to donate in support of Apollo (which I do, and I hope you will as well) caught my eye, and I took a picture:

I converted to JPEG and uploaded it to flickr, and it was OK, but... it was kind of all over the place (as opposed to stuck in the middle with you, I guess... sorry), so I tried cropping, with this result:

Better (although I fear that displays a bit of narcissism), but then I read "How to crop a photo for better composition" over at Photodoto, and the advice of not putting the subject dead center (perhaps related to the Rule of Thirds?), and ended up with:

which I think bears out the advice, so I will strive to compose better in the future.

Spindly? Not at all...

It's strange. In SL, one's shape is trivially (at least in comparison with RL!) tweakable. One's appearance is more like an outfit than one's self.

I know that. But I don't act that way. Concern about appearance follows me into SL, and so I felt oddly reassured by this article from chinaSMACK:
Recently, a beautiful girl with beautiful legs from Beijing Sport University has exploded with popularity on Taiwan, Singapore, and other Chinese internet websites. According to reports, 1.78 meter tall Beijing Sport University student Kong Yansong was recently selected by netizens as the winner of a beautiful legs competition, her biggest characteristic being her pair of extremely slender and beautiful legs.
So... with Joe Tex's words echoing in my head, I laugh at my silliness and move on.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You know, it's not just in Second Life...

I know, I promised not to count down, but tomorrow (or maybe now--do they use GMT, or South African time?) Ubuntu 9.04, aka "Jaunty Jackalope", will be officially released.

I was hoping to do something in its honor, namely take a picture in SL with two friends replicating the "circle of friends" Ubuntu logo, or more specifically the photo that was, for a while, intended to be the gdm (GNOME login manager) login screen for the early Ubuntu "Warty Warthog" release... but then I remembered the controversy.

If you'd asked me, I'd have said that the people photographed were from a dance troupe. One man and two women, probably in their 20s, fit and slender, each clasping the other two at the adjacent elbow, standing in a circle (OK, a triangle) and looking up at the viewer. All dressed reasonably--well, the man only had on jeans, which store owners of the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" variety would object to--but...

One of the women had the audacity to be nicely endowed, and perhaps the studio was somewhat colder than usual.

As Roger Zelazny wrote in Lord of Light, "Then the fit hit the Shan."

The Release Candidate artwork was changed so fast your head would spin. I was disappointed. It seemed to me to be knuckling under to the prude contingent.

I still hope to recreate that image... but it will forever be tainted by the response to the original.

UPDATE: Since you probably never saw the artwork in question, here it is:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I had a little time to explore tonight, and after looking around a store Fashion Consolidated I decided to check out the rest of the sim.

Thibedeau (I wondered about that spelling, but Google turns up a lot of entries for Thib[aeio]deau, so I'll withhold judgement) is, I think, best viewed at night. There's a curious tortoise...

...a robot with a TV for a head...

...and at the walkway to Wasabi Pills, a store with fairly nice skins for very reasonable prices, glowing crystals.

I've not shown you all there is to see, so do take a look. It's like a midway without the noise and rigged games; fun to stroll through and marvel at.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Celebrity-inspired avatars

Over at New World Notes, there's been a couple of entries with polls asking which celebrity people think inspired an avatar shown in a face shot.

On the first one, I was totally wrong; on the current one, I have no idea at all, an indication, I'm sure, of how little I pay attention to current celebrities. (Just part of the transition to being an official old fogey, I guess.)

Goodness knows there are stores that sell avatar shapes and skins similarly "inspired". I wonder how long it will be before the lawyers come down on them?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

OK, I won't do a countdown with blog entries, but...'s only four days until the official release of Ubuntu 9.04, aka "Jaunty Jackalope." I've been running the beta (now the release candidate), and I'm very happy with it. Do check it out.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens

I got to see Monsters vs. Aliens. It was great fun, and I am still so jealous... Gallaxhar may be evil, but either he or whatever device he had making clothing for Susan had really great fashion sense. :)

Lest you think whimsy is all there is to Whimsy...

I should show you this, featuring one of the many beautiful things to be seen there:

Of course, whimsy still prevails amid the beauty; last night, while AFK, company dropped in, so to speak. My gracious landlady Cheyenne and her breathtaking partner in the surreal, Sweetie were there. We chatted for a while, and Sweetie incarnated as multiple musical bots, leading to an impromptu dance:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In the Casablanca Hotel

I was wandering about and happened upon the Casablanca Hotel. It's quite opulent!

There was a lovely room that I couldn't resist posing in for some photos. I don't wish to slight the many creators of SL, but I have to say that I love the work of Long Awkward Pose and the flowing skirt of Rock Me Amadeus's Blossoming Sakura outfit.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Trying the Shadow Viewer again...

OK... I tried the Shadow Viewer again. It didn't crash on me, but OTOH I didn't teleport, which seemed to be correlated with the crashes before.

I saw my shadow. (Thank goodness I'm not a groundhog.) On the other hand, the shadows still seem odd. Moving the camera around causes strange shadows to come and go in a very unrealistic fashion. (This will finally push me to try machinima, so I can show you what I mean.)

This is still very much under development; I hope that it will improve.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Whimsical Turtle

One of the things that makes Whimsy so wonderful is that there's always something new and delightful.

Today I discovered this turtle:

If you touch it, it will pull back into its shell for a time, and then come back out. It's very cute!

Happy Easter

To those of you who celebrate Easter, happy Easter.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poetik Velvets

I've been away a couple of weekends, and hence haven't been in SL much. I hope that will change for a while.

I decided to go exploring and went to some of the places New World Notes listed as most-photographed on Koinup. The most curious one was Poetik Velvets.

I am not sure why it's so named. You arrive and find yourself on hills reminiscent of the stripes on mattresses, with clumps of ghostly kitchen utensils sprouting all over. I'd call it "Spatula City," with apologies to Weird Al. Not to give the wrong impression; at midnight, it's gorgeous, the trees alight with glowing leaves.

I didn't have much time to explore, but I did get in one photo. Do pay the sim a visit.

PS: OK, for those who peeked at the full image, I got in one photo worth showing.

2nd Sex (Slight Return)

I'm happy to see that 2nd Sex is opened once again, though Lillie Yifu says she probably won't post often to it. Even if she were to never post there again, it's still very much worth reading.

Thank you, Lillie.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Speaking of trying things...

...I had a chance to try SL on an Eee netbook.

It was a disaster. Even at the lowest settings, graphics were horrid, frame rate was about 0.4 fps, and in short order it died, once taking the system down with it.

Maybe someday with the nVidia Ion?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Running on Beta

I switched over to the Jaunty Jackalope beta, so I could try out Boy Lane's "Shadow Viewer", an SL client with the features of Cool Viewer and with real shadows (that you have to enable via a "hardware option" on the graphics settings).

Jaunty Jackalope is working fine. I wish I could say the same for "Shadow Viewer"; it crashes on me. I think I see the shadows, but I need to get into position and set the sun's position so I know where the shadows should be. What I saw didn't quite seem consistent.

P.S. Good heavens... a week between posts! I will do better, I promise.