Sunday, January 30, 2011

And Now, for Something Completely Different

Hamlet Au at New World Notes kindly gave me a hat tip in his post on Egyptians from around the world meeting at the Egypt sim. (Thank you!)

This is an apology to any who followed the hat tip link here in hopes of finding more information about the matter. (*blush*) I write about things going on in the world, but only once in a very great while. For information about Second Life and current events in First Life, one should go elsewhere. I will attempt to find some places and link to them.

UPDATE: Alas, things have turned ugly, thanks to the pro-Mubarak forces, or should one say mercenaries? From
Anonymous sources at a state hospital and at the Ministry of Petroleum said employees were told to join the regime supporters in demonstrations Wednesday.... Today, several protesters said they had been offered by ruling National Democratic Party members LE50 to join the pro-Mubarak group as they passed by the television building on the Corniche.
That's 50 Egyptian pounds, a bit over $8.50 US. I wonder whether anyone's being paid for pro-Mubarak signs at the Egypt sim?

UPDATE: A statistic I've seen repeatedly is that half of the population of Egypt lives on less than $2 per day... so $8.50 is enough for one of that half to live on for the better part of a week, if that's true.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Khaire Nymphe Thea ( Χαίρε Νύμφη Θεά )

I happened across this video today and thought I'd share. The hymn is from the 19th century, but the author was, the poster says, "a dedicated scholar, well versed in the ancient texts and in the liturgy of the early Byzantine Church.... St. Nektarios was a scholar and an expert in both Byzantine liturgy and the pre-Christian sacred texts and would have been well aware of the original context when he composed this hymn."

The accompanying video features ruins of ancient buildings and dancers in clothing that you'll recognize from the reproductions of ancient artwork in the Minoan Empire sim if you've been there.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I've done it...

I've changed my display name. It's now "Μέλισσα Βαθυκόλπος", "deep-bosomed Melissa". (Spelling and grammar corrections are gratefully accepted.) I hope it will do well in the Minoan Empire, and we'll see if I now get asked "Do you know what that means?" by Greek speakers instead of Francophones. :)

Now to see if I can find that book of instruction in Homeric Greek...

Yet Another Computer Pricing Exercise

A few days ago the reviews started coming out for nVidia 560-based cards. They may be the new sweet spot for price/performance, as they're coming out at around $250, close to what 1 GB 460s initially cost.

It has been a while since I calculated how much a computer for running Second Life might cost, and hearing about the 560 made me look once again into the question.

I've definitely splurged this time around, made worse by buying a case with power supply and then having to buy another power supply to meet the requirements of the system. (Please, Apevia, consider selling the X-QPACK2 without a power supply!)

Here we go:
Total damage, not including shipping, $882. (I've used rounded figures, so they may not quite add up.) Eep! That's more than I was hoping, but it should run SL very nicely.

UPDATE: The nVidia 560 was too new for the Antec Power Supply Calculator to know about it when I first did this, but now it's there, and I redid the calculations. Judging by it, the graphics card manual, and Apevia's description of the power supply that comes with the QPack-2, I don't think it's necessary to buy another power supply, if you can get away with one of those Molex-to-PCI Express adapters, since technically, the PCI Express power connector includes a voltage not available on the four-pin Molex connectors, though some cards using that connector don't use that particular voltage, so sometimes you can get away with it. If that's the case, that's $90 off the cost (and probably a significant hunk off the shipping, since power supplies are heavy).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Serendipity strikes

One of the very first things you do when you begin your Second Life is pick a name. At the time I did so, at least, you were presented with a list of last names to choose from, and could select any first name not already chosen. (That last may have given rise to the flock of names with digit strings at the end, since that's a common way of making a name for a login id unique. "OK, if I can't be Fred, I'll be Fred0123456.") "Yeuxdoux" appealed to me. It's French (and yes, I know what it means; faire les yeux doux à quelqu'un means to make eyes at someone, to look amorously at someone).

"Melissa"? I liked it, and nobody had chosen "Melissa Yeuxdoux", so there I was. Some in SL refer to those who share the same last name as "cousins"; I have few cousins in SL. A search for Yeuxdoux in names just now turned up only five of us, though some may well have left over the years, and I can understand a desire to avoid unwanted attention and hence not choose "Yeuxdoux" as a last name.

[Stock footage of pages falling off calendars and clocks spinning quickly...]

Years go by, and the Minoan Empire comes to Second Life. It's beautiful, and Minoan fashion is encouraged, a joy in the days before prim breasts with clothing layers. I fall in love with it, though my loyalty to a dear friend and wish to support the endless delight and inventiveness of Whimsy keep me renting there.

More time goes by, and the "display name" comes to Second Life, amid some controversy... hey, this is the situation display names are made for! I should have an appropriate name to go by in the Minoan Empire, but what to choose? We know that the Minoans spoke Greek, or at least there are surviving writings in Greek in the curious syllabary we call "Linear B", but Linear B tablets hold the words of the ancient counterparts of Adrian Monk, not of a Homer or Hesiod. "Three tripods, one with a broken leg... two amphoras of honey for the temple..." Not many clues there.

It turns out, though, that while "Yeuxdoux" is of course millennia too late, "Melissa" might be just the thing. (Pause to slap my forehead, since I should have recognized the Latin and Spanish cognates.) Now to see whether there were patronymics (or maybe matronymics for the Minoan culture?), or place names or occupational names. ("Then Joe said..." "Joe who?" "You know, Joe, Fred's son", or "You know, Joe from Hotzeplotz", or "You know, Joe the shoemaker"...)

P.S. The page linked from "Minoan fashion" curiously describes the Minoan woman we see in surviving art as similar to the Victorian ideal: "The figure of the Minoan woman, with large breasts, large hips, and tiny waist, was very similar to the female shape that came into fashion during the late 1800s C.E. , when women laced themselves into tight corsets to make their waists small and wore hoops under their skirts to increase the size of their bottom half."

P.P.S. If you have any interest in Greek names, by all means visit the Lexicon of Greek Personal Names.

P.P.P.S. Maybe I should think up an epithet. (If you followed the link, I mean the first meaning.) Μέλισσα Βαθυκόλπος?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Maggie Boots

Maggie Bluxome is beautiful and impeccably stylish... and the boots at Bad Kitty that bear her name share those properties. Check them out at Maggie's blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

3D? You wouldn't think it.

Second Life is a 3D virtual world. Those of us who can, go out or online and spend what we can afford on graphics cards that will display SL as we would like. We all read the reviews and press our faces against the virtual windows of the storefronts with the cards we can't afford.

So why do some think the ideal SL photograph obliterates SL's 3Dness?

I posted about it when I first came across it. Alas, the excellent Ophelia Drowns is now invitation-only,. so you may not be able to see the images in the "Picture Perfect" post there... but you can see "GoGo's Lighting Tips" on the Juicy Bomb fashion blog. The goal: a photo that utterly flattens the image. The model looks like a dress-up paper doll in some Dover Press collection, without the hard-edged style.

Ah, but those posts are from years ago. Perhaps their authors' opinions have changed... but we've read Mariko Nightfire's more recent two posts (so far) on the desirability, or undesirability, of what she calls "walking with windlight" (a phrase that makes me hear Patsy Cline in my head).

If you look at the photos in the later post, again the photos labeled as better are flatter. I think that's partly because the skin, the face especially, has shading painted on, so that ironically, flat lighting makes the fake shading look better, though it also enhances the effect Galatea Gynoid points out in a comment in NWN: it looks like her head was Photoshopped into a flat drawing of the rest of her. (Not having "real" shadows causes that effect. If her head were really there, it would cast a shadow on her neck, and even if you can't point that out, it sets your mental teeth on edge. Alas, years after it first appeared, shadows are still not officially supported in LL's client, so that's LL's fault.)

Windlight gives us directional sunlight and moonlight like RL, rather than the uniform lighting of pre-windlight SL. Harsh shadows in RL don't distract you, any more than someone standing between you and a tree does. (After all, you're keeping an eye out for predators... or rather, your ancestors were.) Take a picture of it, though, and they're all you see. "Darn, those shadows are harsh. Oh... What's growing out of Billy's head? BWAHAHAHA...."

That's why photographers schlep flash and reflectors, and why photographers in SL keep transparent light sources in their inventories. I use a facelight, but only as fill lighting, and I do my best to take it off when I no longer need it. It's dim, and easy to forget.

So, is the Second Life client window more like RL, or a photograph? In a NWN comment, I claimed it was like the photograph, but I think I've changed my mind. I will never do without windlight unless I'm on a computer that can't support it, and the only times I recall lighting or shadows being a distraction are in stores so brightly lit that everything is washed out, or where someone steals the beacon from a lighthouse and points it at herself. (It's always herself, in my experience.)

So, like the vast majority of things in SL, it's up to you, the hardware you have available, your SL client, and what you want. I can't count on a "shared experience" with whoever's there, as far as the environment goes--who knows what they're running, or what their environment settings are? The sky and water's appearance and how I can use their effect on my surroundings are more important to me. Your mileage may vary.

P.S. Juicy Bomb is well worth reading... the author covers some really nice clothing, hair, and shoes.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


SL doesn't have mass media. If it did, people would probably complain about it. There are popular blogs, but what fraction of SL residents read them? A lot of SL podcasts have faded away, sad to say.

That leaves word of mouth, which is one reason I hope those of you who use prim breasts go out into the bigger world.

I had an idea this afternoon that is simple enough that I might even be able to do it myself: make a top that will point out a problem that prim breasts solve in a way that will encourage curiosity and conversation. The problem? Painted-on textures don't behave like clothes do, and the most severe example of it is the most visible concavity covered by clothing: cleavage.

There are people who sell and give away T-shirts with graphics or text on the front. If you're a woman and have the breast size slider up any significant amount, that graphic or text will be a distorted mess thanks to the way the texture is painted on rather than being a separate object.

So... I think a T-shirt that says


on the front would point out the issue. Make it the way all tops for prim breast users are made: a regular T-shirt along with a texture for prim breast clothing layers and an applicator. The regular shirt should have the text as well, and the whole thing should be a freebie; give it away, so non-prim breast users can put the shirt on and see just how bad it looks.

P.S. I talked a bit about this with Maggie Bluxome recently, and I must admit... technically, the T-shirt text isn't quite accurate, since it will be legible with the breast size slider in the range of [0, n] for some value of n. Our goal will be to make n as small as possible.

Must-read from Dusan Writer

Check out "Second Life Next: 2011".

Thursday, January 06, 2011


Icon Allen has started a web site about her products and, as she says, "any other things of interest." Check it out, and don't make the mistake I made of thinking it's organized like a simple blog, with just a list of entries in chronological order. Click on the topic headings to explore.

UPDATE: You really do want to go there; she now has a post showing what mesh will do for skirts in SL... and heaven knows it's long overdue. (Lovely work, Icon!)

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The good side of fidgeting

I have to admit that the Oracul AO makes me feel like a model; the fluid movements make for good photos. I feel like I should be playing some stereotypical photographer patter in the background. :)

Monday, January 03, 2011

"Look for the buxom label..."

This morning I saw something for the second time... in a store, there was a sign with a logo for items that are prim breast compatible, along with an explanation of just what that means.

I will have to go back and see whether the logo was the same in both places... and I will inquire with the shop owners about the possibility of making it, or something like it, a standard that can be placed on ads for prim breast friendly clothing or other items. Prim breast users: wouldn't you like to be able to tell at a glance what stores cater to you? Not just clothing; how about the ability to buy an animation and know before you buy that it won't send your arms or legs through your prim breasts?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

January 2011 BUSTed

The new issue is out. Gorgeous photography, and don't miss the article by Allana Braveheart.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


I was looking through the new messages at Buxom Life, saw Stacia Zabaleta's post on the "Introduction" thread, and was happy to find out that she has clothing for prim breast users at her store, Gatherings.

I went looking (accompanied by Foxbean, yay!), and sure enough, there it was. Some outfits are more daring than I'm comfortable with, but there's a variety of choices, and I bought some more modest items and some others that I might not normally buy, save that I've seen them worn, and they look very good.

So, makers of prim breasts and prim breast-related items (not just clothing--I have hopes that someone will start making prim breast-friendly animations), here's another example. When trying to get your name before the prim breast using public, come to Buxom Life and introduce yourself.

I, for one, welcome my new animation override

Elysia and Val kindly pointed me at Oracul when I complimented them on their wonderful standing animations, and now I have one of Oracul's AOs.

I'm still getting used to it. The animations are graceful and fluid (yet another reason to favor fps a bit more when I'm not taking pictures), but I feel a little fidgety.

UPDATE: Thinking about animations reminds me of a pet peeve from the past: a sitting animation for women that made one loop through a rapt contemplation of one's fingernails. Oh, how I hated it! Earth to whoever the animator was: there are intelligent women out there.

UPDATE: The fun part is going to be figuring out the documentation.