Tuesday, June 28, 2011

/me groans

Resting in hopes of getting well... off to bed.

Bless you, Chrissy!

I've been beating my head against the wall about streaming audio on 64-bit Linux, and Chrissy, beloved bartender of the Minoan Empire, just let me know how she deals with it. If you can't tackle it head on, work around it--peek at the media link and open it up in a separate program, like VLC.

Thank you!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ohne Dich

While looking through the various YouTube videos set in the Lost Gardens of Apollo, I came upon this one. It's a sequence of stills, but nevertheless it works--and especially now, the music that accompanies it seems appropriate: Rammstein's "Ohne Dich" ("Without You").

Sunday, June 26, 2011


RL prevented me from attending the chariot races and the gathering that followed today, and I will regret it forever.

King Minos, wise and capable ruler, you and the Architect, Aeneas Anthony, whose skills surely rival those of Daedalus himself, have my gratitude for the amazing things that you have done. One of them is creating a family, and I hope it continues.

Apollo: In Memoriam

I went out to Apollo one last time, and immediately regretted not having done so earlier. With the improvement in Second Life graphics, it was even more beautiful than I remembered.

I took some pictures. There was no time to try replicating some of the forced perspective photos from long ago, but I wanted to record a bit of it before it closed. The statue, the shops, the harbor... and the open space in the woods where a group of people were doing tai chi. Suddenly the memory of tai chi on the beach in Crete swept over me, and I had to sign off lest I break down completely.

If you happen to read this on the day it's posted, you may still have some time to visit the Apollo sim--do it now! If it's too late, or even if not, be sure to watch this machinima. It's one of many YouTube videos of the sim; search for "lost gardens of apollo" and be amazed.

UPDATE: It's too late. A commenter in the NWN post with the machinima was there for the sim's last thirty minutes. Shortly after I read that, I saw the sim on the map with one person there, but couldn't teleport to it.

Also in the comments on that post: Fearless Nation, a sim that helps people dealing with PTSD, will be closing in a week. Is there any evidence that LL cares?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Must-read from Penny Patton

Read Penny Patton's post "A Matter of Scale - How scale affects content creation and land ownership in Second Life" in the SL Building and Texturing Forum. Out of whack scale is a major issue in Second Life.

(I'm one to talk about scale, eh? Perhaps, but consistent scale makes for verisimilitude. You can't be a giant[ess] if everything is built to a large scale.)

Thanks to Tateru Nino, without whose post on Dwell on It I'd not have known about Ms. Patton's essay.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Search of Dress and Tattoo

I'm a sucker for the LBD... but I've also been known to fall for a flaming red dress. The Ingenue "Christmas Girl" freebie is a wonderful example... but it I can find. I'd love to be able to find this dress in my inventory; does anyone remember it from about three years ago?

(That's from the days before clothing layers for me, as you can tell.)

Happily, I've found another fun red dress recently--it's in the discount, but not so discount as the Reese babydoll, section of Bliss Couture.

I like it a lot, but it makes me want to take up an old search again. Now that I have a dress slit up to there, I want to find a tattoo to accompany it, one with a vine, preferably with red flowers, that runs up the outside of my leg from ankle to hip. I've been searching in-world and in SL Marketplace; does anyone know of such a thing? (It would be especially nice if it supported the tattoo feature of the 2.x clients.)

UPDATE: I pulled out a tattoo from inventory from the last time I went looking. It's still not quite what I'm after, but it isn't bad.

UPDATE: Looking again at this, I can't believe I chose that pose. OK, it shows the tattoo, but the rest is a bit much, don't you think?

Inexpensive Babydoll

I was wandering about Bliss Couture admiring the lovely gowns when my eye was caught (ow!) by a sign for discount items. Seeing the magic word, I went looking, and found a babydoll dress for a mere L$89 easily adaptable for prim breasts. It's their "Reese" dress.

Happily, it's long enough that (with hose, at least) I will wear it, and the glitchpants don't get stretched down too far on my legs. I decided after taking these pictures that I should ditch the ribbon, which defies gravity and sticks out behind no matter what, and switch the collar ruffle around so I can attach it to my spine. There are various colors, and I'll probably get them all eventually.

Kettle Quest

Via NWN (thanks, Hamlet): Gaia Clary's Kettle Quest. Leverage your sculpted prim knowledge into a leg up on mesh. Elite my eye.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is this really possible?

Take a look at the comments on the NWN article about the closing of the Apollo sim; in particular, look at Maria Korolov's comment. Costs a tenth of what LL charges? If that is really possible, maybe some of these sims could survive.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vivat Regina

I have a link to the "Laurana's Cuties" web site, but I don't think I've mentioned it in a post. Laurana Newell started the group for adult female avatars who maintain a bustline of at least one hundred inches. (The measuring process is interesting.)

The group member who has (and maintains) the largest bustline is proclaimed to be the Queen, and a notice went out that there is a new queen, Cali Arabello, with an amazing estimated bustline of 1,300 inches. I was up way too early (as usual; sigh...), and had a chance to meet Her Majesty. I'm not sure I could wear the top, or rather harness, that she had on--it looked kind of painful--but here's a photo, with Laurana and me nearby for scale.

I suspect Queen Cali will reign for quite a while.

POM Dependent

I have no idea what causes Kirsten's client, Firestorm, or the 2.7.x beta to decide to grab all available RAM and crash.

Just now I fired up Firestorm twice; both times, it sucked down 3 GB of the 4 GB available and crashed--OK, the first time I saw it coming and signed off before the inevitable. Rule of Three: I started it a third time, and it behaved. No change in settings; I didn't clear the cache.

Maybe it will settle down into mostly working, the way the previous Firestorm did. I hope so. I may try global illumination again; if this is a Heisenbug, I wouldn't be surprised if it was just chance that made me think it affected anything.

I wish there were a real 64-bit build of Firestorm that I could try.

UPDATE: I tried global illumination; no apparent difference. It just happened to crash once when I had it on, and then not crash the next time when I happened to turn it off.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A beautiful tribute to the Minoan Empire

UPDATE: alas, the YouTube video is no longer there--but you can see it on Vimeo. (If there's a way to embed Vimeo videos, please let me know via email at mel_yeuxdoux@yahoo.com and I will embed it here.)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Farewell, Apollo?

NWN has a post up asking for what one might put on an "SL bucket list", though I'd call it an "inverse bucket list". The bucket list is what you should do before you "kick the bucket"; the places on this list are those you should see before they kick the bucket.

I am very sad that one of the comments states that the Lost Gardens of Apollo will go away on June 26th. Apollo is an amazing, beautiful sim, and one of my favorite places. I have taken so many photos there, including many of my experiments with forced perspective.

So... with Mammatus, then Goldie Locks and Nantli Xolal, then the Minoan Empire, and now Apollo going away, does the metaverse have it in for me? I can't believe that. I may think it sometimes, but I can't believe it. Unfortunately, the alternative would seem to be that a lot of places are going away, so that they'd happen to include my favorites. This is not a good sign.

NOTE: The ordering above is not chronological order, but the order I happened to think of them in. The Minoan Empire is due to close on July 6th.

UPDATE: Apollo, like the Minoan Empire, is one of the "featured Second Life destinations". To be featured, I would think that someone or some group at Linden Lab would have decided that the featured sim is special, that it represents what is best and special about Second Life. Does LL care that such sims are going away?

Blinded by the Light

"Facelight" is a dirty word to many residents of Second Life. It's amazing how many people walk around with a 500 terawatt arc lamp hovering in front of their faces, as if a perpetual Ground Zero accompanies them, washing out all detail in the entire sim, or the entire building they happen to be in.

It's not just facelights, though. I've been in a store where the posters for the clothing on sale were made to glow so brightly one could only see a fuzzy outline of the outfit, and couldn't make out a name or a price. And last night, while exploring and trying to figure out just what circumstances and settings cause SL clients to leak RAM like a sieve with the wire mesh cut out of it, I came upon a region that called to mind Roger Zelazny's greatest work, Lord of Light: "...this general area must have appeared in some quarters as though the Universal Fire did a dance upon the map."

This blinding light supposedly came from a small campfire on the beach. I have no idea why the prim skirt was immune.

I've seen buildings similarly lit. I don't know of anyone who virtually sleeps; what's the point? But some places, which seem to have been filled with hidden halogen lighting, would make it impossible.

No one could possibly intend that beach to look as though it had been teleported to some place inside the sun. There must be some client and configuration that makes those batteries of facial klieg lights and perpetual low-yield nuclear devices look good. I wonder what they are.

UPDATE: Boy, Google is fast. Maybe half an hour after I posted this, I googled "zelazny facelight", and (despite suggesting that maybe I meant "face lift"), this post turned up on page three of the results.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Help for Helios

One of the blogs I link to is the Blog of Helios, the blog of the HeliOS Project that puts computers running Linux in the hands of kids in the Austin TX area who would otherwise not have access to technology. The Project could use your help; consider donating your not-too-old gently-used hardware.

More urgently, though, Diane, the partner of Ken (who runs the project) is in need of help. She suffered a stroke due to an aneurysm, and the surgeons were going to go in and install stents... until it came up that she's uninsured. More details here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

64-bit Linux version, please?

So... the new Firestorm came out yesterday, and of course I tried it. It's become unusable for me, as Kirsten's client has been for some time.

Here are the symptoms: I sign on, and within minutes the SL client allocates all available RAM, the frame rate plummets, and the client crashes.

This has happened to me on several 2.x based SL clients, including some from Linden Lab. It may have also happened to others as well; see this thread in the Kirsten client forum. I seriously hope that the message from Steffi Honi in that thread is not accurate.

It makes no sense not to create a 64-bit Linux build (or a 64-bit Windows or Mac build, for that matter). It can be done; Imprudence has done it for some time. It's just about impossible to buy a computer these days that doesn't contain a 64-bit x86 flavored CPU, unless you're buying a netbook, which can barely run SL anyway, or a tablet (which probably has an ARM processor that LL doesn't target). The 64-bit extensions correct infamous drawbacks of the x86 architecture, namely its poverty of registers and the extreme register pressure caused by the horrid non-orthogonality of the instruction set. (Translated to English: a whole lot of the instructions executed in any 32-bit x86 program are moves in and out of registers, and in particular moves in and out of a special set of registers that are the only ones that can be used for certain operations like shifts, multiplies, and divides. That in turn is caused by the x86 being the result of decades of backwards compatibility with ancient 8-bit and 16-bit processors.) If you look at Ubuntu Community documentation, they recommend running 64-bit if you can.

People should have learned their lesson when Microsoft C compilers moved from 16-bit int to 32-bit int. The ISO C standard requires standard header files that make it easier to avoid assumptions that trip one up when moving from 16-bit to 32-bit, or 32-bit to 64-bit.

Can I be sure that this particular problem is caused by problems with running a 32-bit SL client on 64-bit Linux? Not yet; since Imprudence goes to the trouble of doing 64-bit Linux builds, I think that running a 64-bit version of Kokua will tell the tale.

UPDATE: I do have to say that the new Firestorm's orange-brown smoke is nicer than the stock Casper, especially at night, and they do give one the option of pie menus, which are really nice for doing things quickly and accurately via muscle memory. But never mind the results of ergonomics research, surely the people who gave us 2.x know what is best for us... [slap] Thanks, I needed that. Sorry about the sarcasm.

UPDATE: New Firestorm is usable for me if I turn off "global illumination".  Alas, that doesn't suffice for Kirsten's client--it still grabs all the RAM and crashes in minutes. I hate to lose global illumination, though I guess I should tell myself at least I can take high-resolution pictures again (vide VWR-24178). 

UPDATE: Um, maybe not on the high-resolution photos. They're not blatantly ruined as they are with the VWR-24178 bug, but there's a pesky vertical line over to the right... here's an example. 

UPDATE: I don't know what changed, but Firestorm is once again sucking down RAM and dying. I had the System Monitor up and watched it grab 100 MB of RAM about every ten seconds.

UPDATE: OK. The SL 2.7.something beta client ran for hours for me today, and then I signed back on only to find it allocating all RAM and crashing very quickly--no settings changed. Is it the cache? I don't know. I do know that the SL client is very much still subject to the VWR-24178 bug; it ruined the high-res pictures I took in the grand old style, no piddly black line for it.

I also noticed something else... if you ever go to the Boobie Tops main store, it's set in an enclosed region that is permanently a rainy urban environment. I would teleport there and then notice that as I moved, there would be flashes of light--possibly the light from the outside day cycle flashing through; I don't know. When I stopped, they would stop. Today, with LL's 2.7 beta client, I saw that effect a lot in several places I went.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not Over Yet

I should not leave the story of us Minoans where I did. We're trying to figure out some way to continue. If this interests you, please let me know.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yet Another Must-Read from Gwyneth Llewelyn

"Meshed Drama" is an interesting discussion of various classes of SL content creators and how mesh might spread once it is official.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Over the Line

I am sorry to say that I got an announcement today from Ravishing Racks, a maker of very good clothing for prim breast users, that they have added to their business virtual pit bulls that can be made to fight. I cannot support that, even in a virtual world, so I won't be spending my L$ there. You will have to decide for yourself what you will do.

I hasten to add: pit bulls are not born aggressive and dangerous. Some are made that way by vile people who train them to be so, and I will celebrate on the day that practice ends and those responsible get what they deserve.

UPDATE: I am partly wrong: according to this page with a review of The Lost Dogs,
One law enforcement officer experienced with dog fighting is quoted as saying that as many as 80% of the dogs in a typical dog fighting operation never fight, even when coaxed and treated harshly and trained for it. 80% just don't show the aggression necessary.
So even though these scum try to make the dogs fight, the vast majority don't.

I am not wrong about pit bulls not being inherently vicious or aggressive. (Details here.) 

The Lost Dogs is the story of what happened to the dogs in the illegal dog fighting operation Michael Vick was involved in. From the page linked to above:
Out of the 51 dogs rescued, at least 20 were suitable for foster care immediately.  Others were sent to sanctuaries, and after some work, were then sent to foster homes.  Many of the fosters passed the Canine Good Citizen Test and the ATTS behavior test, and some are currently working as therapy dogs.

Only two had to be euthanized.  One for aggression, and one because of a severe health problem that was inoperable and causing the dog pain.
Only two.

And this was after the president of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, publicly stated that it didn't make sense to keep any of the dogs alive.
UPDATE: Do read the comments.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ominous News

Word has come from King Minos that the gentle, smiling dolphins who normally play about the shores of Crete have disappeared. I know not the cause, but in the coming days, you will find me at the temple of Poseidon, earth-shaker and ruler of the sea.

UPDATE: Here are Christopher Smadga and I, praying to Poseidon:

UPDATE: From the Perseus web site, the Homeric Hymn to Poseidon (minus the line numbers in the translation):
I begin to sing about Poseidon, the great god, mover of the earth and fruitless sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae. A two-fold office the gods allotted you, O Shaker of the Earth, to be a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships!
Hail, Poseidon, Holder of the Earth, dark-haired lord! O blessed one, be kindly in heart and help those who voyage in ships!
UPDATE: I've about cried myself out, for now.

Aeneas Anthony has announced that the Minoan Empire sim will close on July 6th. There will be two more chariot races, on June 19th and 26th, at 1:00 p.m. SL time (or 1300 if you prefer 24-hour notation). I beg you, if you have not visited the empire,  do so while you can. It is a wonderful place, and I will never forget it. Thanks to King Minos, to the Architect, Aeneas Anthony, and to all the wonderful Minoan citizens.

UPDATE: A photo taken from the beach with no dolphins to be seen:

UPDATE: we are not resigned to our fate; see "Not Over Yet".

Must-watch Video via Grace McDunnough and Marianne McCann

Phasing Grace | Social Architectures and Virtual Worlds: The Magic Soul of Prims: "When you think all the light has been drained from the world, remember to stop and ask yourself: ' Can you see the shadows ?' Watch them d..."

Thursday, June 09, 2011


I tried to log on just now, and couldn't. Sure enough, the status report page showed that database maintenance is underway. People who want Second Life to be like it was in the "good old days" now have their wish in a way, though not of course what they'd say they meant if you asked them.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't able to log on--at least the last time that I can say for sure was due to issues with the centralized part of Second Life. I would say that indicates that those responsible for the reliability of that part of SL are doing a good job. Thank you!

Carly Simon got it right way back when. These are the good old days.

UPDATE: Even this morning, it's not like the good old days; downtime was just half an hour.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Goldie Locks Closing

It is with great sorrow that I write the following: Goldie Locks is closing. Now through June 16th you can buy Goldie Locks hair for half off; on the 17th the store will go away. (UPDATE: not just the store, but Nantli Xolal sim.)

I have far more Goldie Locks hair in my inventory than any other--I can always count on it to look good, its default size fits my head :), there are many lovely styles, there are no dueling alpha textures to make your head look like one of those cheesy plants made out of intersecting planes, and the superlong hair catered to my inner Diane Witt, especially with a little editing on "Jordan" to make it 3.5 meters long...

So, thank you, Selena Gateaux. I am more indebted to you than I can say, and I hope that you will continue to create in Second Life.

UPDATE: I went back again with a friend (Hi, Kaseido!) and said "Next to Nantli Xolal is the Rainforest sim, I hope it will remain..." and then zoomed out to see it was gone; the pyramids, the trees with comfy beds up in the branches... it's already gone away. *blinks back tears*

Saturday, June 04, 2011

BUSTed Magazine First Anniversary Issue

As Maggie Bluxome has already mentioned, BUSTed's first anniversary issue is now on the stands, hot off the virtual presses. Don't miss it.

Thanks are due to many people: Cole Deischer for starting it all, everyone who works on BUSTed, Maggie for asking me to write for BUSTed, and all of you who read the magazine. May BUSTed continue for many years to come.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Formal Night at Bosom Buddies

One of the things I enjoy most in Second Life is Formal Night at Bosom Buddies. I don't have photos from it; for those you definitely want to visit Aliecia Lionheart's blog Happenings of a Busty Second Life Dancer.

Bosom Buddies has other theme nights, but this one is special. Go and you will see a huge room full of beautiful, well-endowed women impeccably dressed. (There's a contest for best-dressed. Two, actually; one for employees and one for everyone else. It is very hard to decide who to vote for.) It motivates me, and I'm sure everyone else, to do better. Last but not least, I get a really good laugh at the thought of this going on in the face of the fizzling out of a certain blog. To borrow a couplet from a song that didn't make it into Fiddler on the Roof, "gone they are--we're still here!"

Don't miss Formal Night.

UPDATE: Shame on me for not saying when it is. Formal Night is Sunday, 6-8 p.m. SL time.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Mesh Timetable

It's out, as promised. (The timetable, I mean.)

Barring unforeseen bugs, in July some sims on the main grid will have mesh enabled, and by the end of August, it will be enabled everywhere.

Yay, finally! (Or as they say in Esperanto, finfine! That's an example of emphasis via repetition; it might be translated as "at long last!" or "geez, fi-nally!")