Monday, December 09, 2013

Life imitates Second Life

Christmas brings ads for many stores--including jewelers. I saw an ad the other day, and I wish I remembered the store and the product--it was a ring or a bracelet, and I swear it sparkled like the most obnoxious bling-laden SL product you could ever imagine. I had to laugh; I guess in RL people wouldn't berate one quite as much for wearing it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dem bones, dem bones, dem avatar bones...

So after many people contributed real money to pay Qarl Fizz to implement the mesh deformer, and after years of, well, something, LL has decided not to support it. instead, they will support something like the "Liquid Mesh" (which was controversial because it took advantage of SL's actual behavior as opposed to its specified behavior). "Bones" will be added for body parts that in RL don't have bones so that those body parts can influence the position and motion of mesh clothing.

I am not a builder or virtual tailor, so I cannot have an informed opinion about which method is better. If I understand rightly, though, the mesh deformer would "just work": you make a piece of clothing to fit the stock avatar at whatever is considered the default slider settings, and the deformer would take care of making the clothing fit its user at whatever slider setting he or she has in effect. The mesh deformer, therefore, would at least seem to be easier from the clothes-maker's point of view.

One thing I think we can say: what sane person will now do anything to try to improve Second Life, in view of what has happened with the mesh deforrmer? IMHO this shows that the "shared experience" clause is every bit as destructive as we thought it would be.

P.S. In this regard, two must-read blog posts:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Disney heroines with beards

Imagine my surprise to see this image...

Not just surprise that Ariel's hair isn't soaked and plastered to her, but that she has a beard! It's from a blog post by Adam Ellis, "Disney Princesses with Beards". (They're not all princesses; he includes, for example, Mulan, Alice, and of course Ariel. I personally wish he'd done Rapunzel from Tangled.)

She wears it very well indeed, and it makes me want to go bearded again... but I want a curly beard like Ariel's! The fluffy Victorian-meets-ZZ-Top beard was nice, but I will have to go looking for curls. I wonder if there are mesh beards now?

UPDATE: O me of little faith! Google immediately turned up a truly impressive example, the Rustica mesh Norse beard, too long for my use, but complete with braiding. You'll definitely intimidate your foes with it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013


I've been to Bewbstock. Lovely clothing--though if you don't use Tangos or Lush, or one of the breast attachments that can use Tango appliers, your choices there are limited.

I bought one of the Gatherings Designs Boho outfits, even though they don't include an applier I can use, because the skirt is just so darned beautiful! Thank you, Stacia Zabaleta.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hope to see you soon in a better virtual place, Qarl...

A must-read from Qarl Fizz né Linden: "goodbye, second life".

I am amazed and grateful that he hung on as long as he did in the face of Linden Lab's unconscionable foot-dragging on the mesh deformer.

Someone on NWN in comments on a video of an in-world presentation by IP lawyers on TOS and IP has already done a "So long and thanks for all the sculpties" HHGttG reference, so I'll skip that. Besides, I hope it's not so long, at least not forever.

Read the whole post, but I have to quote its end:
fellow citizens of the virtual world: next time we do this, we absolutely must be more careful. no matter how cute and earnest our rulers appear in the beginning, we cannot accept their promise "trust us". we need DEMOCRACY. we need it at the foundation, and we need it in writing. 
see you on the other side.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Graphics improvements with Linux 3.12 kernel

The folks at the Phoronix web site found that AMD Radeon graphics run much (where much ranges from 10% to 90%) faster on the Linux 3.12 kernel, and now they've found out why.

They have a neat setup to automate testing to find the answer to this type of question--it does a binary search on the kernel source commits to find the one where the change takes place. It turns out to be a change that affects how CPU frequency is adjusted based on load.

So, that should be good news for at least some SL residents using the 3.12 kernel. The 2^16-dollar question: what about other graphics card users? The change doesn't sound like it should be specific to AMD graphics, but until you try it out, you can't say for sure, and that testing is now in Phoronix's queue. (Darn it, it looks like Ubuntu 13.10 will have the 3.11 kernel.)

Anyone out there using 3.12? Have you noticed a speedup in SL? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

UPDATE: OhHeyItsLou reports that Nouveau (the open source nVidia driver) works nicely on 3.12, but he doesn't do any gaming sorts of things in the video, so the question is still open.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Survey at Whimsy's Closet blog

Of course, surveys in blogs have self-selected respondents, which pretty well guarantees a non-representative sample. But hey, unless we're willing to pay someone to do a serious survey, this is as good as it gets.

So... I hope you'll head over to "Which Prim Breasts Do You Wear Most?" on the Whimsy's Closet blog and give your response. I look forward to seeing where the results settle down. Thanks to Cindy Melgund for setting up the survey, and to Maggie Bluxome for posting about it on her blog.

Maggie Bluxome reinvents her blog again

...and the results are impressive indeed. Check it out:

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

An interesting reaction to the new TOS

Take a look at "The Content Liberation Front" on the Kitely Blog. Creators can copy their stuff to Kitely for free, and thence they can back it up to their very own hard drive. I'm no content creator, but it looks like a heck of a deal.

Monday, September 30, 2013

No Matter What Shape Your Avatar's In

I don't know how long the trend for women's avatar shapes has gone on, but it is out there. The stereotypical features:
  • legs sufficiently separated that the avatar can stand astride a piano bench without bending her knees
  • gap-toothed
  • a sullen, frowning face
It's sufficiently well-known to be parodied; Iris Ophelia has written in New World Notes about a flickr image, titled "The Average Avi Body on SL", that pokes fun at it.

Do I like the trend? Not particularly; the legs would seem to require something other than a human pelvis, which creeps me out a little. Being gap-toothed has worked fine for Ali McGraw and other well-known beautiful women; I recall long ago seeing what was either a TV show or a short movie all about gap-toothed women--but I wouldn't choose it. The sullen look is the worst for me. Yes, it's hard to get a good-looking, non-phony smile in SL... but even if I can't show that I'm having fun in-world that way, I don't want to look like I can't stand it or whoever is around. I don't want to look blasé, too cool to care, or tragically hip, just as I don't want to be any of those.

All that said, what others do with their avatars is, for the most part, their business. In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson, it neither breaks my neck^H^H^H^Hleg nor picks my pocket. Some things go over the edge for me--in which case I go elsewhere. For all I know, they may think something analogous of my avatar.

UPDATE: Thanks for the comments--and Ms. Tsiolkovsky, I hope that you are still writing somewhere. And for those of you who aren't as antique as I am, here's what the post title references:

Sunday, August 04, 2013

In praise of Busted

I know I always say that the staff at Busted has outdone itself each month, but darn it, it's always been true... and this month is no exception. Especially impressive is how the photos of Missy Powers have been processed to suggest motion, something I don't think is possible yet purely via the SL snapshot facilities. (If only they let you set a virtual shutter speed...!)

The August 2013 issue also takes an enjoyable diversion into the Linden Endowment for the Arts sims; many thanks to Bellimora for a fine article.

Angel covers the First Annual Miss Busty SL Pageant, an event I wish I could have attended--but would not want to have to judge. I could never choose just one. (Remember how E.E. "Doc" Smith described the ratings of starship captains in the Lensman series, with hair's-breadth differences between the first N, for some large N? That's what I'm reminded of.)

Finally... I look forward to Xarah Undercroft's reviews of the many breast attachments that will appear in issues to come; if her "Tops and Bottoms" articles are any indication, they will be very good indeed! (And with the very welcome proliferation of breast attachments, quite helpful.)

I'll repeat myself yet again: if you have any interest in the Second Life busty community, Busted is among the very first resources you should turn to.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Zettai ryouiki as billboard?

I had a brief fling with zettai ryouiki a while back--I might revisit it. (It was fun... if only I'd properly tagged and filed the socks I finally came up with!)

Now young Japanese women are selling that space for advertising. (This is RL... though I wonder whether one could do that in Second Life? UPDATE: of course you can; that's what tattoos are for... but would it show up backwards on your other leg?) They must be at least 18, and have at least 20 friends on social networks. More info at the New York Post.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

flickr and other changes

I've been as remiss with flickr as with my blog, so I went looking. Wow... it has changed! A lot of the limits on free accounts have gone away, but there are still things only a Pro user can do. Details are here.

The thing that amazes me, though, is what they've done to the display of one's photostream. Now, instead of a vertical list of a few images with text, it's more like a photo album. I was blown away. It certainly makes one's photos look more impressive--here's my photostream now; check it out.

With that many more images visible, and with a little scrolling, I happened across a photo I took of Kaseido Quandry, and with that I realized how long it had been since I checked Kaseido's typist's blog. Had her typist made it successfully through writing and defending a dissertation?

The answer to that last question, I am happy to say, is "yes", but alas, what little of the blog survives exists, without images and without comments on posts, in the Internet Wayback Machine.

So long, Kaseido.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bosom Bloggers and the "Modesty Panel"

It turns out that the author of one of the blogs I link to, Thin and Curvy, is among a group of bloggers called "the bosom bloggers". They have a blog, The Bosom Bloggers, and a while back a number of them posted about the topic of modesty under the clever name "the modesty panel". The posts (and the blogs in general!) are well worth your time and very insightful. I will have to think about how I dress in Second Life--do I go overboard in the direction of "modesty"?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A new magazine: BaZoomba

Yesterday I got a notice with an attached magazine: the first issue of BaZoomba. One can infer from the title that this is a magazine featuring well-endowed models. I spent a little time before having to go to work reading it--or at least trying to.

The photography is very good indeed. I'm going to have to give the text another try, though. My aging eyes don't have a good time with the somewhat condensed Times Roman Italic white text on black background, especially with the amount of text on the pages. The initial greetings were larger and easier to read... but they were greatly in need of proofreading. (I can sympathize with that; good proofreading is not an easy task. We humans are forgiving of errors, or perhaps it's just that we zip over text and overlook mistakes, like the infamous "Paris in the the spring" in a triangle.)

Do check it out. I look forward to seeing future issues, and I hope that BaZoomba will set up a web site to make issues available. I am too seldom on SL these days to spend my time in world reading a magazine. (I can't tell someone "please leave me alone, I'm reading a magazine" while in-world; it would make me feel really bad!) Also, on a browser window I can make text big enough to read. (I once made the mistake of making an in-world magazine too big. I had to detach it, unable to get back to the controls; I don't remember whether I was able to shrink it back down.)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Weight

The July Busted is out... and has been for a while, of course. You should read it. Even if you have, somehow, resisted the incredible photography, editorials, and columns, there's an article in the July issue important to all of us who wish to go beyond the limits of the stock avatar bosom: Bellimora's article "The Weight of a Big Bust."

It's weight, Jim, but not as we know it--and we who tend towards the high end of the size spectrum are thankful. The weight in question is that which counts in Second Life: the number of scripts and memory usage. Bellimora has gone to the trouble of determning those values for many of the breast attachments of Second Life. (And prices, too, a good thing to know.) Along with the table of data is a lot of other good information--and it's good to read that her experiences with those who make it possible for us to realize our dreams are consistent with mine; they are good people and willing to help.

I personally am happy to see that my favorites, Foxbean's breasts, have decreased in their "weight" as time has gone on, and that she's working to improve them still further.

Don't miss this issue. (Don't miss any of them, actually; Busted is the premiere magazine for the Second Life busty community.)

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Streaming audio on 64-bit Linux with 32-bit client

OK. You know that I've been urging LL to come out with a 64-bit Linux build for their client/viewer. In the past, I've been able to run the 32-bit client, but streaming media have not worked, and that precludes some of the wonderful things one can do in Second Life.

Today I had the good fortune to talk with Susyn Stenvaag, a wonderful lady--and she mentioned that she had LL's client working, with streaming audio, on 64-bit Ubuntu Linux. She pointed me at a thread in the Second Life forums, "Getting Second Life to run on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64 bit". There you will find the following instructions, which she also gave me, namely to run the following commands from a terminal window:
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-multiarch
sudo apt-get install i386 lib32gcc1
sudo apt-get install libc6-i386
If you have the urge, you can do just one command, namely
sudo apt-get install ia32-libs-multiarch i386 lib32gcc1 libc6-i386
In any case, you will have to have sudo capabilities and enter your password when asked for it at the first (and only, if you choose to do it all at once) command. It will download and install a bunch of files...

...and then you can run the 32-bit client and hear streaming audio!

I would go add a comment to the JIRA entry that asks for a 64-bit client, but it doesn't provide me that option.

In any case, many thanks to ever-gracious Susyn, and to Mark Lock, who posted the commands in the SL forum thread. If. for whatever reason, you prefer to run LL's client rather than a third-party SL viewer, you can now do so on 64-bit Linux without cutting yourself off from the world of SL music.

Busted 3rd Anniversary Issue

Remember how I would periodically write about the new Busted being out, and that it was, despite my thinking it impossible, better than before? Well... my not having written that for a while doesn't mean it hasn't continued to be the case, and the new third anniversary issue takes my breath away.

Amazing photography. Fine articles. It's all there. Go read it.

Hello again, hello...

I've been away, figuratively, rediscovering the joy of programming (and new skills, which are particularly important for a programmer, though I think that's becoming more generally true; the days of spending one's life at one company doing one job are long gone, save, alas, maybe in the government). Having taken that plunge, I think I can proceed with a little less obsession and a little more time for other things, including Second Life. It will be good to be back.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

As smart phones improve...

...surely it will become reasonable (from a technical point of view) to port Second Life to them.

Check this out: "The ZTE Apache could beat Samsung's Galaxy S4 to the title of first eight-core smartphone, according to a report. According to China Times, ZTE is collaborating with MediaTek to release a flagship, octo-core device." Specs for the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are leaking; supposedly it will have three gigabytes of RAM to go with its eight-core processor.

Combine that with the move to [icky portmanteau word alert!] "phablets", smartphones with displays of sizes approaching those of (small) tablets, and you have a device that one would think could run Second Life, if the effort is put into porting it.

I wonder whether anyone will try?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Above or below ground, for a while at least...

In the past I've mentioned that nowadays with alpha-based shoes I seem to hover above the ground or floor--and people have helpfully pointed me at the "avatar offset" knob that many third-party viewers provide to correct that and other similar issues, especially for tiny/giant avatars.

Nalates Urriah writes about how SSA (server-side avatar baking) will stop that from working. The new Firestorm doesn't have that knob--because it won't work on sims with server-side baking.

If these issues concern you, please do read Ms. Urriah's blog post, follow the JIRA entries she mentions, and, if you have the time, attend the Server Beta Meeting she mentions.

Keep DRM out of HTML

W3C, the group that develops web standards, has a plan for "Encrypted Media Extensions" that I hope you will join me in opposing. Please sign the petition in opposition to EME at the Defective by Design web site.

For more information, read the Free Culture Foundation's blog post "Don't let the myths fool you: the W3C's plan for DRM in HTML5 is a betrayal to all Web users."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dipping a toe into Cloud Party

I finally spent a few minutes in Cloud Party yesterday. They moved away from requiring a Facebook login to create a Cloud Party identity, so now, thanks to Google+'s more enlightened policy, there's Melissa Yeuxdoux on Cloud Party. (Now, if Cloud Party would stop nudging me about Facebook each time I sign on...)

I went through the tutorials--zoom back from the wall they ask you to build, to avoid hassle when you extend it one dimension or another--and there I was. (Now, how to delete the wall I built?)

I spent a little time tweaking my avatar--and have downloaded the Avatar Construction Kit. What a difference from Second Life!

Using Second Life height-related sliders is like trying to fly a helicopter. There are multiple controls that interact in perverse ways. Lengthen one part of your body and other parts shrink.

Cloud Party isn't like that. I wouldn't have thought  that the simple act of lengthening my neck and seeing that the sole result was that my neck got longer would give me such a feeling of... OK, I have to use a word that I have come to despise... empowerment, but it did. I have to suspect that one of the design goals for Second Life shape sliders was being difficult to use!

The Avatar Construction Kit requires familiarity with a 3D program like Blender, so it's going to take some time, a resource I don't seem to have much of these days, but eventually, I'll get there.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mont St. Michel

I saw a photo of Mont St. Michel and had to go take a look for myself... and it is indeed a lovely place. It's a Second Life build based on the actual Mont St. Michel, a 100 hectare rocky island just off the northwestern coast of France (this bit of geographical knowledge provided by Google a few minutes ago). I had to take a photo...

...and link to this, as Debussy may have been inspired in part by the church on the island.


UPDATE: ...and to this, as the inspiration is pretty clear for this meditative piece by Mike Oldfield.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Project Materials Viewer

There is an early release Project Materials viewer (i.e. one supporting normal and specular maps) for Second Life. It's not the official release, but something people can use to try the features out.

Normal mapping involves taking information from a high polygon count version of an object and then applying it to a low polygon count version, so that you have the appearance of detail without the overhead.

Specular mapping lets one make things shiny. Without it, the best one can do is to paint on textures that show how an object reflects light for a fixed arrangement of lighting. With it, objects with a specular map reflect the light or lights actually present (if one can say "actually present" about a virtual world!). One has to admire the efforts of SL builders to prepaint highlights on their work, but having them actually generated on the fly helps enormously with verisimilitude, as you can see if you head over to New World Notes for Iris Ophelia's article on the subject with accompanying video and images that I suspect will provoke salivation.

One must note that
  • Existing items won't magically become shiny or more detailed; builders will have to create new things to take advantage of the new features.
  • They don't apply to avatar skins, alas. (Someday, I hope...)
That said, I am very happy to see the progress being made. Thank you to everyone working on Project Materials, and to Ms. Ophelia for writing about it!

P.S. Normal mapping will make gratuitously high-polygon mesh items even less desirable, because one can achieve the look at a much lower overhead.

P.P.S. Aliasi Stonebender points out in the comments on the NWN post that while stock avatar skins won't (at least initially) be affected by normal and specular mapping, mesh avatars with normal and specular maps probably will be. I wonder whether this will affect the adoption of mesh avatars?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Even if you don't build... an informed consumer. You'll be better off for it, and so will Second Life.

Read the "Topology - the often neglected entity" thread in the SL Mesh forum. It describes the process builders go through to make efficient meshes that work well with animations. Codewarrior Congrejo does an excellent job of explanation, with illustrative examples and images. Note especially this point: just having tons of polygons does not make a garment high quality--in particular, it doesn't mean that a garment will track well as your avatar bends or moves its limbs.

If you are into digital photography, you may have read about the "megapixel race" and how megapixels aren't the sole measure of quality of a camera. In the very same way, and also just as it doesn't make sense to always use high-resolution textures (you've read Penny Patton's article on how huge textures applied to tiny objects needlessly make frame rates plummet, I hope), polygon count isn't the sole measure of quality for a mesh. Over in the JIRA entry for the mesh deformer, people have expressed concern about the issue, vide this from a comment there by Jesseaitui Petion:
I'd like to respond to a comment made a few times here already, about designers making high poly content because they are "inexperienced". That's often not the case at all. Many designers are purposely manipulating their content to appeal to the "inexperienced" consumers. Consumers don't understand "high" and "low poly" in the way you and I might. Many consumers won't touch a low poly model with a 10 ft pole because it looks subpar to high poly models (I'm referring to the clothing market here). Consumers don't understand that these models may lag them. What we see as "unneccesarily high poly", they see as "this content came from a skilled and advanced designer." What we may see as "good modeling, low poly" they see as "jagged outdated content from a subpar designer." One makes you money, the other doesn't...ultimately the fashion crowd will create what sells. On the other hand, there definitely are people who've no idea what they are doing and subdivide the mesh over and over when no change in appearance even occurs. But just know that a lot of the top designers in sl are high polyin' it on purpose, knowing full well what they are doing.
Please, be an informed consumer. Ask sellers how well optimized their mesh products are. Ask reviewers to provide the information that will let you decide--including photos of the model not just in graceful runway poses, but also in poses that show how items work when the body parts they cover move or bend.

UPDATE: I asked over in the SL Mesh Forum how one can be an informed consumer, and Codewarrior Congrejo kindly responded, suggesting the following (I summarize):

  • Wireframe (ctrl-alt-R toggles it) is your friend. Get demos if they're offered, wear them, and turn on wireframe. Then you can see whether an object is built efficiently.
  • Performance tools show useful information.
  • Develop > Show Info > Show Render Info (toggle) will show triangle count ("tris").
  • Read reviews.
  • Read store ads; some brag about their wares' high polygon counts.
Follow the link and read it straight from Codewarrior, who is a far better explainer than I am.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

High FIdelity

....If you want to get the crowds to come around, you've gotta have glorious Technicolor, breathtaking Cinemascope and stereophonic sound. -- "Stereophonic Sound", from Silk Stockings
Hamlet has written about Philip Rosedale's High Fidelity project in NWN. It will involve, at least in part, a "next-generation virtual reality system" and may be based on voxel-based rendering (a voxel is a 3D pixel).

I hope it happens. The Second Life client has the new CHUI user interface changes (which enough people don't like that I've seen posts about turning off client upgrades so that they can avoid it), but the mesh deformer sits, completed, awaiting release. Normal/specular mapping are, Nalates Urriah reports, somehow both "arriv[ing] soon" and "still a ways off", sort of like Schrödinger's Cat. It makes me wonder how much effort is actually being put into improving Second Life (vide "Linden Lab Leaving Second Life Behind, Announces 'Patterns'" and "Linden Lab Strikes Again").

That said, any system ossifies with time. People don't like changes that break existing items that they spend L$ on, even if they are beneficial as a whole. (How many now-useless shoes with invisiprims do you have?)

I fear that serious improvements in virtual worlds will come from places other than Linden Lab, and outside of Second Life. I hope that either I'm wrong, or that High Fidelity will let us do what we do in Second Life, only more efficiently and more beautifully, so that we can continue to have, to borrow a phrase, an engine fit for our proceeding.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Big Texture in Little China

OK, actually it's a wooden cup, but it's the principle (and a chance to allude to a wonderful movie).

Penny Patton does the detective work to find out why a newly-rebuilt Milk & Cream had one spot where frame rates plummeted. Read about it, and her suggestions about how to motivate builders to avoid the problem, in her post "Why Second Life Fails".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lolas store moves

I was reading the interesting and very long-lived thread "Where Did You Get Those Boobs?" on SLUniverse and noticed something that Lolas fans and those considering Lolas will want to know (and many thanks to Marianne Little for posting it): the Lolas shop has moved. It's now on Lolas/193/225/47, and with the sim actually named Lolas, I suspect that's a long-term move, and I will definitely go looking to see what else might be there. More news as it happens.

UPDATE: So far, there's just the Lolas store and some lovely surroundings, including some hills and a nice beach...not that there's anything wrong with having a well-designed store in a beautiful setting! Do take a look.

Tacky stuff for SL... does it already exist?

I was chatting with Milky Atlas this morning, and couldn't help thinking of some very silly stuff to let Second Life imitate, um, art:
  • an SL "smartphone" with something looking like a lens and a light, with accompanying gesture so you can take fake mirror self-portraits. (The light's there because you may need a flash, after all...)
  • A "duck face" animation.
Now, the question is, has someone already come out with these?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A group and blog for Tango fans

If you wish to follow the proliferation of Tango-only clothing, there's a Second Life group and associated blog that will be of interest to you: the Tango Clothing Group. Here's a link to the blog: Tango Clothing Group.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Rebirth of the Cool

Finally. Today I had time to seriously clean my computer, paying special attention to heat sink fans and fins.

Results: wonderful! I spent a whole hour and a half in world with nary a beep. I heard a slight noise from the graphics card fan when I first powered up again that makes me worry a bit, but the noise seems to have gone away. (I'll ask the card maker about a replacement fan in any case.)

Now for a plea that I expect will do no good. (Like I expect motherboard, heat sink, CPU, and graphics card makers to read this blog...)

For heaven's sake, all you above-mentioned people, please hurry up and adopt the Sandia Cooler. It's
  • ten times smaller than current coolers
  • very quiet
  • immune to dust fouling!
OK... I feel better now, both for having written that and having corrected the problem I was having. I'll be in-world more often now. I've missed you.

Something else to do for St. Patrick's Day

It's Saint Patrick's Day. In America, alas, it seems to be a day for stupid people to drink insane quantities of beer that's been dyed green. (In Chicago, the Chicago River is dyed green, but I once saw it on another day, and it was still green--just a different shade.) In a bizarre promotional campaign, Arby's is tying a bogo offer for its Reuben sandwich (whose invention is attributed either to a Lithuanian or a German) to Saint Patrick's Day. (?!)

This Saint Patrick's Day, though, you can do something a bit different. Trinity College Dublin has made the Book of Kells viewable at no cost in its entirety online. If you aren't familiar with the Book of Kells, suffice it to say that it's one of Ireland's, and the world's, art treasures, an amazing work of calligraphy and illumination. I'd include an image here, but trust me, you want to see it on the web site where Trinity College Library has made it available. Images I could put here wouldn't do it justice.

I will, though, share a wonderful song by the highly talented Susan McKeown. (Unlike a certain other song, this one actually is an Irish lullaby.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The sad part

I fell for the begging scam, aka the "flatterbot", a few months ago. Alas, I was caught before I entered a store in which a very helpful person was pointing out what was going on, and I have to admit I should have noticed some things that didn't quite add up.

So... I lost a few L$, but now I see I've lost something else.

In today's email came this:
Hi there, my name's [redacted] and I stumbled upon your vida segunda blog one day recently... I like it, especially the pictures you've taken. I'd really love to get into second life, but I've always been afraid I'll get addicted to it! But your pictures and your accounts of your experiences make me want to jump in too, haha. So I just wanted to say hi and that I enjoy your blog, and... Maybe if I join SL one day, it would be nice to chat with you :) thanks for providing some inspiration, ~[redacted]
Now I can't help wondering--is this flatterbot v2.0?

UPDATE: Yes... that's the real loss. Being burned once poisons future possible interactions, and I fear that my having written about it has done just that, though it was not my intent. Darn it.

Hoping to be back soon

Events have conspired to keep me away from the grid in large part.
  • Remember "The Melissa Yeuxdoux Chair of Second Life"? That unfortunate episode has replayed, save that I didn't have time to seek out alternatives, but instead wobbled atop a failing chair until I could get a replacement. It didn't give me much motivation to use my main computer.
  • Lately my computer of choice for SL has, I think, developed heating issues. At first, landing in a new spot caused beeps that eventually went away after a while--perhaps after all the new textures and such from the new sim were loaded? Now, I arrive at Whimsy and in a few seconds the beeps start.
Now that I can sit at the computer desk without feeling at risk, I can open the case and do some serious cleaning and inspection. I hope that I will be back in SL soon. (I'm way overdue for a "price an inexpensive SL computer" article.)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Must-read from Whimsy's Closet

"Aphrodites vs. Vstrings vs. Tangos: the New Queens of Prim Breasts?" is a great article comparing (and contrasting, as my English teacher would say) the three breast attachments of the title. It's informative and thorough, and the nice part is that Ms. Melgund doesn't have a horse in that race; she supports them all and has no ax to grind, though at the end she does get up on the soapbox about the issues of adapting clothing to breast attachments. It's not trivial, she convincingly argues, UV map compatibility or no. Please do give it a look.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Improvise, Adapt Part 3: Now to get clothiers to adopt it...

Wonderful news from eCorp in a notice today from Emeline Magic: she has come out with version 1.0 of universal appliers.

(I am not sure quite how that would work; would one have to come out with a new version for new breast attachments? Is there some standard way that prim breasts identify themselves, say, the way USB devices or monitors announce themselves and their parameters?)

I urge clothiers to get it touch with Ms. Magic; it would be a way to greatly expand your market. Thank you, Ms. Magic.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Improvise, Adapt Part 3... and Thank You, Whimsy's Closet

Woo-hoo! Emeline Magic of eCorp sent out the following notice:
Hello,I've started a grid-wide update of eBoobs v1.3.This version add compatibility with Tango's cloth system.Happy new year ;)Kisses
So... a third breast attachment maker is adding compatibility with Tango appliers. I'm hoping the trend continues...

But even more than that, I wish to express my appreciation to Whimsy Warrhol and Cindy Melgund of Whimsy's Closet. Head over to Maggie's blog (and if you don't subscribe to her RSS feed, you should. If you want to follow the SL busty community, that's as good as it gets) and read "A Note from Whimsy's Closet". Note in particular how Whimsy's Closet isn't just committed to supporting the major breast attachments, but goes to the effort of doing as well by each brand as possible. Now that's service.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More than tier...

Botgirl Questi posts a pointed reminder that when it comes to SL survival, tier pales in comparison with the minimal retention rate. Watch the videos and compare, or as my English teachers would say, compare and contrast.

UPDATE: Must-read: Honour McMillan's blog post "The Serpent in the Second Life Paradise". Must-watch: the first show of the new season of Designing Worlds, viewable on the Prim Perfect blog. Perhaps this is one reason newcomers to SL don't stay:
Imagine newbies being taken by the hand and given skins/hair/clothing by a “nice” older resident. Imagine that they are then informed they “owe” this person and have to work it off. Sound familiar? Immigrants being forced to work off a “debt” is not just a real world problem.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Improvise, Adapt part 2

For those of you who own both Tiny Things' Magnus Ubera breasts and Lolas! Tango breasts, Eira Kalil has posted a method by which you can use Tango appliers with Magnus Ubera breasts. I believe this is intended as a purely temporary fix, and I hope that before long there Ms. Kalil will adapt Magnus Uberas (or is that Magnae Uberae?) to let Tango appliers work with them as has been done for Lush breasts.

UPDATE: excellent news! "Goodbye Limitations. Welcome Tiny Things Translators."

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Map is Not the Territory...

...but it can come pretty close with a good cartographer and good data.

In particular, one advantage cited for Lolas! new Tango mesh breasts is that their UV map matches that of the stock Second Life avatar.

(No need for sunscreen; the UV map is the computer graphics version of a problem man has faced since the great Age of Exploration: how to accurately represent a three-dimensional shape (the round earth) on a flat sheet of paper (a map)? Here we aren't talking the great globe itself, but instead breasts, and having a consistent UV map makes life easier for clothes makers.)

Reading that in a comment in "The Explosion of Breast Implant Fashion in Second Life" (on Soul Train's SL and MMO Blog, and thanks to the ever au courant Maggie Bluxome for mentioning it on her blog) made me start rummaging through my inventory. I knew I'd read that before...

...and I had.

In particular, at Rygel and Lustbaby's Workshop web site, on the page describing Pixel's Paraboobs:
Pixel's Paraboobs are different because they were carefully modeled and UV mapped to match up with the default SL Avatar. This means that skin and clothing creators can make a single design for regular outfits/skins and those same textures will work on the Paraboobs. This saves a lot of time in the creation process and it also allows designers to make things for regular users and Paraboob owners all at once! This also means that it might be possible to get your favorite fashion and/or skin designer to take 90 seconds and create an "applier" for you.
Note the date at the top of the page: January 24, 2012.

I'm extremely happy that many clothiers have taken an interest in Tango--I just hope that interest spreads to other breast attachments as well--but I do wonder: why not a year ago?

Thursday, January 10, 2013


So... I did take the L$1750 plunge and buy some Lolas! Tango breast attachments. I also bought a set of Lush breasts, the ones that can be used with Tango appliers.

They look very nice, but they're not for me. I can't make them as large as I'd like. They're shaped appropriately for being supported by one's torso, but too big and they look like they're suspended by a force field. Over and above that, at large sizes you find them transparent from behind. Of course, that is because you're seeing a portion of them that you shouldn't see, a portion that is hidden from view by your torso at smaller sizes.

I will experiment some more with them; I'd especially like to see whether anyone's made a Tango applier for a T-shirt with art or text on the front. I want to see how that works with Tango breast attachments.

In summary, though--if you are happy with the range of sizes that they support, they are a fine choice. If you, as Billy Joel sang, "go to extremes", you won't be happy with them.

Monday, January 07, 2013


Bewbapalooza 2.0 is underway, and it's well worth a visit. I found a wonderful dress from Renee India:

and ellemeno's beautiful ruched gowns

(also check out Ximena McAndrews's blog). These are just two of the lovely outfits to be found there.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Compensating Disproportions

Second Life avatars tend to be very tall compared with real life, as many have pointed out. The average height of American women is 5'4" (that's 1.63 meters for you folks with a rational system of measurements), but despite the trend for more realistic avatar heights, I believe you'll find most women in SL are taller than that.

I like that trend, by the way--not because I want "height police", in either direction, but because, given the limits on avatar height, I can't be tall if everyone is tall. So please, if you don't want to be tall, don't be! :)

One problem with being tall is the limit on arm length. That gives rise to what people call "T. rex" avatars, avatars with disproportionately short arms. It occurred to me that one aspect of my disproportion saves me, at least a little, from another.

You see, I don't just want to be freakishly tall; I want to be freakishly leggy. Svetlana Pankratova and Iwona Syhre are among my role models. (Can I realize my dreams with a mesh avatar? Height, yes; legginess, I'm less sure of.)

So, when I set out to adjust my shape, I had an eye to maximizing leg length, and it turns out that doing so requires cranking down torso length. I wish it weren't so, but... it makes my arms look less disproportionately short, because they extend further past my shortened torso and down my lengthened legs. Alas, despite being cranked to 100, they really are too short--boxing with God is still out of the question--but it's not as obvious. Until that mythical day when Linden Lab improves the avatar, I can get by.

Improvise, Adapt...

I noticed some good news in a blog that is new to me, Big Boobie Babes: "Fantastic News From Lush Boobs". The maker of Lush breast attachments has made it possible for them to use appliers made for Lolas! Tango mesh breast attachments.

In view of the recent interest in Tangos, I'd say that's a wise move, and I hope other breast makers will take notice.

(BTW... I would love to see and try out a set of Lush breast attachments, but I can't find a vendor or store to save my (second) life. I saw a blog entry with a link to SL marketplace, but when I clicked on it, I just went to the Marketplace home page. If you could send me a landmark, I'd be greatly in your debt!)

UPDATE: Many thanks to Eira Kalil for the pointer (see comments); the page gives a link to the in-world store where one can find a demo. The next time you see me, I may be kicking myself for not having noticed the as-vigilant-as-she-is-beautiful-and-talented Maggie Bluxome's report on Lush breasts.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A new year arrives

2013 has arrived, and with luck and work things will be better. Second Life at least holds promise of some wonderful new capabilities, such as the mesh deformer and normal and specular maps, and closer to home, Lolas has made a breakthrough with their new Tango mesh breasts, gaining the respectful attention of mainstream SL for the first time.

Alas, we are not all here to see it. I hope that at some point during your celebration of the start of the new year you raised your glass in the traditional toast "To absent friends".

I wish you all prosperity and happiness in 2013.