Saturday, September 25, 2010

SL Fiction: The MARM Mind-Mapping Software

News Journal: The advances in what is now commonly referred to as “mind mapping,” via the science of Neuroinformatics, has finally bridged the divide between human brain memory, processes and analytical thinking and thetechnology utilized to structure and operate virtual and augmented realities. The first consumer driven application, M.A.R.M., despite the surrounding ethical controversy, has been nothing short of a cataclysmic event in the evolution of the human brain and its fusion with today’s technology.

LL, the pioneer in this... newly christened M.A.R.M. technology, has been beta testing the software and equipment for nearly 2 years. While all publically released findings of the clinical trials demonstrate the technology as being “safe” for the general population, the emotional impact and experiences being reported by some of its users appears to have been grossly underestimated, and the duration of the emotional side effects, misjudged. Sales of the units were recently halted due to reports from across the county of users experiencing anxiety disorders, generalized depression and conditions replicating PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). These reports notwithstanding, demand for the units continues to grow almost exponentially, with backorders in the tens of thousands.

The most recent and tragic incident involved Seattle, WA resident, Nora Taylor, a 38 year old mother of three, who after completing the 24-hour mind mapping base-line process, began to utilize the M.A.R.M. device to recreate her childhood environments, friends and family. These simulations being made possible by importing the memory data mined, cataloged and translated into readable code into the SL data base, where a personalized region was then created based on these inputs.

The ensuing 36 hours for Nora Taylor can only be described as heartrending, as she rekindled old friendships, and reunited with relatives long since deceased, “losing herself,” as described by her husband, Jeff Taylor, “within the virtual recreation of her past life.” Upon returning from a business trip, finding their children uncared for and unfed, and his wife in a coma-like nirvana, Jeff promptly phoned 911 for emergency assistance. While the children have since fully recovered, sadly Nora Taylor died 2 days later while suffering from psychiatrically-induced catatonia.

Dr. Alred Russo with the National Institute of Mental Health, NIHM, stated that in extreme cases, involving already unstable, highly emotional or hypersensitive individuals, a real danger may in fact exist. “The virtual recreation of past real-life environments, and the sight of highly detailed recreations (avatars) of friends and family created via the improved 3-D imagery of SL, can be overpoweringly real, particularly when combined with the strength of real life memories and emotions.” He goes on, “The users’ brain can become so overwhelmed with sensory and emotional stimuli, that this virtual world and real life can become indistinguishable.”

Sales of M.A.R.M. products are expected to resume by next week – albeit with revised warnings and cautions. M.A.R.M. software and hardware may be purchased directly from LL, the official vendor of the M.A.R.M. Experience © in SL.

Latest version of Mind Mapping Hardware, M.A.R.M. ©

FoxM Ember
Originally posted in SL Newspaper

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Not-So Peachy Mess over Xanadu

I recently heard about a mess involving a couple places I did articles on when I worked for Second Life Newspaper last year. Flashdust Lamington, the head of Peach Fuzz Studios, had made a lengthy rant on the Peach Fuzz forum that had gotten quite a bit of attention, several residents in SL bringing it to my attention. Flashdust was going on the attack on two people he accused of ripping him off, Cindy Babii of ZZ Studios, and RECoyote Mindes whom had once co-owned a club styled after the one in the movie Xanadu, which he called “Perri’s Xanadu,” after his partner and other co-owner of the place.

To begin with, I first heard of Peach Fuzz in Fall 2009 when I saw an ad for it placed at Club Cutlass. One of the avatars in the linked Youtube looked like the “Zig Zag” avatar someone wore, not long earlier making a single appearance at Cutlass. Someone, either the person in the avatar or someone else, talked about it part of a new adult films production in Second Life. Whether or not the name “Peach Fuzz” was used, I don’t know.

About this time, I was approached by someone else who frequented Cutlass, RECoyote Mindes. He wanted a mention of his partner’s science-fiction/fantasy writings, Spectral Shadows, in Second Life Newspaper. I explained that we could, but we’d prefer if it was combined with something they did in Second Life.

And so, we did an advertorial of Perri and REC’s Xanadu club. REC and Perri mentioned Peach Fuzz at one point:

Perri and RECoyote told of another club Xanadu, but with a much different atmosphere than theirs. “Some of our old employees were also with a group called Peach Fuzz that makes SL videos” Perri explained, “They liked the idea of building a more close to the movie Xanadu as a set for their films. We helped them find the building on SLX, and they built a true replica of the movie disco.” RECoyote explained this other Xanadu was more detailed, “but they are thinking of the free yiff of the 70s, not the love of music that the movie did.” Perri explained, “Peach Fuzz is pretty much an X-rated business, and strictly Furry. Our Xanadu is PG and created with the general Second Life population in mind.”

I had seen the Peach Fuzz Xanadu only twice. Once when the place was alone, and another about the time I was writing the advertorial when he sent me a TP to there. He and Perri were there, along with a few avs whom I assumed were regulars. The two clubs did seem to have much the same building structure with some changes here and there. The few others there seemed a bit flirty with one another, which did seem to suggest a friskier audience than Perri’s Xanadu.

With the advertorial done, all seemed well. A little publicity for a nice little club and a writer, and a little cash for Second Life Newspaper, which had not recovered from the financial hit from the collapse of one of it’s main sponsors. REC and Perri and I became friends. Then the paper got an email from Flashdust Lamington, the head of Peach Fuzz. He complained that REC and Perri were not telling the truth, that they were ripping him off and that Peach Fuzz had absolutely no connection with them. We discussed what to do, the advert taken down for a couple days. I suggested putting it back up, but with the part Flashdust complained about edited.

But the point seemed to be moot. Not long afterwards, Perri’s Xanadu shut it’s doors. This was not a big surprise, the crowds had been small and its main audience from the Sunweaver Estate had a number of clubs to chose from. But I liked the place with it’s ‘70s music. Not too many places specializing in that. It was sad to see it go. Maybe if he had more funds available for advertising, they could have gotten a larger audience. Having to put a dream aside, even a small one, is not a pleasant experience, so I didn’t pry into why they closed it.

Months went by, and the issue was forgotten. Then in May 2010, I was contacted again by Flashdust Lamington. He had found out about the article on ZZ Studios, and complained, saying the article was not true. I met up briefly with him and his partner Opius Oddfellow, discussed a few things, including the possibility of an advertorial. I had no intention of making an attack ad, especially on a place liked by some of the people I knew. But I had given their competitor some publicity, so maybe I should offer them a chance to have their say.

When we met again a few weeks later, Second Life Newspaper had closed down, and I had only recently started up Second Life Newser. I was still feeling a bit uncertain about my paper’s future as Flashdust, Opius, and their secretary dropped in. Flashdust seemed most concerned with what he told were vicious rumors being spread about him, and that I was more than willing to give him a chance to answer.

But he also had the desire to bring up a couple people and places. One was Cindy Babii and ZZ Studios. The other was RECoyote and Perri’s Xanadu. He wanted it heard that his club had absolutely nothing to do with Perri’s Xanadu, whether it was still open or not. He claimed to have gotten the plans for the Pan Pacific Auditorium by contacting CBS and Peach Fuzz created it’s Xanadu club, and separate WKRP adult area on their own.

Peach Fuzz’s Xanadu was packed away, he told me, as they wanted to concentrate on making their big film. He also told me REC had made a post on his Furaffinity page about it. He didn’t see it as simply trying to attract an audience that was too modest to go to a place owned by an adult entertainment company, but an effort to steal customers. He also was less than thrilled to see the article about Perri Xanadu’s closing, thinking people might confuse the two.

I told him I had a problem with writing what he wanted about him for two reasons. One was that I knew Rec. Two, I also thought going into attack mode over this would accomplish nothing but make him look bad. I suggested he simply say he had no relation with any other “Club Xanadu,” but he just told me he’d drop the matter. We talked more, I told him I’d write something up on the rumors soon, and we parted on a cordial note.

We emailed each other a couple times, Flashdust saying he was getting ready for a con. And then no more messages from him. With some big news hitting Second Life at the time, the layoffs of numbers of Lindens, Philip Linden’s return as CEO, Second Life’s Seventh Birthday, etc, I was busy with this influx of news stories. In July, I finally emailed him again. He gave a brief response, saying he’d get with me soon about what to write.

Then in August, a couple friends alerted me to the Peach Fuzz forum, in the words of one, “Hey Bix, somebody’s pissed off at you.” She sent me a link to a post, “Yup! It’s time to clear things up.” Flashdust gave his own rendition of events concerning both his competitor Cindy Babii and ZZ Studios and RECoyote Mindes and Perri’s Xanadu. Flashdust basically called REC a thief whom was trying to piggyback on his success, and complained about it getting publicity in Second Life Newspaper, “Seriously, I’m gonna give those guys SUCH a pinch!” ... “... THE NERVE”

But the worst was yet to come. One of the friends who alerted me to this mess told me about a talk with Nydia Tungsten in which one of her “Angels” group, Jian Alcott, had been harassed by someone from Peach Fuzz. I soon went to Nydia, who told me what happened, “Flashdust is an ass. He had one of his goons or an alt come to Xanadu and try to intimidate Jian. ... Flash dust's crony came in telling Jian how she is going to be sued RL and lose everything, yadda yadda, because she was working for this Xanadu when the real one was going to open AFTER he offers her a job to work for them. ... stalked her. They knew she wasn't high in the chain there and waited until she was alone.”

“Blast him, bring out this smear campaign he has been pulling.”

Talking to RECoyote, he passed me a couple notecards of what happened, the person approaching Jian claiming to be a private investigator, “yep i was watching 4 u.” When RECoyote confronted the person, the “private investigator” claimed that Flash was the only one who could own a Xanadu club, “he has that name copyrighted and u stole his building.” I later talked to Jian, whom confirmed the story, though felt the one who was really harassed was Rec, “Rec didn't deserve any of what he got from those creeps.”

Talking to Ranchan Weidman, she told me, “Rec had been planning a club called ‘Xanadu’ a long time ago, ever since I had Afterburner on the Pacific Waters sim before it turned to a homestead sim. Rec was the one that brought the intan couples dance balls to my attention as well. And Rec had his club open way before even the first announcement of the (Peach Fuzz) Xanadu that, for records sake, was getting a free ride on rent, up in what was Cape Suzette.”

It’s one thing to make angry rants in an Internet forum. Going on Second Life and waiting until someone is alone and then harassing them is something else. Why stoop to this bullying? No one owns the exclusive rights to Xanadu on Second Life (or the new Pan Pacific Auditorium building that recently opened).

Exactly why Flashdust escalated his rivalry with Perri’s Xanadu like this, I don’t know. It may have helped him in the short run by driving a competitor to shut down. But surely he must have realized sooner or later word would leak out and be heard by others, including people working for him, including two certain artists?

As for Peach Fuzz and ZZ Studios, that is another story, one of which I’d prefer to talk to a couple people before writing about that.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, September 17, 2010

SL Poetry: Revelations

I know now clearly

the difference between sex
and love

Souls rediscovering each other
the other half to our own
hearts beating together
arms and bodies embracing
like two perfectly carved puzzle pieces
made to interlock
designed to complete one whole

I am at a loss to describe perfection;
it is unfamiliar to me.

and as the reconnection moves forward
our love continues to grow and blossom
our hearts grin wider and wider
and our souls smile their wisdom...
they know they are home.

Shellie Sands

Friday, September 3, 2010

SL Poetry - Pandora's Box

One has to wonder
why certain events unfold
at the time points in our lives
that they do.

A chance encounter online
opened an unexpected
Pandora's Box,
erasing away years of time

This Pandora's Box released
great joy, love and passion,
comfort and trust
the likes of which had not previously come to pass .

You came and breathed new life into me
at a time when I thought
there was nothing left to inhale.

Stunned by our reaction to each other,
thinking about what we might have had,
could have been...
but it was not our time.
We moved on through our separate lives
almost not remembering,
yet never completely forgetting

Fate, however, has chosen our time
quite mysteriously.
The obstacles seem insurmountable,
the terrain rugged and unexplored.

Patience and determination,
love and trust
These must be our guides
if we are to arrive at the place
that fate has chosen for us.
The journey begins...

Shellie Sands

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reader Submitted: Review of SL 3rd Party Viewers

Emeraldgate and the latest LL 2.0 viewer issues with rendering has caused me to search for new viewers to use. I looked among Second Life's third party viewers, located in their directory at to seek out a potential quality viewers. to seek out a potential quality viewers. The list is vast but I wanted a one that was graphical for the average computer user, so that left me with Imprudence, Snowglobe and Kirsten's.

From the regular user's perspective, Emerald is the favorite and is still used by some. But from those in the know, its dead for many reasons. And so the search continues in finding a similar quality viewer that may measure up. The latest news is that the Emerald team claims to have updated their viewer, but it is still not in compliance, nor approved by Linden Labs as of yet. There are avatars walking around Second Life with only their prims visible and no body texture. It's a well known texture glitch with Emerald and LL Viewer 2.0, that has contributed to this quest.

In reviewing the third party viewers last week, I could only log into two. The first viewer I tested was Imprudence, which was updated in June 2010. The developers web site can be found here at

I installed and logged on Imprudence (Blog: and found it to be okay, but it reminded me so much of Second Life's original viewer in speed and GUI with no extra features. I've always tolerated Linden Lab viewers but never really liked them. Rendering was not fast, and sometimes slow, I found it to be average and not up to my standards of rendering or features. Viewer features are listed here: . I most likely will not continue to use Imprudence.

I then downloaded and tried to use Kirsten's Viewer but due to my 'average' computer specs (I'm actually a web developer and my comp is built for graphics & coding), I could not even log on to this viewer to review it. Kirsten's viewer is an alternative comparable to Linden Lab's viewer 2.0. and made for advanced users. I'm technically inclined but got no where with this viewer. :(

Kirsten's site is located at: - It's a hybrid viewer based on a mixture of snowglobe and render-pipeline aimed specifically at high end users, film makers and photography. "It has a custom graphical interface and makes use of selective patches , shadows and advanced lighting, Post-processing and other elements for the more technically minded and creative individual." I guess, I won't be using Kirsten's viewer.

I then installed the Snowglobe viewer, which is a project of Linden Labs and open source developers. Here's the wiki page:

I was very impressed with its super fast rendering, even faster than Emerald. The graphics quality on both an XP Operating system, Vista and win 7 is unsurpassed. It never crashed on me, and yet I jumped from sim to sim with no render issues or anything else. Its features are average, but the quality in itself makes me really like this one. I think I'll stick with Snowglobe until I find something better.

On August 16, 2010 Linden Labs announced on their blog that they are working on a new development project called 'Snowstorm', a new viewer that will import desirable patches and features from Snowglobe and other Third Party Viewers.

Read more from the blog Here.

SamanthaS Nightfire