Friday, December 26, 2014

“What Is Christmas Really About?”

By Locke Esgal

    The holidays are here again, and I just wanted to say a little something about them.

See, a lot of people ask “What is Christmas really about?” Now, this might seem like a cheesy line that's been repeated throughout every Christmas movie ever...It's about spending time with your loved ones. I've seen people argue that it's about the gifts, both giving and receiving. I've even seen some who firmly believe things such as not being able to celebrate the holidays unless you are a die-hard religious person.

    See, I firmly believe that all of that is secondary to the true purpose of the season, Family and friends. Companionship and camaraderie. Grab yourselves a cup of nog, or even hot cocoa, throw on a sappy holiday movie and plot your group's collective fannies on the couch and enjoy the time you've got before school or work picks back up and you all end up busy again! Heck, if everyone's busy anyway, just send them some a bit of cheer. A text, a phone call, or even popping in for a cup of coffee. You never know, you might just make someone's holiday a little bit brighter.

    Celebrating on the Grid? Why not find a holiday sim to visit with friends! Or, grab an in world TV and snuggle up with your loved ones and watch some holiday movies. So long as you enjoy the season with those you care about, it doesn't matter where or how you celebrate it. Plus, you can find yourself some holiday themed avis, or just a really ugly mesh sweater!

    Not in the mood yourself? As a former professionally trained humbug, I can relate. It took me a while to learn this lesson, but I found the holiday stress practically melting away when I realized that the only things that truly matter this time of year is friends, family and maybe that cocoa. Just look for the bright spots and hold them as tight as you can. The bad stuff will pass eventually, just you wait.

    So, just remember, celebrate these holidays with your loved ones and make them as merry as you can. Don't let the bad stuff get you down and, from the bottom of my heart, have ...

Happy Holidays.

Locke Esgal

Monday, December 15, 2014

Virtual Horseback Riding

By Wesley Regenbogen

A few days ago Hope Driftwood taught me how to ride my virtual horse Silver Fire for the first time. I must admit it was quite an experience ! How I rode my virtual horse, I will explain you later in this article. Let me first show you the stats of my virtual horse Silver Fire first ( at the moment of writing, it might be changed after it ) :
Silver Fire
Version 5.0
Age 24
Gender male
Nourishment 1%
Energy 77%
Happiness 92%
Fervor 100%
Coat: Silver Mecklenburger
Eye: Fire Element
Mane: Long
Tail: Long
Coat Gleam High
Hair Gleam High
Coat Luster Low
Coat Gloom
Hair Gloom
Coat Opal
Hair Opal
Hoof Kiwi
Ear Style Half Droop Left
Wing: Wild Turkey
These stats look very good, right ? I thought so as well. I hope Silver Fire stays that way.
How to ride a virtual horse in Second Life :
First you need to take the horse into your inventory, so if you are at the horse box, you need to click your virtual horse and then choose “Take” in the menu that appears. Once it’s in your inventory you will need to rezz it somewhere before you can ride it. If it’s rezzed out, you will need to ride it, but that’s easy enough.
You need to click the virtual horse and “Add” it to your avatar, DON’T “Wear” it, because that will NOT work. Once you “Added” your virtual horse you will see your avatar sitting on the virtual horse.
Moving your virtual horse around is as easy as moving your avatar around, with the plain ol’ arrow keys on your keyboard, not the ones on your number pad, though. If you would like to go forward, you will need to tap the “up” key on the keyboard. If you want to gallop, double tap the “up” key and keep it pressed. You will hear the sound of a horse going into gallop.
In my personal opinion, I find that it’s not hard at all to ride a virtual horse. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy, trust me. If you ever buy a virtual horse and it’s over age 9, you can ride it.
If you have questions about getting, managing or riding a virtual horse, you can contact Hope Driftwood and ask her about it.
Conclusion :
Riding virtual horses isn’t that hard to learn and once you get the hang of it, it’s quite awesome. It’s like with everything in Second Life, the first time you need to adjust a bit to the new things. At first I thought, ”It's going to be difficult to ride my virtual horse”. But Hope Driftwood guided me step-by-step and afterwards, I though “Well, that wasn’t difficult at all”.
So, you see, it’s not hard at all. If you get yourself a virtual horse, follow the instructions above ( if it’s the same with the virtual horse you bought, of course ) and then you are on your way in no time.
So, happy virtual horseback riding !
Wesley Regenbogen

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Man On The Street" Responses to the Furry Convention Gas Leak

By Locke Esgal

Earlier this week, we here at the Newser found a terrible bit of news passed across our desks. A chlorine gas attack was launched against the Midwest Furfest convention, injuring 19 people and endangering hundreds more. Police on the scene believe that this was an intentional act, while some believe that this was deliberately to target furries, considering the 'hatedom' that the furry fandom has. This has even begun to fuel the belief that other fandoms with a notable hater followings. I've traveled around the grid to find some views on the matter. Several answered, but most asked to remain anonymous. One stallion had said when I asked for his comments. “Furries don't bother anyone. They mostly keep to themselves and don't go shoving it down people's throats.”

     While some believe we might see a trend in vicious attacks against fandoms, many believe that this is going to be a one time event. Thing, both a brony and a furry, said, “It's a pretty nasty thing to do, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it was anything serious. It sounds to me like a couple of guys wanted to be a smarmy and chose a really dumb, potentially harmful way of going about it.” The weapon of choice, chlorine gas, has a history of being used as a chemical weapon, but has notably less lethality then other home-made options. Despite this, it can still be very deadly if deployed correctly. Fortunately, this didn't end up being the case at Furfest.

    Many questions still remain unanswered. While there are a lot of theories, the most prevalent being that this was fueled by the hatred some hold for the fandom, there are still other possibilities. One interviewee said “Perhaps there were people against the convention itself, but let's not forget that some people like to get revenge against another.” Regardless of the motivations behind this attack, nineteen victims were hospitalized from this cruel act. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, and we here at the Newser wish them a speedy recovery.

Locke Esgal

Friday, November 28, 2014

Virtual Ability: Accessibility For the Disabled

By Wesley Regenbogen

We sometimes don’t realize it, but there are people with disabilities in real life. They have a presence with Second Life as well. With that said, this means that over 15%, but closer to 20 % of the Second Life residents have a disability in real life. This means that 1 out of 5 avatars you encounter in Second Life has a disability in real life. That’s no small number. There are places to visit for Second Life residents with disabilities, such as Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas. But one special place for them in Second Life is Virtual Ability Island.
Virtual Ability Island was made by Gentle Heron and two friends of hers. But there are other places to visit as well: Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas for Second Life residents with disabilities. It was established in June 2007, seven years ago. 
There is a Virtual Ability group in Second Life with community events and there is a Google Calendar, which can be viewed in-world. Eme Capalini leads the Design/Build team of Virtual Ability Island. She wanted to make the island fully accessible and she did a very good job making that possible. Their website gives readers more information about the Virtual Ability Island.
What’s special about this place? Gentle Heron said this about it: “Our community welcomes people with all kinds of chronic illnesses and disabilities (physical, mental, emotional, developmental, and sensory) and helps them use the virtual world. We have been able to adapt all types of assistive technology that people use to access their computers to interface with Second Life.”
Able bodies don’t always think about how many skills they use in their everyday lives. But if you are recovering from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or assisting a family member or a friend in that situation, then you suddenly realize just how many skills need to be re-learned.
In my personal opinion, this place is a nice place to learn more about disabilities, and realizing that there are Second Life residents who have a disability in real life. Either they are in a wheelchair, they are blind, or they have another disability. This makes you realize that there are many people with disabilities in both, the virtual worlds and in real life.
I find this project a very nice one, which offers many possibilities and high potential.
You can find the mentioned places :
Virtual Ability Island :
Cape Able :
Cape Serenity :
HealthInfo Island :

Wesley Regenbogen

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Primal Passions Club

By Bixyl Shuftan

If you're looking for a club that appeals to the wilder side, one place to check out is the Primal Passions Club. Located in a castle in the Zoxen sim the club promises to offer a unique adult experiance to mature-minded residents.

Co-owner Rayven Avalira described the club as a place for residents reguardless of appearance "to come and explore their more primal, feral and fantasies of every type and kind in a safe environment, along with meeting other like-minded individuals." Of it's orgins, "I had the idea of having my own club for awhile, but the idea for this one specifically came from when I met and married my Lion Beast Coeles, it was him who opened up a far wider world ... showing me the many possibilities of different species to explore and see what called to me." Second Life being a virtual world where one's appearance was more or less what one wanted to be, there was more out there than just a differance in skin color. One could find a lover of a different sapient race out of science fiction or fantasy.

"We then embarked on the many pleasures together from erotic, to carnal, to exploring the many ways of lust with not just each other but also with other playmates ... we wanted to bring the wide world of pleasures we found to together, to others in a safe place where all are respected and admired for their individuality and uniqueness."

Another reason for creating the club, not all places welcomed nonhuman avatars with open arms, "I have heard stories from others in my travels in SL that some places are not very friendly to mixed couples of human and furred. I also noticed to many clubs are speciests and discriminate by not allowing you in if your a non human, which angered me. To me all are equal human or not, its the personality and the one in the avi that matters over the avi to me, and vowed Coels and my place here, would never be speciests ever."

"I hated it when I found a great club, to only have them tell my non human friends they cant be there. Second Life is supposed to be this huge place of creativity and coalition of ideas and fun, but what fun is it if your excluded from a club, because you choose to be a beast, or furry or demon or other fantasy creature?"

Of the design for the club, "I always loved old castles, and how they can seem  so dark and foreboding on the outside, to reveal such elegance and beauty inside. Making one realize you can never judge the outside until you seen the beauty within. Hence the underlying hidden message of Primal Passions, don't judge till you seen the beauty with in." There is much inside to see and explore, "We have the main club area, a dungeon, a separate chambers skybox, a lapdance area, it is meant to make one feel at home while enjoying the many pleasures of our dancers and escorts, have fun with events and the variety of DJ's. I made sure to have a bit of something for everyones taste from romantic to BDSM." The hidden areas have beds, some made for normal human-sized avatars, others for when one or more partners is much larger in size.

But the secret beds aren't the only kind of fun to be had here. Rayven says the club plans to hold at least three events a week, "We play mostly from classic rock, rock, metal, etc genres, But all of our DJ's will gladly play any requests our guests have that they would like to hear. We are also hiring male and female dancers, escorts and dj's and hosts of all species, including human."

"We also intend to hold live concerts here as well," their first one planned being an Iron Maiden Tribute concert, "courtesy of Rockshoppe Concerts. The stage set is being built up outside as we speak. I would love to see a large turn out of course, as to me concerts are a great way for people to mingle and meet and strike up friendships and possibly far more."

Rayven's partner and the other co-owner of Primal Passions, Coeles Tentigo, had more to say about the club and why it came to be, "One of the big things here in Second Life, in my opinion a little silly, a number of sex clubs do only what can be easily done in real life, the same six pack abs, the same music, the same old thing. This doesn't make much sense to me ... so many possibilities. The people coming here will find a much different experience."

He described the club as "running under the 'Four-F System': fun, friends, 'farking,' and fantasy." Coeles expressed puzzlement as to why so many residents stick with ordinary human avatars, "you can become anything, so why become the same? I suppose there's the familiarity, but after a while it becomes boring. This place allows you to expand your horizions ... I think that's pretty awesome."

But just because a club caters to nonhumans, Coeles felt it doesn't necessarily mean it's ideal. He found some of the older furry clubs as having a number of  "immature individuals in the labor scene, bouncing around. That's fine for them, but we want to do something more mature." Coeles added, "we won't stand for any drama. We are very zero drama in that respect."

"We want to appeal to people who want to expand their fantasy, whether it involves demons, angels, or any other being from your imagination." Coeles did note there was one exception to their welcoming avatars of all kinds: child avatars are not welcome under any circumstances, "we're strictly an adult sim."

Coeles wanted Primal Passions to appeal to "eroticism, moving away from some of the simplistic aspects to some of the more complex, story driven, creativity, imagination ...not the wham-bam stuff." In a sense, the club will offer residents to become part of an erotic fantasy/sci-fi story, "You have an event, you meet up with a creature like me or her (Rayven), you'll get a much more deeper immersion, become part of things more adult oriented, storytelling cross-genre, eroticism, creativity, ideas never previously considered, real sensuality."

"If people come here and think it's going to be a demonic f**fest, it's not going to be that. The customer's going to come away with such an experience, they'll be telling fifty friends about it, something different and unique. I think people coming here (to Second Life), their imaginations have been stretched, but many of the clubs here don't cater to that we go for a much more memorable experience, more immersion for the senses. We're doing something different, catering to the unique." For those whom find certain creatures interesting, Coeles says they plan to encourage to have a variety of appearances in the audience from many fantasy/sci-fi races, "the more the merrier."

Coeles felt the experience would cause some visitors to have a moment of realization, "Wait a minute, I've spent my entire virtual time being just an ordinary human being. There's so much more here that I can be." Of his "Four-F System, if more people lived by that, there would be less trouble. If you want in here, check your drama at the door. If you have a problem, there's various ways of dealing with it without getting others involved. This will be a safe environment that you feel comfortable with, that you can experience new things without being judged and have fun amongst other adults. You don't have to be worried about being called, 'weird,' it's okay. It may not be the taste for everyone, but it will expand the horizons of many."

Coeles explained, here are some guidelines to the roleplaying, "no one's going to grab you and take you, unless that's what you want. There may be storylines in which people play the part of a character getting corrupted." Besides the roleplaying, "You can touch the dancers if they don't mind it. There will always be a chance for live interaction. If someone's going to be a problem is when the interaction ends." Rayven commented, "If people want to get it on on the dancefloor, I'll rezz a bed. It'll just cost so much an hour."

Coeles once again mentioned the no-drama rule, "if they're going to be idiots, we don't want anything to do with them ... it may put off a few people, but," they want the club to be enjoyable for all. Bloodlines is restricted, "no random biting. If someone wants to become a vampire, that can be worked out." The use of the "Onduty" male attatchment is definately *not* welcome. "If you can't play by the rules, you'll be shown the door, everyone else will go on without you, and you won't be wanted back."

"It's going to be interesting to see how it all works out, there may be a few little mistakes, but once people see what we're all about, good roleplay, individuals being comfortable with expressing themselves, people happy to visit a spot that caters to adult roleplay by mature adults."

"I would go to a lot of clubs, talk to people, a lot of people were so bored, 'there's nothing to do.' I'd talk to them about mine," Coeles stated while some weren't interested in his club, others were, "There's going to be a lot of fun to be had. The clientel, people who are going to be respectful adults ... if you want to get interactive and the dancer's fine with that," one can. "We have the rooms, the skybox, the dungeon."

Coeles mentioned another reason for the place was for, "an escape from the depressions of reality." It might be one's personal real life or, "the things that go on in the news. Seems you can't turn on the TV without hearing about someone get his head cut off by some maniacs. You can come here and escape and relax and de-stress, enjoy a higher level of sexual pleasure."

"Some things that other clubs don't allow, we do. We aim to be unique. Second Life is supposed to be this collaboration of ideas. So why be stuck only as a human all the time? Explore your fantasies in a safe environment. That's the beauty of virtual reality, your avatar can't truly be hurt, you're in a safe avenue where you can explore. For instance, I was at an Africa sim and had fun exploring the place. I can't do so in reality as Africa's too dangerous a place to visit."

Rayven commented, "The beauty of SL is you can do things here that you can't in real life. ... The first time I met him was interesting, I was a little scared. I was still 'trapped in that box.' When he got me in that bed, I wanted more. He opened a curiosity that just won't go away."

Coeles and Rayven noted that they have an open relationship, "The world needs a little less jealousy, less posessive, ... everyone has a great time. The madness of jealousy, I just don't understand it."

They noted that they're open to suggestions, such as to what events to have, "all people have to do is drop us a notecard."

"Why a castle? Well the way Coeles and I are, it's like beauty and the beast. Everyone's equal here in this place while having a good time. Something different from the run of the mill club in Second Life. If you're uncomfortable, you can turn around and head out the door, and no one will think any worse of you."

"So be ones pleasure music, concerts, sexy dancers and escorts, we have it all here, for all to enjoy regardless of species. ... This place is meant for all, as Coel and I see the beauty in all the other avatar species, and would love for them to all come and enjoy themselves here. Coel and I have also many secret things in the works that will also set us apart from all other clubs in Second Life as well. So many will want to stay tuned as to what those are and when they will happen here. To all the creators of all the other avi species, we want to tank them for the vison and creativity in helping to make Second Life a far moere diverse and beautiful place."

The Primal Passions Club is in the Zoxen sim.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 17, 2014

Questions and Answers With Ebbe Linden

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Monday October 6 at 2 PM, "Designing Worlds" was giving an early showing of it's recorded interview with Ebbe Linden. About an hour and forty minutes later, as the video was ending and the peopke were discussing it, the crowd got a surprise when they got a certain visitor: Ebbe Linden himself, "Oh wow! Ebb is here." "Shhh. He's here!" "Hi Ebbe. Good timing, I just finished watching the interview (smile)." Ebbe was polite, "I don't mean to interrupt anything here." But no one minded him being around, "You are not interrupting! It's not every day we get to talk to Linden Lab." One commented about the interview, "it was good and refreshing. I think you have interjected life back into the grid (laughter)."

Ebbe then suggested, "Should we take some time for Q and A?" And the crowd agreed, Saffia Widdershins saying, "So now is your chance for all the questions we forgot to ask (grin)." There were a lot of questions, so not all were answered as Ebbe tried to keep his typos to a minimum.

Celene Highwater asked, "Is there any way to fix group chat where it won't be so laggy?"

Ebbe answered her, "Group chat. Yes, active work going on and ongoing fixes being pushed out. I just asked engineering if we can start talking about it but they said we have more to do."

Terry Willful suggested, Ebbe, with the world the way it is, money short, can Linden Labs cut sim prices?"

Ebbe answered, "Sim pricing, if I knew I would get twice the users and half the price I would go for it instantly, but we're concerned that it would not correlate one to one."

CB Axel added, "Especially for educational institutions." Ebeb responded, "(Educational sims are) already half price."

Georgi Devonshire-Otruc (duchessofdevonshire) asked, "What about having an Assistant Ebbe (laughter)?" Ebbe was puzzled, "What would assistant Ebbe do?" Georgi answered, "Well, be an excellent communication advisor for Second Life, help communicate information between Linden Lab and SL communities." Soda (sodasullivan) quipped, "She would find you a decent AO." Ebbe chuckled, "Ah, yes, I've been quite lazy to get my Avatar as cool as it could get...too busy to be cool (grin)."

Oriannabladequeen Resident asked, "I have watched a chat like this before and they assured us that Second Life would still be here, even when the new platform is up and running. Have these plans changed in any way, because rumors fly around SL like no tomorrow?"

Ebbe reassured, "Second Life will be around for a long time. The new platform has a lot of work to do (be able to do) only some of the things SL can do. And then you can try both and choose over time where you want to spend your energy and time."

Mike Denneny commented, "People still think 'highfidelity' is the next Second Life when it's just a separate project." Ebbe responded, "HiFi is a different company with different approach. Many companies will try out something like SL (and many have)." Mike then brought up, "Andrew Linden used to do a fantastic job at making office hour times, but now he's been reassigned to another project (sad expression)." Ebbe responded, "Andrew is now working at HiFi, and different company." Mike added, "Yeah, I know. He's my friend. But my point was the public connection he had."

I asked, "When Second Life was new, there was an official mentors group to help newcomers. Some years ago, it was done away with. Are there any plans to bring back an official mentor group of some kind?"

Ebbe's answer was, "Mentor groups, we're talking to some mentor groups, and we have said we're willing to send traffic to a few different onboarding experiences so we can measure how they perform vs one other. ... Agreed that connecting and communicating is key. Nothing is stopping the lindens now to do so."

Celene asked, "Land in Second Life is super expensive, and I see organizations who benefit SL leaving because they can no longer afford the cost. Is it possible to reduce the cost of land? For colleges and universities especially? They should recieve discounts as they bring lots of press and other benefits to Second Life." Oriannabladequeen added, "with today's economy, has Second Life been loosing customers, people owning sims, having to leave or give them up? Do you not think that the lowering of the prices would encourage people to again start businesses and open more sims again?" Celene commented, "Think of it as free marketing and advertising."

Ebbe answered, "Cost of land again, if I knew that we would make up whatever we leave behind on margin with volume then I'm all for it. So right now we would be afraid to drop prices and not having enough certainty that we would make up the difference in volume."

Terra Volitant asked, "I think you said that educational entities already get a hefty discount on land, right?"

Ebbe answered, "(Educational) and non-profit (are) half price."

Celene asked, "Are there any plans to market more to non-proffit and educational groups?"

Ebbe answered, "Market to (education) and non-profits? No direct plan yet, but I've been talking to a few people about getting that sector going strong again. So some ideas, but no final plans yet."

Cindy Bolero of Areo Pines Park commented, "(The) Teen Grid was done backwards. Linden Lab should have had the schools and institutions run it, instead of letting the kids run it. The kids learned no accountabiity." Mike remarked, "(The) Teen grid was a fantastic place, and I was glad to be appart of it. (It) fell appart when Linden Lab cut development for it."

Ebbe's response was, "My son left when he was 'demoted' to the teen grid, not enough action there he thought."

Garvie Garzo asked, "Lots of people are wondering about SL 2. Will it actually be a second Second Life do you think, or a whole new approach to virtual worlds?"

Ebbe answered, "Garvie, (the next generation world) is being done 'in the spirit of SL,' but will be different. (A) user generated economy (is) still what we plan for, but primarily focusing on architecture for optimizing performance so you can create better experiences and so that we can solve for other platforms such as VR and Mobile."

After a few more questions, Ebbe was getting a little anxious, "I can't type fast enough!" But the audience was reasuring, mostly, "Its okay." "Aaawww Ebbe." "Give him a chance to answer please!" "That's why he needs an assistant (laughter)." "You're right Ebbe. it's like a runaway train (laughter)." "(laughter) When will the SL brain-to-keyboard hands free interface be ready (grin)?" "I could ask questions all night." "Ebbe: you're doing fine, it's awesome that you're giving this a go with an open floor (smile)." "Thank you for coming Ebbe, we understand (smile)." "Yes take your time Ebbe, we love you (smile)."

Alice Klinger asked, "I have been in Second Life 8 years now, and run a business. I wanted to ask if we could have the Llemail function looked into. Particularly the practice of stopping prims from receiving Llemail calls. I heard from support that in case a prim causes trouble it is 'blackholed' this way, but I only use servers to communicate with my product vendors in other sims. There is a Jira on it classifying it as severe bug, but with 'won't finish' as comment. The problem seemed fixed for about 2 months during the summer, but sadly returned with last week's server roll. Maybe we could just roll back that update? Would help greatly. Thanks!"

Ebbe answered, "Alice, I don't know the answer but will ask."

Melvin Starbrook asked, "Will there be linden bears in the new Second Life?"

Ebbe answered, "Melvin, I have no idea. Maybe it will be something else. We have to see what the culture takes it."

Garnet Psaltery then asked, "May I ask whether there are severe problems ongoing with the asset servers? We seem to be getting hit hard lately."

Ebbe answered her, "Garnet, not sure of an ongoing problem with asset servers (although we did have a specific issue a week or so ago?) Please let me know if it's something recurring, you see."

Cindy commented, "All I can say about the technical problems here and there, is that there is much going on under the hood of Second Life and its amazing all that is working!!! Networking, servers, inventories! A huge technical feat and is much appreciated."

Ebbe responded, "Cindy, no kidding, Second Life is amazing in spite of all its craziness."

Norwester Kittinger commented, "Just don't monetize SL2 off land ownership. It's definitely a reason behind stopping any form of Second Life from being a mainstream success."

Ebbe commented, "Nor, we're still talking about business models. We have said that we want land to be much cheaper and that we have to collect money in other ways (as well as lower our margins and make it up in volume)."

Garnet suggested, "One week, perhaps, of lower land prices, a Christmas present to us all (smile)."

Ebbe answered, "Garnet, lowering prices is easy. Increasing them is hard, so hard to experiment with."

Terra Volitant asked, "Is the Marketplace and its role in the day-to-day of resident activity something that is under active discussion right now?"

Ebbe answered, "Terra, there have been discussions of MP vs inworld, but it's a bit like real-life, Amazon kicking bricks and mortar's (behind) Too convenient for too many. But I think we could make it easier to help you build inworld stores,but that will be a while."

Mike then mentioned, "Cube/ Safia I'm talking about the marketplace having a bad user experience in terms of finding what you need. I'm saying events are what is driving people to down size their land since they only need little stalls. Then people can just favorite their marketplace stores if they want more of their products. But if you want to do a dead search its a nightmare."

Ebbe responded, "Mike, we are looking at Search (indexing) improvements for Marketplace, as well as performance improvements. but again, (we are) spread thin so (this) takes time."

Mike added, "I did a full report and gathered real user data from content developers and users. Submitted it through Andrew last year."

Ebbe asked, "Mike, send it to me please. ... (not too hard to guess I have noticed (smile) ).

I then brought up, "Recently Blizzard Entertainment annouced they were stopping work on their planned MMO 'Titan,' partily because the company felt it would just end up draining users from it's existing game, World of Warcraft, which while having fewer customers from it's prime is still doing good. Is it possible the development of SL 2.0 as it's called could be shelved for similar reasons?"

Ebbe answered me, "Bixyl, Blizzard stopped because they did not think it would be good enough...very brave call by them after so many years of hard failure can and do happen and could happen to us but I spend almost no time contemplating failure (grin)."

Taro Firanelli suggested, "How about to introduce a system to sell additional prims for land owners?"

Ebbe wondered, "Charging for 'units' like a utility bill as a path to consider, so the bigger and more successful the more you pay." Saffia's response was to shiver, "The inventory tax?"

Mike remarked, "Ebbe another thing that is tough about Linden Lab, is that they only higher senior developers. They don't consider younger folks with dynamic backgrounds. Not sure that's your call, but it definitely has held me back from a position there."

Ebbe responsed, "We just hired a 'kid' and want many more. So no, not just looking for years and years of experience."

Apmel Goosson commented, "I wouldn't be sitting here 1:30 AM swedish time if Ebbe wasn't here. (smile)" Ebbe asked, "Apmel. where in Sweden?" Apmel answered, "Stockholm, Ebbe." The CEO added, "Cool. I was born and raised in Uppsala."

I then asked, "Over time some noted sims have faded away, such as the Vietnam Memorial. In the past one popular sim was brought back by Linden Lab: Svarga. Might there be more sims, such as memorials, that could also be revived?"

Ebbe answered me, "Bixyl, we can't run those experiences ourselves. So if the creator leaves, then their creation ultimately (goes) unless someone takes over. Otherwise you're asking us to provide discounts to some in some way. (I'm) not sure how to do that in a scalable and proper way."

Reven Rosca spoke, "I have a question about IP theft. Is there any way we can report stolen items (uploaded without owning the IP rights) without being copyright holders ourselves?" Ebbe responded, "Reven, (I'm) not sure I totally understand the use case you're thinking of." Reven spoke again, "There are loads of meshes and textures, both inworld and on MP, that are stolen. Ripped from games, uploaded without permissins etc."

Ebbe commented, "Knowing what's ripped and not and have (a) fail-proof copy protection scheme that consumers like ... hmmm anybody?"

Mike then asked, "Ebbe, I know Linden Lab has Q&A, Marketing, HR, Developers (WEB/C++) but do you guys have UX developers for Second Life?"

Ebbe's response was, "Mike, (the next-generation world) is on two week sprints, and hope we continue that cadence when we open (its) doors later next year and socializing with you inworld there to learn and improve. ... Yes, UI designers and product managers, but more focused on the next gen. I can't speak of the Second Life decisions of the past on some of the UI, a bit more random then."

Terra then brought up, "Ebbe, I think you've sort of touched on parts of this already, but over time I have noticed an enormous dwindling of mainland usage, with very large amounts of bare unused space that used to be full of residents. Is anything being looked at to increase mainland ownership and usage, to incentivize it, get it back into regular use, etc.? It's heartbreaking to see vast tracts of unused mainland, which is probably expensive to keep up and running with no residents on it. Is there a way to make that land more available to users, different cost structure or land use policy, etc.?

Ebbe's answer was, "Terra, not much work going on to 'activate' mainland."

Terra continued, "It's a shame, since there's so much history there, and interesting infrastructure, the roads, etc. It would be cool if there was a way to get people to come back and spend money and time on the mainland again but I wonder if it would require some new thinking about how to manage it."

Ebbe commented, "I hope (the next generation world's) land cost and scale would encourage user generated 'main lands' to take shape."

Mike then spoke, "I think Linden Lab did a great job at thinking 'let the world build itself,' but sometimes guidelines are nice. I'm sure its been a struggle to balance this way of thinking."

Ebbe responded, "Managing 'free to do whatever you want' with 'be sensible' can be hard (smile)."

Mike continued, " I remember Philip saying he didn't want the to govern the world, he wanted the world to govern itself. But my first thought was well you need to give us the tools to make a government."

Ebbe remarked, "I don't think we can hand government over completely."

Steele Castaignede asked, "I came late. (I have) three questions that any one can answer. Will we be able to import our inventories into the new SL, or do we have to start over? Will land tier be charged like it is now or is it going to be completly different? Is there going to be mainland property and sims?"

Ebbe answered, "Steel, import yes, but don't expect all things (from) Second Life to come over as you would think it should. Some data and features will be different. Work with mesh and you should be ok though. Mainland, probably not as you know it. But I hope users can create whatever landmasses they want."

Saffia spoke up, "Ebbe - here is Skate (Foss), whose island we took over for the interview (smile)."

Ebeb greeted him, "HI Skate! Thanks for letting us use your special place for that chat (smile)."

Asterion Coen brought up, "Ebbe, what about linksets? For old SL builders who are still building with prims and (have) several hundred objects. I've exported some dozens in opensims, and had to take three months vacations to recover, so I hope to dont have to take a year's vacation bcause (of) SL2 things!"

Ebbe wasn't sure, Asterion, (I) don't know, going from SL prims to next gen will not be simple or automatic. Ultimately it's possible to provide simple tools to create mesh, but the sequence for us will probably start with import and then grow into inworld tools. Those are hard to get right."

Saffia commented, "I know Max Graf would like me to breathe the word ... voxels." That comment got an "Ewwww, voxels!" from someone.

Ebbe remarked, "Voxels has a place and can be great (in) terrain, etc."

 Mike then asked, "Ebbe, how do you feel about"

Ebbe answered, "Mike, I like all companies that are trying to push the VR/VW envelope. HiFi (is) doing cool stuff in some areas (some of what we'll also do), so we chat now and then and help each other out. ... Oculus is a great thing in that way, not just a great new device, but also adding investments and progress in this area we're in ... someone please solve input! (smile)"

Saffia commented, "It rather speaks for the strength of the Lab that having seen off several competitors, it now seems that they will be offering the most significant alternative."

Ebbe responded, "Saffia, we're going to give it a shot, can't just wait for someone to come and take it away from us."

I then asked, "Last year, Linden Lab told third party Linden exchangers if they wanted to remain in business, they could no longer buy Lindens for real world currencies. When I interviewed one of the smaller "land barons" he told me this has affected his desire to do business as he can no longer cash out instantly but has to wait for his money. One resident from France told me he has a pile of Lindens he wishes he could sell for Euros but can't. Is there any possibility that licensed exchangers can go back to being able to both sell and buy Linden dollars?" This was a question that got some positive responses from the audience, "Good question bixyl, was about to ask about the lindex monopole too."

Ebbe's answer was, "Bixyl, I think there are compliance matters that made is change those exchange rules, and we're working to add other payment platforms that provide more geo/currency options. ... Compliance in a world like this where we pay out many tens of millions of dollars per year is not a trivial thing."

Mike then asked, "But when linden lab decided to take the burdon of processing all lindens traveling out, don't think it would be a priority to get the money in a timely manner? That was a big decision to make. ... I've never waited a few days for lindens. Its consistently a week. I pull my money out on Sunday and get it the next Monday."

Ebbe answered, "Mike, (I'm) not sure I follow. We need a bit of time to make sure we should pay out. Normally I think we do it inside three or five working days. We want it to be as short as possible, but making sure no fraud is taking place is critical."

Zim Farrasco asked, "Mr. Linden are there any plans in the near future to bring the company public so the general public will have the option to invest in it?"

Ebbe answered, "Zim, no plans right now, to do that you need to have strong growth. We're in a cycle to go build what will. Give us that and then we'll see."

Mike continued his comments, "I haven't seen less than 7 days to recover funds, when that occurs I'll think its working fine."

Ebbe answered, "Mike, our goal is to shorten the time it takes, as soon as our tools and processes improve we will make it faster."

"Are you guys dedicating dates to that?" Mike asked, "Dedicating a date to when it will become faster?"

Ebbe answered, "Mike, ah, I don't know of a date when we can guarantee faster payout but it's a goal. I'll have to check to see where we are on that."

Asterion brought up, "Also, the delay from lindex to the availlability to get our money, those forms (non us resident, ID cards) to fill everytime we try to recover some fiew hundred usd. All that take too long time. (more than the 5 days). Also, Linden Labs has ... enough tools to know where are coming the Linden dollars they own. That plus IP and other networks infos (isp), and bank infos about the residents, at least the one who paid with credit cards the premium abo."

Ebbe responded, "Asterion, you should only have to provide the info once. ... not sure what happened there unless it was for different avatars or accounts or...?"

Mike commented, "You know what would be great? A place where webpage users could visit to see a real time (timeline) so we could see what you are forcasting for updates, etc. Right now I just take guesses from the beta download page, and jira, but its alot of work.

Ebbe remarked in response, ""Mike, I wish! Some things, especially in SL, are really hard to predict. It's like, how long is a piece of string sometimes, in Second Life."

Mike countered, "Ebbe I know. Believe me I've worked really hard with my company to connect with users. But they love knowing the stuff we do in a visual format. Even if we miss the dates, they just like know we are working on it. And honestly putting down timelines had held us accountable, we learn why, we explain why, we build relationships."

Ebbe added, "Lately we do publish sets of things we have confidence wrt being on the roadmap and deliverable in a reasonable timeframe. The rest of information can confuse or upset or...."

Mike continued, "Our users used to call up and complain. Now they come with advice. I'm sure with the user base it can be confusing.  But there is such a disconnect. I mean I know what you guys do because I see all the change logs and the jira, etc. But most people ahve no idea, until you have a video about some significant thing. But anways ... the stuff I've said again all ties back to user experience and building relationships. I realize that's what this meeting here is (for). I'm glad you made time for this."

Ebbe's response was, "I do this as often as I can. But with a million people and so many different groups and individuals, it's hard to get around enough."

Mike added, "Right, and we feel that. We need more of this so we can be disciples in a sense and share with others. That's what a communications team would be fantastic (smile)."

Ebbe spoke, "Cool. I really enjoy doing this, just wish I had more time."

Mike quipped, " 'Maybe if I say it enough it will stick on him,' Haha!"

Ebbe commented, "Oh, no worries, it's stuck on good. But it's also timing and what we're doing next and where we need to/want to invest our money right now and...."

Someone noted the time, 5:45PM SL time (8:45 PM EST). Ebbe's response was, "5:45pm! (CENSORED)..." The Europeans commented it was the middle of the night for them. Mike commented, "Ebbe, don't act surprised. Then it's like you didn't know you were being noble, ha-ha!"

Ebbe asked, "So when do we get to hang out next?" Cindy suggested, "come to Halloween night in SL, laggiest night of the year!" Garvie suggested, "(The) cornfield and choose yer weapons!" Asterion suggested, "Ebbe, you could plan an office hour every month, to get in touch with your world (smile)."

Mike then asked, "Ebbe quick question, do you ever log on (as) an alt and just try to visit Second Life, to take a person's perspective, like going to some of the info hubs,: like korea1?" Ebbe answered, "Mike, rarely, (I) mostly cruise as myself." Mike then commented, "Well if he went to korea1, people would be banned. But thats another story, thats where the trolls live. Ebbe, I think you would find it more interesting to not go as yourself, especially to info hubs, Just sayin..." Saffia commented, "The Arabian Nights tale of the disguised Emperor?" I commented, "It can be bewildering to newcomers in places like those." Mike continued, "Some great CEOS of big corporations have done this, learned more than they ever would. That's just my two cents."

Skate Foss then asked, "A friend has a question, if most of residents migrate to SL 2, what will happen with (the) sims? Will there be some kind of land compensation for SL sim owners?"

Ebbe answered, "Skate, too early to tell as we don't know what that transition will look like yet (time or process), but we do want to make it so users can hope back and forth with same ID and their Linden dollars."

Garvie commented, "I wish alts were not anonymous ... I have HAD IT with kicking the same three people out of the same one place using 21 different names."

Ebbe countered, "Garvie, master account where you can manage multiple identities is what we're considering. But that's also a ways out, so who knows. Just know it's what we would prefer."

Garvie remarked, "You are assuming that people will somehow reveal a truth that would be unavailable to (you) as Ebbe. It would be better for 'serious' real world business. These relationships we supposedly have are fundamentally tenuous." Mike commented, "The purpose of him being on an alt is to interact with him as a regular avatar. not a Linden."

Ebbe countered, "Mike, if I think my identity as a Linden would color my opinion in a bad way then I'll alt it. But I find it's rarely needed. (It) seems like people and experiences are quite honest and true even with my Ebbe Linden persona."

Mike responded, "Believe me when people see a big blue name walk in with Linden, they think of you like gods. Sorry that you aren't aware of this feeling, who feel special when a Linden walks in. But I can vouch for many people. Heck, the sim I was in yesterday were talking about the one time they seen Governor Linden, and how exciting that was."

Ebbe's response was, "For sure people treat me differently as Ebbe Linden. But a ton of users have no idea of blue dots or Lindens. And many  experienced users get over it quickly and just have great dialog like we are here. At times being someone else has advantage, so I pop in as one of my alts, but (that is) pretty rare."

Mike remarked, "When I perceive a Linden, I feel the way I did when I was in class with a professor, or around a police officer, or around a doctor, anyone who has some superior ability that is part of what lets you function."

Ebbe stated, "Mike, (I) totally understand, but it's not preventing people from having great conversation with me."

Asterion countered, "Ebbe yes, but maybe not the usual conversation you could have with an alt. I used to talk finance with my banker even when I see him on vacation. I won't if he is (appearing) as a pompom girl or a man in black (smile)."

Ebbe's response was, "Yep, and I take that perspective now and then, but not by default. Hard enough to be one person! (smile)"

Melvin asked, "What's the timeframe for the new Second Life?"

Ebbe answered, "Timeline for next gen...early peek for some middle of next year, and by then it won't do a LOT of things Second Life can do. But the few things it can do, it should do a lot better."

Melvin asked, "Will it be open for all then? Or just for some people to test it?"

Ebbe answered, "Melvin, when we first start bringing users into next gen, it will most likely be to a limited alpha set of users."

Asterion asked, "And how will you select the alpha/beta tester users (smile)?"

Ebbe answered, "Asterion, it will be bribe system. ... As who we will work with for our Alpha, some Second ifeL users (focused on creators as that's where it has to start) and some non-SL users to get broad perspective. Also depends on what functionality we'll have by when as that will make it useful for some use cases and not others."

Cindy spoke, "That's what I was going to say, alpha testers should be those that will be creating content or interactions."

Ebbe commented, "Yeah, not much for non-creators to do until the creators have done their thing (grin)."

At 6:12, about two and a half hours since he appeared, Ebbe told the group, "So I finally have to run. It's been great talking to you all. It was my pleasure and look forward to chatting soon again." The crowd wished him well, "tack Ebbe..du höll mej vaken (smile)" "Thanks Ebbe." "Thank you for coming here and talking with us." "Great talking to you Ebbe." "Thanks Ebbe and have a great evening." Ebbe turned to the lady who interviewed him earlier, "Thank you Saffia for doing what you're doing!" Saffia responded, "It's our pleasure (smile)." Ebbe did not just up and teleport out, but walked to the entryway of the place from where he came and left the building before leading. The crowd then thinned as those who delayed leaving finally left while others remained to chat for a time.

And so ended the Question and Answer session with Ebbe Linden following the first showing of the recording of his interview in "Designing Worlds." It should be noted there was no mention of Linden Lab's decision to close their game "Patterns," announced publicly a few days later. While there would be no reduction in tier soon, there was a  "Limited" 50% reduction in Premium membership announced a few days later.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News and Commentary: Avajean Westland's Virtually News, and Doing Broadcast News About Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

About a week and a half ago on September 13th, AvaJean Westland showed off to a public audience at the LEA4 sim the debut episode of "Virtually News," a parody of TV news done in the style of "the Onion." The show was described as "an irreverent take on current events and pop culture, which pushes the boundaries while using animation as the filter."

The show was rated "for mature audiences" for not without good reason. The initial episode spoofed exercise infomercial products such as the "Thighmaster" and the "Shake Weight" as having been backed by the porn industry, and had an infomercial of it's own for "The Twerkinator" : a device that will supposedly allow a girl to safely and effectively shake her behind without risk of injury.

Those attending the premier included bloggers Mona Eberhardt and Inara Pey, and Second Life Enquirer editor Lanai Jarrico. Second Life Newser was also there after having gotten a tip by Lanai.

Avajean Westland in real life is Gameela Wright, an actress from New York with experience in TV shows such as "Blue Bloods" and all three series of "Law and Order," theater, and commercials. In Second Life, she is described as having worked with Chantal Harvey and part of the machinima series "The Blackened Mirror." She also created Second Life video for the Project Homeless campaigning "The Quiet Dark Wind."

(Click Here to see Avajean's "Vitrually News" - CAUTION, Not Safe For Work)

*  *  *  *  *

Avajean's resume is an impressive one, and she does have a point about these funny exercise devices. How many men use a "Shake Weight," especially in public, after all? There's certainly lots of room for news parodies, others having been done such as those some years ago by Second Lie. But talking about the episode with my friend and teammate Nydia Tungsten, we wondered, couldn't someone make serious news videos of goings-on in Second Life?

Not *every* reporter can do news in front of a video camera as writing and public speaking are two different skills. I myself, well, to paraphrase the expression "he has a face for radio," I have a voice for newspapers. But still, one wonders. If someone did weekly or monthly news videos a few minutes long, how many of you the readers would watch them?

Probably a great deal many of you, we reasoned. So we're making a few enquiries about what we might be able to pull off. We'll let you know about any developments. And those who want to give giving their voice to journalism by all means feel free to contact us.

As for Avajean's "Twerkinator," I don't think we've seen the last of it. Jimmy Kimmel's firey prank showed one way it can go very wrong.

Sources:  SL Enquirer, Prim Perfect, Modem World, Mona Eberhardt,

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Second Life "Game Review" : "What Is Second Life" Part 2

By Nydia Tungsten

Most of you that have read my articles know I have done a “What is Second Life?” article. But this time, something very personal happened to me and it started me thinking, with everything I have said about Second Life, I have missed a LOT. Here is my chance to correct that.

It is 4 a.m. and I am unable to go to sleep so I sit here gaming and listening to my REALLY off the wall music as I play different games. I realized, out of every MMO I play or have EVER played, SL is the most in depth format of the MMOs. For example, when SL first came out, I remember hearing people laughing at those “idiots” that spend real money for virtual items, which I have to admit we do (land, homes, furniture, parties, ect…ect…). BUT, so do they. They pay monthly fees to play their MMO, some up to $20 USD a month AFTER they pay the $60 to $75 USD to buy it. THEN, they pay those little extra’s to give them an edge, i.e. that nice pay for only main battle axe or buy extra gold to get those better rounds for tanks in the MMO “World of Tanks”. And now some MMO’s are starting to offer a “home” that you can make and have it look how you want it, so you have people paying extra to decorate those homes.  Yeah, they look nice, but what can you do with them? Nothing except make them look pretty and never go in them again. But yet, you paid for them and continue to put money into a “virtual world.” Now, let’s flip the coin here. For the same money you put into the average MMO, you can get twice that in SL and do MORE.

  In SL, not only could you get a home and make it look the way you want it to, you can even make the items yourself so it is TRULY a one of a kind place that you can be proud of.

   A place you can take your friends to more than once or twice before they get bored of just standing in the same spot and just looking. In SL, you can interact with almost EVERYTHING in the grid INCLUDING other players.

   Yes, there are the sex beds, but there are also so much more! You have swings, movies, chairs, desks, you can hug other players, they can hug you (both with permissions asked and given). You can make true friends there from all over the world.  The other MMO’s have certain servers for certain parts of the world so you can’t ever meet someone from…say.. Russia. I used to go to a club where 99% of the members were Russian and another for Germans. You can travel the world in the space of five minutes.

    Now we come to my experiences. I had an accident; I tripped over two playful dogs and took a bad spill involving a concrete slab. And then family issues ensued, and then I woke up to find myself with “Bells Palsy”. For those that don’t know what it is (like me until I got it), it has a lot of the symptoms of a stroke where the right side of my face was paralyzed but this is caused by pinched nerves and not a clog in the brain. I even have to wear an eye patch to keep my eye from getting gunk in it or drying out so that is why I wear an eye patch in SL as well.

      When I was FINALLY able to get back into SL after being gone for a more than a week, I found candles on my mantel from my loving Angels to show me they were thinking of me and missing me. They are still there and I get misty eyed every time I see them. The people of Second Life have become a like a family to me. I don’t know of any other MMO you can get so involved with others OUTSIDE the grid like you can with Second Life.

   You can even marry that special someone in your life, no matter which you prefer, you can marry them here. I know this first hand because I married someone so very special to me. Brandi is a part of everything I do in SL now, and I know of many others that have done the same; some have taken it to the next level and hooked up in real life too.

   I am so proud of my accomplishments in SL. I have come a very long way since I was first “rezzed”. I have come to know and love each of my Angels, without whom I would be nothing and have nothing. So, let me publicly thank my family group “Nydia’s Angels”. Thank you, my Angels.

    I have been adopted by several people in SL as well, one of which is Skylark. She adopted me from almost the start of my life in SL. She taught me about clubs and how to run them, also a bit about land, and I have taken that knowledge and ran with it. At one point, I had 6 active clubs and administered over 14 sims, but those numbers have come down now due to a lot of factors. But one thing remains, it was so much fun to learn about it and make a go of it.  Let’s see you make money in your real life (legally) from any other MMO, then let me know so I can try that as well.

   SL is also great for those who have self esteem issues. In SL, you can look how you feel you deserve to look. I know of many that are disfigured for some reason or another but here in SL, they can look how they feel, be who they are. Like myself, I am a little white vixen that I think looks nice and I have adopted that fursona  in all my online dealings.

   Until SL, I never even had an email address of my own. With the help of my friends and family in SL, I opened and bloomed and grew and tried a lot of things I would never have tried in real life. I am becoming more of who I truly am.

 So, to sum it up, SL is not just a game, but also a wonderful tool that can be used by so many people in so many ways, because no matter what you’re into, you will find it in SL.

    As soon as I am over this Bells Palsy, I will try and do more stories about more games, but….until then

Nydia Tungsten

Monday, September 1, 2014

Commentary: Second Thoughts on the ADI

By Theonlyjohnny Resident

All groups have their pros and cons, however, how many are truly evident from the inside? The common thought is that being on the inside gives you a better picture of things, however, this isn't the case in SLMC. In fact, to get the best picture, one must be on the inside, then on the outside of it, for the best picture.

I learned this the hard way, when I left ADI. Yes, there are some good things about ADI, there are some bad things too. For one, compared to other groups in the SLMC community, ADI isn't all that fair, in fact, it's one of the most unfair ones I have ever seen. Another example, ADI's supposed testing and redesigning of their weapons, isn't as in-depth as I had originally thought.

While ADI does boast a strong force, they rely too much on over powered weapons, rather than their own skill. Despite numerous training efforts, ADI's strategies seem to remain the same, charge forward, and forget about the flanks, and the rear. Given the current training sessions of ADI, one must wonder what they even do in their sessions.

Another con for ADI, is their over use of their gunships. While other groups will use a gunship, when it's absolutely necessary, ADI will simply put up 2 or 3 gunships, close to the beginning of the fight, just to ensure they will get some ground on the enemy. While the strategy is effective, it's also a bit cheap, due to the fact that their gunships are not only powerful, but they are pretty fast compared to other gunships.

On to their ground strategy, also known as a zerg rush. Their infantry, will give the rush 2 or 3 chances to get them some ground, and if it fails, they will bring up their tanks, and bikes, to ensure that it doesn't fail again. While the use of tanks is common among military groups, their use of bikes, is simply to ensure they do not die. While their use of bikes look strange, it's the same concept, as if they were using sandbags. However, some sims won't allow sandbags, so ADI will simply skirt past this rule, by sitting on armored bikes, so the bike takes damage, instead of them.

Their use of sandbags is questionable as well. While nearly all groups have a way of repairing their fortifications, ADI's tactic is to simply, rerezz the fortification, and sit back on it, so it's automatically at full health again. While this has yet to be seen by all groups, it has been done, by even some of their higher ranking members.

Of course, strategy and tactics isn't all that they need work on. ADI's views on the personal life of their members seems to be that they have final say in the matter. This way of thinking ended with one ADI member actually removed from the group, after refusing to breakup with someone from a different group. While ADI's actions were so that they wouldn't be stabbed in the back, the group still has some lessons to learn about what they can and cannot do. A member's personal life, is just that, it's personal, meaning private. A group has no right to meddle with that.

However, ADI isn't all bad. There are some aspects of the group that are good, for example, the fact that they won't nuke the hub if they're losing, however, that is just one of the very few pros about ADI. Being on the receiving end of one of their raids, can really put a new image in your head, and that's why my views of ADI have changed so drastically.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Avatar Social Network : The First Facebook for Virtual Worlds ( and Second Life, of Course)

By Wesley Regenbogen
Avatar Social Network ( ) is owned and operated by AP Holdings. It’s the first social network that doesn’t ask for your real life name, but asks for your Second Life name or any other virtual name you might have in other virtual worlds. They offer a free registration process. Also they offer a peaceful and friendly environment where people can share, create friendships, post photos and can be friends with each other. This is all supervised by admins and moderators, though.
Once you are registered, you can start posting, sharing and do other activities on the website and get credits for doing something on the website. Once you get a certain amount of credits, you can be rewarded in-world ( Second Life or another virtual world you are registered in ). This is why the website is a fast growing community for virtual worlds and games and where members are truly appreciated not by the rewarding system itself, but by other members as well.
You can also sign up with Facebook and Twitter, which is a bit odd, because Facebook and Twitter are more related to Real Life, right? Nevertheless, this new virtual worlds oriented social network does seem to be growing ever since it has been created. There is the ability to create groups, I created two already, while writing this article. You can also post your thoughts on the forums and you can also create your blog there. Posting videos and adding your virtual world employment to the social network are also possible. There is even a section where you can give or receive gifts. You can search with the “Search” feature, which is obvious, of course. You can add your own pages to the social network as well.
Chatting with your friends, similar to Facebook, is also possible, as well as sending private messages to each other. Playing games on Avatar Social Network, the so-called ASN Games are also available. This is more like what you can do on Facebook as well.
Well, to make a long story very short : Avatar Social Network is the Virtual Facebook for every avatar around the globe, whether you are in Second Life or another MMO or game, you want Avatar Social Network to get credits, both on the site and in-world, to get you started !
You can find Avatar Social Network ( ASN ) ATMs around in Second Life, but I don’t know if there’s a Avatar Social Network place within Second Life.

Wesley Regenbogen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Commentary: Virtual Worlds "To Game or Not to Game?"

By Wesley Regenbogen
To Game or Not to Game? That’s the question …
Some players confuse a virtual world with a game, simply because they often have a game history and play games offline and online. Although games have become very mainstream, nowadays there are many MMOs that are playable online and mostly for free.
Virtual worlds versus Games
Role-playing and creation of objects in-world
In a normal game you play a “role” in the game. In virtual worlds you can also “play” a character but most users are themselves in most cases at least. The lack of the need to fullfill objectives, makes room for other capabilities and other functionalities within the virtual world. For instance, the ability to create objects.
Most virtual worlds are almost entirely created by it’s residents. This means that many people have devoted their time to making content for the virtual world in question. Thus, all that you see is made by residents. There are no companies involved to create all what has been made in-world. Many companies only “offered the land” for creative minds to create objects and let other residents explore the world created.
Virtual Money vs Real Economy
Another huge difference between games and virtual worlds is the fact that there is a virtual economy set inside the virtual environment. You can get a virtual job in-world and get paid virtual money. The amount of virtual money you receive for a virtual job can be different from one job to another.
There is a way to convert your virtual cash into real money, using a sort of exchange in-world or on a website. These exchange services are services created to allow residents of the virtual worlds to trade their virtual money into real US Dollars ( and maybe other currencies as well ). You are able to buy virtual money or sell your virtual money to trade into US Dollars or vice versa. As in real life exchange the exchange rates can fluxuate, so be aware.
When buying virtual money and you are logged in-world already it can take a few minutes for the database to be synchronized. So, this means that the virtual world and the real world economy are bonded together.
Getting Involved
Within the virtual worlds it’s easy to get involved and a wide community of residents is ready to help you whenever they can. Either by creating objects or starting a business in-world or by helping newbies to get adapted to this environment.
Real Life versus Virtual Life
Obtaining Virtual Cash in the virtual world
Just like in real life you sometimes need (virtual) money in the virtual worlds. There are different ways to obtain money in the virtual world.
Firstly, in most virtual worlds you can take on a “job” and gain virtual money that way.
Second option is to buy virtual cash with real life money, which is the most likely option, in most cases.
Third option is making objects or trade objects with other residents and sell those for the best price on the virtual market.
Communicating through an avatar
In real life we communicate through face-to-face conversations and discussing with each other. In most virtual worlds this is also possible, but there is a different approach.
With your avatar, which is a virtual representation of yourself in cyberspace ( the virtual world ) you can interact with other avatars and discuss with them about various topics.
It’s often hard to find people that share the same idea or have the same opinion in the virtual world. Luckily, in many virtual worlds there is the ability to join groups or something similar. When joining a group, you can share ideas or discuss whatever topic the group has and connect with people that share the mutual ideas. Most groups are free to join, however, some may cost you some virtual money to join.
Moving around in the virtual world
Moving around in the different virtual worlds can be either by walking around, flying, or using a vehicle or flying object to transport your avatar around in the virtual reality. Although in most virtual worlds this aspect is different, depending on which virtual world you are in, the main goal is the same : getting around as quickly and smoothly as possible.
In some virtual worlds it could take a while to transport from one place to another. Teleporters and alike are also available in most virtual worlds, allowing avatars to quickly go from one place to another.
As we learn, it turns out that some virtual worlds have game aspects and some don't. Either way, it's not easy to name a virtual worlds as “game” or “not game” but virtual world. But on the other hand, the social and economic systems have similarities. We might conclude that a virtual world is often not a game and could be named “virtual world” instead. Although, personal opinions may vary and are open for discussion, my personal opinion is that I always refer to “virtual world” and not “game” as it comes to online virtual worlds.
Please feel free to comment on this topic and let me know what you think about this subject.

Wesley Regenbogen

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Second Advice: Blowing Off Steam

By Nydia and Brandi Tungsten


   How many of us have wanted to scream that phase at our computer or gaming console because the game we were playing just handed us our butts? Or, we raged at an MMO like World of Tanks or World of Warcraft?

   I am here to give you all the best advice on the net about that when it happens to you…….quit!

    No, not rage quit or give up the game, just stop for now or go to another game.

Games are supposed to be enjoyable, something we do to relax and have fun with, hence to word “play." Too many it seems have forgotten that simple fact and feel they must continue to reach a “daily goal” in order to get a bonus or perk that is dangled in front of us like a carrot on a stick. MMOs make use of this to make sure that they can keep players, providing fun for us is secondary to them.

    So, to make sure you still have fun, walk away when you have had enough from the frustration of a game and go do something else. I have almost 100 games on my PC alone, and I play every one of them.

   I have been told by others, “I can’t play any other game because I HAVE to beat this one." Uhm…no you don’t. You play a game until it’s not fun anymore. One way or another, you will probably stop playing it anyways. Either from frustration to the point where you don’t even want to even THINK about getting on that system because you know it is there, or you rage quit and give up on games completely. As for rage quitting, we have all done it, we get so mad we can’t even think straight and hit the power button….literally.

   When you start feeling the heat of anger building, instead of raging at the “Noobs” and telling them that they all need to die in a fire…. step back and ask yourself this, “Am I having fun?” and if the answer is “No”, then log off and move on to something else. Just like in our real-life lives, if you don’t enjoy something, why do it? ( and no, I am not talking about work so don’t blame me if you quit your job *grin*)   Things like, fishing, hiking, bike riding, long walks off of short piers…..

If you don’t enjoy it, why do it? We have a choice, not to mention a duty to ourselves to stay as stress free possible. Even if you REALLY like a game, like Minecraft for example, there have been times I have had to walk away, for many reasons, one of which if you have ever played with me you KNOW how I feel about creeper swarms (shudders). I get SO FERKIN FRUSTRATED I WANT TO   S C R E A M ! !

   But I log out, get some coffee and go on to something else like World of Tanks, WarThunder, Space Engineers, SL, whatever and I play that for a while. Whatever you do, have fun with it.  It’s not worth your anger and rage to TRY and have fun, because if you’re feeling that …. you’re not.

   So for the first time since I started writing for the Newser, I am giving you all homework. Find a new game you have never played before and try it, have fun with it, if you don’t like it, delete it and try another.

   Now I can hear you all saying “Right, like we’re made of money and rush out to buy games.” You don’t have to buy anything. There are enough free games out there that you can get several good ones with nothing out of pocket. A good source for free games is Steam ( They have a LOT of them and Steam is free to join. There are other sites as well, but I have not fully explored those yet so I can’t recommend them.

   But find something and give it a try, and if you find a good one, let me know and I will review it here.
As always, until next time, GOOD GAMING TO YOU!!  (and have some fun)

Nydia Tungsten