First buildBack from holidays and just coming off a weekend of immersion in Second Life before returning to RL, I got stuck into the joys of textures. Textures in Second Life transform the world around your avatar and give depth to the items you own and create.  I’ve found thousands of free textures for everything from hair to gravel and they came into their own this weekend.  Prims are the basic building blocks of everything in Second Life and there are limits as to the number of prims you can use in building on a plot of land.  Therefore, getting the most out of each prim is important – especially when you rent a small parcel of land as I do. I wanted to update my freebie house that I put down on Plot 13, but didn’t want to buy a new one and am not ready to attempt my own build.  Fortunately the builder of my house – thank you Gene Jacobs  – made it highly modifiable.  I made a backup copy first, then started inspecting Gene’s work. I got into it pretty hot and heavy – changing the textures of the prims to create a new look – but couldn’t understand why my inside walls were the same wood siding as the outside walls.  I finished, didn’t like what I’d done and restored the original. Then, I cam across a fantastic site that explained how to change the texture on each side of a prim (love you Bob Sutor).  Whoo HOO! Back to work I went, although in the process, I’ve managed to unlink my house, so need to link that back up again. Learning that I could alter the textures of each prim facing made me pause in my search for a new sofa to ponder how difficult it would be to create a 1-prim sofa that wouldn’t look like a beechwood building block. I’ve had a play and the image of Pandora sitting on my first building attempt is the result.  I chickened out on adding a customised sit animation though — the Linden Scripting Language is beyond me at the moment.  My 10th grade geometry teacher should be laughing right now as I humbly admit that yes, I should have paid attention in class as I now have no bloody idea about vectors and axes. No day in Second Life would be complete for me without taking things over the line — so I managed to terraform myself into a hole and then bury myself (literally) before learning how to use the little bulldozer terraform tool.  Paul comes into SL My husband has decided to take the plunge too – so our joint geekery now has a new outlet.  A photo of him being welcomed by Jo’s alter ego with HeyJude’s mansion in the background appears here at left. This post is a bit of a ramble anyway, so I’ll add a quick tip on something else that cropped up: the latest SL update seems a bit buggy.  I don’t know if it was the root cause of my crashing multiple times today for the first time ever, but Paul noticed a setting I hadn’t seen before in the Advanced Graphics menu called Enable Vertext Buffer Objects.  I turned this off and have had a much more stable experience since the upgrade. I’ll finish this up by wishing Jo good luck on her interview on the Second Life Cable Network’s Saturday Night Live program and get ready for the plunge back into RL tomorrow.
This is obviously a non-scripted machinima attempt to stitch together some of the things I’ve seen and done in Second Life. You can download the flash file here: http://blip.tv/file/get/KerryJ-LivingInADream185.flv Or, you can watch it on my web site right here:
02. February 2008 · Comments Off on Strike a pose, dress a chubby avatar and help me with Australian history · Categories: Second Life
Okay, I’ve been a little Second Life crazy this past week.  It’s going to stop, I promise.  I have a podcast to edit tomorrow, my citizenship test to study for – quick, name the first Prime Minister of Australia – but this is something I wish I’d known about months ago and I just HAD to share. Okay, two somethings. I try to keep my SL avatar as closely modelled to me as possible.  Yes, I know it’s a SECOND Life and I could be thin and in my 20s there.  I just choose not to be.  So, because of my avatar’s specious shape and proportionate head – I find myself having to alter clothing, hair and jewellery to avoid skin and body parts poking through. You cannot use the alter appearance feature to work with clothing not created in the appearance menu nor can you use it for attachments. So in the past I’ve had the frustration of trying to alter clothing with my avatar sitting down or trying to use the alt key and then quickly go in for the kill on jewllery, sunglasses and her New Year’s Eve masque. If you’ve had this frustration – I have two words for you: posing stand!  You see them in clothing stores in SL quite often and that’s where I got my flash of brilliance.  I kew what they did, but didn’t know the name for the darned thing until I right clicked it.  Sometimes you can get the profile of the creator of an object and/or score it for free or via re-sale.  Unfortunately for the creator of the pose stand, this wasn’t the case with the one I clicked on but I did get the correct term for it. I used the SL search to locate one — but as they aren’t a high cost product and many people seem to want posing stands for modelling and uh, other disturbing-to-bourgeiouse-me uses, it was needle in a haystack time. I find when searching for these generic items, the best place to turn is the Second Life Exchange web site.  It’s an online store that accepts Linden dollars and while the initial business of setting up an account and having to pop over to one of their in-world ATM doohickeys to deposit Lindens takes a few minutes, you’ll save loads of time trolling through overcrowded SIMs (overcrowded with stuff, not people) to find what you’re after. The site search leaves a bit to be desired, but I find if I type in a keyword (posing stand) and then flick to the last page and work frontward, I end up with the simple one I’m after. The stand I got cost $L50 – I think that’s about 75 cents? – and doesn’t interfere with my groovy walk that I bought for a few dollars to replace the default newbie SL waddle.  Plus it elevates my girl so that I can work with everything from shoes to hair without having to re-position her. Here’s the link to the one I found: http://slexchange.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=174284 BTW – the first Prime Minister of Australia was Edmund Barton. The Father of Federation was Sir Henry Parkes. The National Flower is Wattle. Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free. 14 February 1966 was when the currency went decimal. Diggers dug a lot of trenches in Africa, South Australia was the first state to give women the vote in 1894 and I’m going to bed now.
02. February 2008 · Comments Off on Temple of the Gods · Categories: My personal learning journey, Second Life

Originally uploaded by kerryank Today I spent time in the Temple of the Gods sim – one part museum, one part shop, one part nightclub. Wow – the detail was incredible! This is one of the most detailed and immersive sims in SL. A few tweaks and it will reach a 24 karat gold standard. Firstly, the museum needed more interactivity. There is no reason to put re-creations of Egyptian artefacts behind virtual glass and rope – let us play with them! Secondly, there needed to be citations on the information provided in the museum. Those two observations aside — visiting this Sim was an amazing experience and for me demonstrates how close SL is to providing a return in terms of experience and learning on the investment of time and effort to use it. The Second Life URL for this simulation is : http://slurl.com/secondlife/Promised%20Land/72/53/22/?title=temple_of_the_gods A word to those of tender and delicate sensibilities – the nightclub is vampire/goth themed so if you didn’t like any of Anne Rice’s novels, you may just want to stick to the museum and the shop.

01. February 2008 · Comments Off on SMS 61 million times more expensive than email? · Categories: mobile technologies, Technologies
A blogger in the US compares the charge for SMS-ing via his AT&T mobile service against his internet access and mailing services.  Interesting read!