Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jack responds - and shifts the blame!


In the post Jack Linden tells us that he is listening and reading all the feedback - which is good news, but then he goes on to explain something we all apparently missed (including the Lindens themselves):

Update regarding the Openspaces announcement:
I wanted to clarify one issue. As mentioned in the post, Openspaces were intended for space, empty areas of ocean or forest. Take a look at the Knowledgebase article description here. By that criteria, the large majority of Openspaces have more going on than was the original intent. We are not suggesting this is a bad thing, and of course we’re delighted that people have found them to be so useful. And we’re not saying that everyone is abusing resources. We are saying that the use has changed, and continues to do so as people find more creative ways to use them. So the revised pricing is about recognising that change of use and the additional costs and value associated with it.

I would like to ask Jack if he has visited the Nautilus sims? or some of the other well know openspaces owned by Linden Lab as showcases of what they can look like and what use they can be put to. Residents look to Linden Lab for guidelines and examples - Look to yourselves Jack and we will follow - set us Limits we will (in general; there are always some that will push) keep within them - give us prims and land to use as we wish and we will do exactly that.
Why raise the prim limit if you don't want people to live or build on these openspaces?

In this post Jack has basically said the price rise is due to the 'change of use' although in the previous post it was put down to more technical issues - either way Residents are hurt, angry and disillusioned and those not already packing up are planning on selling what land they do have before the price rises take effect, many will lose hundreds of USD with no way to recoup their losses. Already the demonstrations far outstrip the ones that happened due to the gambling ban as this hurts even the little people.
In an already failing SL economy - can it survive this latest blow? Only time will tell.
One thing that has been made obvious is that sign up rates for Openlife Grid are up to a phenomenal rate - residents are looking for alternatives. Without a quick reasonable solution to this issue we could be looking at the death of Secondlife as we know it. After all who wants to be in a world of newbies when everyone else has gone elsewhere to live their dream.
but then he goes on to explain something we all apparently missed (including the Lindens themselves):

Dana Vanmoer

Protests heat up the grid


Several places today crashed on the grid as protests continue against the tyranny of Linden Lab.
Office hours were quickly over run with protesters, but also with those looking to help solve the problems without hitting those that have supported LL throughout all the previous changes like the recent land price drop.
Unless Linden Lab finds a solution that does NOT involve a price rise then I am very much afraid for the future of Secondlife.
Lots of Residents - not just the big land barons - but the little people who saved for months, some for years to be able to afford their own paradise are being engulfed in this mess. How would you feel if you bought a house and a month later your mortgage company told you 'sorry but its now going to cost you 66.6666% more a month'?
Linden Lab listen to your Residents - just for once - in this there are alternatives many solutions have been presented at office hours and on the JIRA - open your ears and listen to your Residents the people that have made this secondlife what it is today. The amazing content creators, designers and builders, the sim designers, landscapers and dreamers that have made the grid (minus the mainland) a beautiful place to be, a place that you show off to the world, a place you are proud of - now you want to rip it all away! YOU made a mistake - YOU messed up - YOU mismanaged the openspaces - WHY do we have to pay for your mistakes?
Find a way Linden Lab - Find a way!

A very sad
Dana Vanmoer

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How do you spell incompetence? (2)


The small controversy surrounding Openspace sims makes me think of an easy comparison in the telecommunications industry at home, in Canada.

By selling a product, not limiting its use and cracking down on its customers, the giant company called Bell Canada alienated many people. Bell offered unlimited Internet access to its mobile phone users but put arbitrary restriction clauses in the contracts. In fact, this made people pay for unlimited use without granting them actual limitless service. Once some mobile phone customers started to use their wireless connection as an unlimited one, they were told that they were not expected to do so.

In a way, Linden Labs' decision to unilaterally upgrade Openspace sims to Class 5 by telling people that they were overusing them is comparable. It offered something that was too good to be true. It made estate ownership easy but did not put limits that would prevent people from adding textures, scripts and objects once there was enough to eat up the sim's performance.

It would have made sense to cap the use of a sim's resources instead of slapping everyone with a forced upgrade. This is yet again an example of lack of foresight from the Lindens.

Here is some of that foresight they badly need: Bell Canada is one of the most despised brands in Canada because it has historically treated its customers in such a way. As soon as competition started offering a credible alternative for home phone services, customers left in droves. On a national level. They took their Internet and television services to the competition's attractive bundles and are now enjoying better customer service.

I ask this for a second time: How do you spell incompetence?

I suggest this answer: an L, an I, an N, a D, an E and another N

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Protests start on nautilus sims


Many are angry upset and confused over the Linden turnabout on the open sims - it seems LL have grossly under-estimated the market for them and now are backtracking fast and those with openspaces are the ones who will have to pay for their mismanagement - click the image to join the protests.
There is also a JIRA - as yet unassigned where you can vote if you disagree with these proposed changes. You can also follow the argument in the FORUMSOne protested stated his reasons:

[13:36] ****: they do pay attention[13:37] dana Vanmoer: apart from raising publicity - which obviously all eyes are on this subject - what do you think this will achieve?
[13:37] ****: there are lindens watching us at this very moment I know this for a fact

Feeling of trust are almost completely gone in Linden Lab and many are whispering conspiracy this coming just a couple of weeks after Linden Lab open the new region for residents.
At the same time came the news that Infinity Lindens office hour was over run with protesters also and those estate owners looking for answers:
Some were actually forthcoming in that Infinity did admit LL is looking into grandfathering.
Simone Stern has the full transcript from Jacks emergency office hours this morning and rather than make another copy THIS LINK will take you there.
In both Jacks and Infinitys office hours there has been a lot of two way conversation going on - that LL are to blame for this mess is undeniable BUT I would like to point out that the price increases are a way off and there is time for LL to find a better solution.
Dana Vanmoer

Linden labs slams its paying customers again!


Yes linden labs have messed up and their paying customers will be the ones who have to PAY for it:

Openspace Pricing and Policy Changes
Openspace prices and fees change on the 1st January with no grandfathering.
Class 4 Openspaces will be upgraded to class 5 in January.
Educator discount is no longer available for Openspaces.
No Owner switching for Openspaces unless it’s a full transfer of Payor.
More proactive education by support staff to prevent unfair resource use by Openspace regions.


Why?
What happened?
According to Jack Linden usage of the openspace sims has surprised them and the load needed to support them is too much. They gave us 3750 prims to use on these beautiful private islands and apparently didn't expect us to use them!

So Openspaces have been incredibly popular as a perk for estate owners, but sadly there is a twist. Unfortunately most of the Openspaces are being used for much more than light use. Based on analysis performed in August and September, Openspaces are being used about twice as much as we expected, in other words being loaded with double the content/avatar load than we’d expect for a region that is supposed to be light use.

That there are unscrupulous users of the openspaces is not in doubt and now it seems, rather than deal with the offenders, everyone on openspaces will have to pay.
At an emergency office hours Jack showed a willingness to listen to idea's that residents presented suggesting a possibility these changes are not set in stone yet - but from past experience Resident suggestions are generally ignored. Linden Lab have showed yet again absolutely no knowledge of the inworld economy.
Jack Linden: okay so here is a question; do you think us pinning prim counts down to say 1500, and limiting script count to 250, would be acceptable if the price stayed as it now? I'm not suggesting this is possible, but I'm interested in your opinionsSome great ideas were forthcoming on ways to combat the problem but the point is that Linden Lab did not foresee this issue showing gross mismanagement and incompetence.
Jack was listening though and this can only be a good thing:
[5:37] Jack Linden: okay, so lets summarise a little: I hear you on OS limits, and I hear you on the other options like free conversions. I won't obviously be making any promises in this discussion which is an ad-hoc one because I wanted to get as much feedback as I could.. but I will take all of this away and discuss it within the Lab. *if* there are outcomes or changes, then we should make those clear sooner rather than later
[5:39] Jack Linden: Lets keep talking. I will reply more in the forums, and I will try to do more sessions like this over the next few days.


Beginning 1st January 2009We will increase the monthly maintenance fee from USD$75 to USD$125 per month. This price increase will apply to all owners of Openspaces on January 1st as well as new purchases after that date. There will be no grandfathering of Openspace maintenance pricing.
This shows a 50% increase in upfront fees and a 66% increase in tier fees!

I spoke with Intlibber Brautigan of BNT holdings and this is what he had to say;
IntLibber BnT: if anything is costing them money its the fact that they offer 195 tier on the mainland that we subsidize with our high sim tier
IntLibber BnT: I'm all for ending the grandfathered rates, puts everybody on a level playing field
IntLibber BnT: ending grandfathering and equalizing tier between mainland and estates will bring in enough revenue for LL that they can cover added expenses.

This is a situation that we will monitor closely. You can follow the discussions in the FORUM and we will try to keep you updated on anything pertinent.
Thank you to Gemma Cleanslate for the chat logs and Intlibber for taking the time to talk to me.


Dana Vanmoer
Source: Secondlife Blog

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why take Torley Linden off the blog?


There are some public relations decisions that sometimes leave us scratching our heads. When you have credible faces in your organization, you want them to be as visible as possible.

Yet, Linden Lab has just done the opposite. By putting recently an end to Torley Linden's video posts on its blog, it removed one of the personalities that brought Second Life a large, friendly contribution from the most natural places where someone can find it.

Currently, the video tutorials page, barely visible in various sections of secondlife.com, buries new videos in a single link. Its RSS feed is not even that visible. Anyone who has grown as a Second Life user by finding Torley's tutorials will remember that those casual blog visits were more worthwhile than they will be in the future.

Unless you do extensive research or commit much time to it, Second Life is an insider's world that is hard to grasp. Torley's videos make the learning curve easier to attack, vastly enhancing new user experience. It also added a much needed friendly and human touch to the LL blog.

Now, a complex virtual world that most new users do not understand requires facilitating methods instead of tightening methods. But hey, who am I to know?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Rape Crisis and Counselling centre opens



Many have read what Penance has to say in our Redlight section, she has strong opinions and a lot of experience but what many do not know is that Penny along with other volunteers run the Rape and Counselling centre in secondlife. I asked Penny to tell me about it:


dana Vanmoer: So tell me about the rape center and how it came about in SL
Penance Sautereau: Well, one day my wife was asleep and I was feeling triggery.
This was about last august, early, No one in my list was on and I needed someone to talk to. So I searched for counselling or peer support for rape survivors figuring SL surely had something. I found all of three counsellors All of whom charged $1500L an hour. And over 60 rape fetish groups
Penance Sautereau: And I was horrified.
Penance Sautereau: So I built the original rape crisis and counselling centre in kot to put free counselling on SL, and to exist as a reminder that Rape is NOT sexy when it's real, and what these fetishists make a fantasy of is a horrific thing when it happens to you for real.
dana Vanmoer: How did you find people willing to help?
Penance Sautereau: Well, my first volunteer came after finding our classified ad and volunteered. One of my SL wives was the second, everyone else volunteered after finding the place, wanting to contribute to what they thought was an idea sl sorely needed
dana Vanmoer: What has the response been like?
Penance Sautereau: Well generally positive, no griefers. We've thankfully only had a few people come needing us. It's the sort of vocation where you're happier to NOT be needed.
dana Vanmoer: Does that make you feel it is not needed here in SL? Or do you feel its because its not known that the help is there?
Penance Sautereau: Well I suppose more advertising could help, but we're the only result in search if you type in "Rape Counselling" so we're not hard to find
dana Vanmoer: I guess its a matter of if you are looking for it you will find it
dana Vanmoer: Are you or any of the volunteers trained to be counsellors?
Penance Sautereau: I'm not, but we specify that up front. Three of my volunteers are actually rl trained and certified though
dana Vanmoer: Do you give those that come for advice information for real life help?
Penance Sautereau: Always. Virtual counselling seems a good start for many because it's less personal, not being truly face to face, but we always recommend towards rl counselling when they're ready
dana Vanmoer: anything else you would like to tell people?
Penance Sautereau: Don't bottle it up, it'll eat at you. If you have these issues you have to talk them out, work through them. Burying them only hurts you. And we're here to listen, and help if we can. And to all you men, remember NO really does mean NO.
What this shows is that the help is out there if you need it. As Penny said RL help is the best eventual solution, but Secondlife allows those that would like to remain completely untraceable the opportunity to get help that they may not do in RL through fear of discovery.
Thank you to Penance for letting us talk openly about a painful subject.
Chatlog colourised with the help of Gwyn’s Colouriser Script

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Jack Linden 'Clarifies' the new Ad farming policy:


In a blog post on the official Linden blog Jack Linden says: 
"In this follow-up blog post on Ad Farming, I will be talking about the new rules. As with my previous post, I’d like to then move the discussion into this thread on the forums so that as many of you as possible can give us your opinion over the next few days.
A number of you have raised concerns over going the formal license route, and we too have come to the conclusion that this isn’t the best option. So instead we are going to cover ad farming activities (and the operating of network advertising businesses) under our Terms of Service, specifically as Harassment under clause 4.1. By Networked Advertising, we are specifically talking about the use of multiple parcels, on multiple regions, for the primary purpose of advertising, usually on behalf of other inworld or real world businesses.
What does this mean? if you operate any such networked advertising business on the Linden Mainland, that breaks any one of the following rules or restrictions, we will consider it to be a Terms of Service violation leading to disciplinary action that can include account suspension and loss of land."


Seen by many as Linden Lab backtracking on the previous policy and again giving in to the large Ad networks on the mainland the new policy raises a lot more questions than it answers as can be seen from the Forum discussion.
Many are disappointed and confused by the lack of a clear cut policy, although this would probably be impossible to achieve or enforce anyway. Not defining an exact policy allows LL as always the option to take action without having to stipulate the 'why'.
It is to be hoped that this will wipe out the ugly sights on the Linden mainland but it is now looking less and less likely:

"We will allow no more than 50 advertising locations owned by a single individual, whether personally owned or via groups in which you are a member, unless you have written permission from Linden Lab to exceed this limit.Use of Alt accounts/groups to circumvent this restriction will be considered a violation.
In addition to the cap, we will allow no more than 1 advertising placement by an individual in any single region."


50 ads spread over 50 regions - with Linden Lab unable to trace alts this seems easily circumvented.
The policy also does not address the land extortion that has been going on for a very long time it is to be hoped that eventually Linden Lab will do something about this too.
The fact of the policy being created at all gives hope - but when up against some of the biggest offenders I can see no way for LL to deal effectively with them. They as always will find ways around it.
Be sure to share your opinions in the Forum, its the only way we really have of getting questions answered when a Linden condescends to join the discussion - but at least there seems to be some ears open since the last forum on this subject.


Dana Vanmoer

Cartoon of the day




By Bixyl Shuftan
Click for full size

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Emilin Nakamori’s Physical Machines



I was in Second Life Friday night when I got an IM from someone, an Emilin Nakamori, “Good evening :) I believe I may have a story that your newspaper may be interested in.” She told me she had made a machine in Second Life that moved without the need for scripts, “specifically, a weight-driven pendulum clock escapement (an escapement keeps the pendulum swinging).” Curious, I chatted with her for a few minutes via IM before heading to where she told me she was, in the sandbox in the Whitmyre sim.

What she told me sounded familiar, and it was. I had met her at her exhibit during SL5B at her exhibit just across the path from the newspaper’s (Events June 27). Meeting her again, I came across a dark-haired lady wearing a Victorian dress with a necktie and Steampunk-style glasses on her head. We greeted one another, her having added a laptop with a Victorian look to her typing animation. Bringing up our last encounter, she told me, ”Oh, the gear demonstrator I had at the SL5B was driven by a script; the excapement is entirely mechanical. I had to set up a pendulum and time its movement to find the proper length here. I apparently got it wrong nonetheless; Sidewinder Linden said I probably didn't make allowances for time dilation :P ... It’s performance is unfortunately erratic; Sidewinder Linden could not offer a possible reason, but, as the saying goes, ‘The wonder of a dancing bear is not how gracefully it dances, but that it dances at all.’ ;) “

She then rezzed the pendulum machine, which slowly went in motion, “Theoretically, that pendulum should have a period of 6 seconds; the mechanism pushes it into a faster period, however.” She had been working on it since late June, and still had to have it assisted by a script. She rezzed another machine, “That is the mechanical clock movement I have worked up; I need to find a constant supply of power to mate the escapement to the movement to have a complete mechanical clock.” She had heard of sailboat races driven by simulated wind in the sims, and wondered it that could be a possible power source, “if the SL ‘wind’ can move a sailboat, why not a windmill?”

Emilin went on, “I have been considering a ‘waterwheel’, which uses temporary physical prims as weights on one side of a wheel. I have a proof-of-concept...” She then rezzed a wheel and ball-dropper that dropped metallic balls on the wheel’s cups, spinning it, “As you can see, there is inertia, but it dies out very quickly.”

I asked Emilin, “Has the changing of the Second Life viewer altered the performance of your machines, as it does some AOs?” She told me, “Not that I know of. I believe Havoc 4 was a much greater factor; several people told me at the SL5B that they had tried working with gears, but they were too unstable to hold together long enough to function.”

She then mentioned another physical machine that had been well received by others, and rezzed what she called a Physical Chain Demonstrator Base, “You click on the rotating arm to start or stop its rotation. If you change the orientation of the base, the script malfunctions.” Commenting at one point, “Unfortunately, I am no scriptor; that is why I got into physical machines ... Perhaps I should have gotten fascinated by something that isn't too ephemeral to sell ;) ... Sooner (usually, alas) or later all of these machines break, even if not left running. The important thing, to me, about these machines is that they interact with the SL environment AS AN ENVIRONMENT, not as a computer program, as a script does.”

Going on, “Designing these machines is a constant juggling of a need for precision and having to allow enough space for collision avoidance, with a bit more thrown in to allow for lag. These machines use server physics time; put a few of the chain demonstrators in a sim and start them up all at once and it would probably crash the sim ;) The first version of the clock movement used 10.1ms physics time; I reduced the gear count and it fell to 5.6ms.” The then noticed one of the machines had stopped, “Foo. The clock's already broken :/ “

Emilin then mentioned, “Desmond Shang, founder of Caledon, decided he wanted me to build him a steam engine, so I made him one.” She then rezzed a piston steam engine about 25 - 30 ft high with the name “Desmond’s Folly,” “He liked the name, anyway; he decided it was too small... “ “So he wanted a more massive engine?” I asked. “Yes.” She then brought out a giant of a machine that must’ve been over a hundred feet tall, “He told me to throw it back and bring me its pappy.” “Whoah! Or the Mother of All SLengines.” I commented. Emilin grinned, “Oh, this is probably one of the largest objects ever made in SL that consists of linked parts.” I saw one of it’s two cylinders fly off, taken off my Emilin, “It DOES work better as a single-cylinder, although once it ran for about 45 minutes :)” “Well, the biggest engine like this that I've seen .... yes, I saw the second one coming apart.” “I ran into the limits of how distant parts can be and still be linked.”

At this point a Bubblesort Triskaidekaphobia walked up, “Still working on it, Emilin, or just showing it off?” “Showing this one off. Its successor is too large to move; I am going to try Rez-Foo. It has a 55m diameter piston...” “Wow! That's crazy! Where did you put it?” “3km over Saint Kitt Islands ... It's not open to the public as yet.” She then rezzed a picture of another engine, a single piston one. But the one clue to it’s *massive* size was standing on it’s wheel, “See the little black speck on the flywheel? It is I ;) ” She told is it was, “Somewhere around 100m tall; its base is 100m square. It would JUST BARELY fit into this sandbox ... Actually, it would have to be taller than 100m; the trapezoidal supports are 60m tall, on a base that is 8m thick. So it must be over 150m tall. A small skyscraper.”

Bubblesort asked if a train could be made. Emilin answered, “That is what Desmond Shang wants to do, eventually; he has someone working on scripted physical ‘steam molecules’ that would expand and contract at a set rhythm in the cylinders to push against the piston; it would have to be a multicylinder engine, though, as a flywheel is essential to keep a one-cylinder engine going past dead center, and with inertia as damped as it is in SL, a flywheel is really just a decoration.” “Could it be done without making steam like that?” “Oh, certainly; these engines here are spun by a rotation script, with the pistons and tie rods moving strictly by physics.”

Bubblesort soon left, and Emilin turned back to me, “The big engine is still going, as a single cylinder. ;) Half an hour, now.” She then told, “The main reason I would like your paper to feature this is so others can find out about it and hopefully work on it themselves; I started a group, Virtual Mechanics, for interested people. I am hoping there are people out there who will take the idea and hit the ground running with it ;) Well, the really big one is under development (basically, it doesn't work, and may never do so), but the one here has been shown to the public. ;) “

“But really,” she looked back at the first machine, “I think the escapement is the important thing, as it does not use scripts at all, yet functions.”

I thanked her, then noticed she had changed the title over her name to “Madgirl.” Being a reader of online comics, I asked her if she was a reader of “Girl Genius” by Phil Foglio. She smiled, and after talking a little about the comic, she gave me a replica of the Heterodyne trilobite emblem.

It was then that the two of us parted ways, presumably the maker of these physical machines, part science and part work of art, going back to business.

Bixyl Shuftan

*  *  *  *  *

This remains a favorite article of mine of my SL Newspaper days as I hadn't seen anything like Emilin's monster machines before, or since. She was clearly one who sought to see how far she could push the limits.  I never did come across her again, but did hear she was the Winner of the June 2011 UWA 3D Art Challenge. Whereever she is now, no doubt she's staying busy.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The “Crazy Tinies” - Loco Poco Avatars




The subject for this week's avatar article is a new brand of tiny av: Loco Pocos. Created by Damien Fate, these tinies were first available earlier this summer. Considering the uber-cutness of the avatar and the variety of facial expressions and emotes, the Loco Poco can only be called first-class, possibly *the* best tiny avatar in Second Life.

Tiny avatars I’ve seen are designed for a cute-factor in mind. Loco Pocos excel at it. The avatars are also designed to be easily customizable, the avatar able to change it’s coat and eye color, as well as able to wear wings and other attachments.

But what sets them apart from others is the ease of use of their animations, coming right with the avatar. The HUD unit allows the player to express a number of facial expressions and full body emotes. The facial features are not static, but change to reflect emotions. Plus they often make sound when emoting. With a press of the button, the avatar can look angry and “grrr,” to laying on the floor and snoring, to crying a shower of tears, to throwing a kiss with a “mwaah,” to a hearty belly laugh, and more.

The name Loco Poco translates to “crazy tiny” in Spanish, appropriately enough. The instructions are also in several languages. It’s also noteworthy that Torley Linden was among the beta testers of these tinies. The store is just in front of the main porting entrance. Avatars are sold in the center, accessories on the edge to the right of the door when entering. Their avatars cost 350L each, most of the accessories 100L. They also advertise an Avatar Rendering Cost (how much computer power it takes to make your avie appear) of 640.

After some thought, I decided to try out the Loco Poco fox. Showing it around to my freinds, they were amused by the versatile tiny, going “Awww” at the sight of it’s emotes. One told me he was thinking of getting one.

Besides Loco Pocos Island, you can also get the avatars at SLExchange.

Loco Poco also has an adventure-filled island, made with these avatars in mind. One that can provide hours of fun. Look for a detailed article of the island in the near future.

A charming little avatar.

Bixyl Shuftan

Dana Vanmoer: September 8, 2008 at 3:30 PM
such a cute avatar even when crying

Monday, August 4, 2008

Michi Lumin: New Luskwood Avatars In Development


Dropping by Luskwood the other day, I found a couple of changes to the place. One was that the rest poseball rug at one side of the platform had been replaced by a few beanbags and a couple couches. Next to them was a vertical chess game. On another side, a small bar had been set up, with two inside acting as bartenders.

After a while, Michi Lumin, one of the four Luskwood founders, showed up. She was not in her Lusk purple dragon avatar, but a skunkgirl avie in a top hat and a dark tomboyish outfit, "... not sure if I want to show anyone ... but, I also want to let people know that 'we're not dead, only resting.' " Michi then rezzed a picture of two avatar heads: hyenas.

Although Luskwood has made some avatars this year, they have been all of the "Bunkies" line. The older "Luskwood Creatures" company's last products were the fruit and vampire bats. Michi commented the "peanut gallery" was saying Luskwood had stopped making avatars, "we're not intending to comply with it. ... This av, the hyena, is also not the only one we're working on."

Of claims by some that the crowd at Lusk could be a little dead, Michi answered there were some upcoming changes that should help the social scene at the Luskwood tree.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, July 4, 2008

SL5B Further Journeys


Going back onto the Second Life Fifth Birthday exhibits, I had heard about the Rezzable Greenies exhibit, so I went over to check it out. Teleporting over, I found myself next to a barbecue area of one of the little green men roasting something over a fire. Nearby is a stand with a robot next to it, where one can pick up a free robot of his or her own. From the campfire some stones lead to a huge birthday cake, which a Greenie UFO crashed it, the same cake featured on the “We’re Turning Five” celebration picture on their website. Not far from that is a large Greenies statue in front of a small public gathering area. According to the rezzable.com website, it’s a “Church of Greenies,” the site of some celebrations during the first week of the two week event.

Just across the road was a Tiny exhibit by Raglan Shire. Inviting visitors to “take a walk on the tiny side,” a few free tiny avatars and items for them were available. Further exhibits showed scenes of Winterfest, the “Tiny Olympics” (July 12 2008), a Tiny Science-Fiction area, and other places. Nearby was also a Tiny airport with free airplanes. The Japanese tinies had their own exhibit next door with some free items.

Not far away to the west was the “Furry Pride” exhibit, presumably from Northstar as when I clicked on a replica of the 50 foot huskygirl macro avie, which sported a short-skirted schoolgirl dress, I got a notecard with some information about them and a landmark to Northstar Islands. Behind the macro is a “Megastompolis City” game in which two players act like movie monsters on a city block, seeing who can smash the most buildings. In front of the macro is a building with a bulletin board one can post pictures on.

I heard about a place called “Down the Rabbit Hole,” so I went over there. It was little more than a hole and a sign. Going down, I was confronted with scenes from out of “Alice in Wonderland.” Clicking on “Drink Me” teleported me to one room, and in there “Eat Me” sent me into a normal looking bar, of which the door led back outside.

I also checked out the Caledon exhibit. The place featured a town in Victorian style architecture, next to a small woodland. Flying overhead was a steampunk zeppelin, pouring out smoke. Going inside the buildings, there were a few humorous pictures, and a free cottage.

These are just a few of the exhibits in SL5B, so go over and see them for yourself.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, June 30, 2008

Going through the SL5B Exhibits



It's not every day SL has a birthday celebration, so I thought looking around at the exhibits might be nice. And where to start? My newspaper's own was as good a place as any. Modeled after our red newspaper box, it stood out from the others. Inside, one could see on the media screen what was on the front page, which on Monday was my cartoon for the day. Heh. The following day, it was even taller, with the nameplates of various reporters along up the winding path.

But there was much more than our own. Just across the sidewalk was a series of gears, a "gear train." The lady there, Emilin Nakamoi, explained this was a mechanical engine that turned not by scripts, but by the motion of the gear on one end, "This machine works with the SL environment as an environment, instead of as a computer program as scripts do." The problem was, in places with a number of people and lag, it often had trouble.

Walking along, I found others by various sponsors, Alcoholics Anonymous was here as was another group for autism. I found a Florida exhibit that looked nice, with the various critters around. The Red Mesa exhibit also stood out with it's rocky hills and Native American object designs.

As I was going on, I got in contact with my friend Kanashi, and hearing where I was she asked for a teleport. I wondered what was up when it was taking a while to rez, then I saw her appear, as a fifty foot macro. We walked for a while longer, then she spotted an exhibit that was also a dance area for an elven group, Elf Circle. Walking over, her huge stature made our winged friends look more elven than ever, indirectly adding to the element of the place. Her size made her unable to dance with that low ceiling, so she just sat down as the elvenfolk greeted her, or tickled her outstretched feet. It was clearly a friendly meeting.

"Come back again. We elves are notorious dancers."

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eye on the blog - Lindens admit mistake over DMCA:


Responding to Questions about the DMCA Process

Linden Lab inadvertently disabled some inworld content this past weekend.
The problem should be fixed now, and we apologize for the inconvenience it caused. If you believe your content was inadvertently disabled, please try re-rezzing it.
If that doesn’t work, please contact Support at http://secondlife.com/support.

Linden Lab has not changed its DMCA policy. For privacy reasons, we don’t discuss the specifics of DMCA notifications with third parties. However, when we receive a valid DMCA notification, we send affected Residents email notice so they aren’t surprised when we remove content from their inventory and inworld locations.
The email notice explains how to submit a DMCA counter-notification to seek restoration of the removed content. Be sure to keep your email address current and make lindenlab.com an exception in your spam filter so you receive notices from Linden Lab.

We’ve received questions about removing infringing items from Residents’ inventory when an inworld location (a region name and coordinates) can’t be provided.
Inventory items may be subject to DMCA claims when the items are sufficiently identified. For example, if you can’t provide an inworld location, provide the names of the allegedly infringing items and avatars.

Linden Lab will conduct a reasonable search for the identified items.

Also be aware that persons who materially misrepresent copyright infringement in DMCA claims may be liable for damages, including attorneys’ fees and costs.
In one case, a company that sought removal of content protected by the fair use doctrine paid over $100,000 USD.
For more on this, see here.
If you’re unsure whether certain content infringes your copyright, we suggest speaking to an attorney before submitting a DMCA claim.
More information about Linden Lab’s DMCA process can be found on our DMCA policy page and in our recent blog post on Protecting Your Copyrighted Content.

Linden Lab’s DMCA policy has not changed, and this information is up-to-date.

DV

Cartoon of the Day




Click for full size
Photo by JamesT Juno

Text from Chat Logs

Monday, June 16, 2008

Griefing at Woodbury


'The particle spam you see is from objects owned by Furnation owner Corsi Mousehold
she has been attacking these sims for the past three days
crashing them
lagging them up with particle spam
Harry Linden, head of the g-team has been ignoring abuse reports filed against her'
So our informant told us as we TP'd in to the loudest noise you ever wish to hear honestly I had to remove my headset!
We asked about to try to find out what was happening :
[14:39] zomg Babii: its a mario moshpit, a old PN particle spammer [14:40] JamesT Juno: who - why - what
[14:40] zomg Babii: corsi mousehold, i spoke with her 2 days ago and he threatened the sim
then i found this stash of modules
[14:40] JamesT Juno: and what was going on
[14:41] zomg Babii: it seems that a troll attacked the ark a few days ago, this appears to be a retaliation, pointed in the wrong direction, yes you can quote me
[14:42] zomg Babii: a number of furnation members and furries have also been caught griefing the woodbury sims
[14:42] JamesT Juno: okay - anything you want to add to this ?
[14:43] zomg Babii: the animosity between our two groups is unwanted by woodbury univeristy, as said by our leader
[14:43] zomg Babii: but it seems the furries wish to start fights
[14:44] JamesT Juno: thankyou
_______________________________
[14:34] **** (anonymous): Harry Linden of the g-team wants a grid war and the furries miss the attention
[14:44] JamesT Juno: proof ?
[14:44] ****: Harry Linden and Plexus linden falsely accused me of copybotting a megaprim owned by michael linden
[14:44] ****: michael has never used a megaprim in his life, is opposed to them, harry has been banning the accounts of reformed former griefers trying to harass them into rejoining the PN
Harry needs to impress the new CEO of LL showing his dept needs resources with griefing dying out, his job is less necessary he may have to do real work for a change
______________________________
[14:46] Madelena Rossini: Basically the first I heard of all this was when I got back from dinner in San Francisco on Saturday to be told that the sims had been attacked and that the folks from Furnation were responsible.
Never being one to jump to conclusions I contacted the leader of Furnation, Corsi Mousehold to try and peacefully resolve it.
What I got in response was a torrent of abuse and a promise that our sims would be taken down permanently. He also made death threats against others. I have just come online now to this, so am not fully in the loop.
Madelena Rossini: He also told me to kill myself
__________________________________
Not long after this Corsi Mousehold showed up and and deleted the spamming objects (a huge relief to my ears)
Unfortunately she refused to answer any questions directed towards her and seemed surprised the objects had her name on them as owner :
Corsi Mousehold: I'll be damned. It is listing me as the owner.
[2008/06/16 15:11] Corsi Mousehold: Scout ... Madelena ... I will speak with you alone. Everyone else in this area is now muted.
_______________________________

UPDATE
I just recieved this in my IM:
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: I Did not build thoise. I did not rez them.
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: I have been shit on all weekend from Woodbury.
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: My stress level is through the roof and my blood pressure is likely to put me in the F****** HOSPITAL at this point.
[15:36] Corsi Mousehold: Woodbury is known .. WELLL known to harbor the B-tards ... Where the Patriotic Nigras got their founding in Second Life.
[15:37] Corsi Mousehold: All a Patriotic Nigra is, is a B-Tard that wants to take shit personally.
[15:38] Corsi Mousehold: Did you get all that?[15:38] Corsi Mousehold:
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: I Did not build thoise. I did not rez them.
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: I have been shit on all weekend from Woodbury.
[15:35] Corsi Mousehold: My stress level is through the roof and my blood pressure is likely to put me in the FUCKING HOSPITAL at this point.
[15:36] Corsi Mousehold: Woodbury is known .. WELLL known to harbor the B-tards ... Where the Patriotic Nigras got their founding in Second Life.
[15:37] Corsi Mousehold: All a Patriotic Nigra is, is a B-Tard that wants to take shit personally.
[15:38] Corsi Mousehold: Repost just in case.

DV

Friday, May 30, 2008

Heaven's Sky Garden Village



All cottages have been placed with care and attention, none are within the 20 meter chatting distance to ensure privacy and all cottages have been picked based on their look and design ensuring beautiful homes for every renter. Prices vary on the size of the houses and prims allowed. After all it is *your* home and should look and feel warm and relaxing. The Village consists of various different styles of cottages and for one lucky person a gorgeous treehouse with its own pool.

 There is also different social areas, the main one being the waterfall area for residents to enjoy.

No premium account is needed for here as We pay LL ourselves and you pay us ensuring everyone in second life gets a home (providing you can afford it of course)

To rent here, check the sign in front of each cottage, the fantasy picture with the house number. This is the rental box too. If it is available, it will say so above it and if it is already been rented the tenant's name will be shown instead. Simply pay the sign to begin your rental and IM either Fortunas Sands, AngelKitten Dreamscape or Schism Kappler to be added to the Heaven's Sky group. Without this any objects you place will return you need your group tag on for things to place down properly and also to set your home position here. Rent can be paid from either one week up to a month.

We are a community  for all whether you be furry, human  or whatever , this place is friendly and open to all, no harassment to anyone because of beliefs/looks will be tolerated in any way.

Heavens Sky, Devoted, (131, 247, 21)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mars Landing Broadcasted in Imzadi Sim




The Mars Phoenix Lander, the latest of NASAs craft to explore the red planet, was confirmed to have made a successful landing on the northern ice cap at 4:54 SL time. Besides at the ISM sim, the landing was also broadcast at the Star Trek themed sim Imzadi.

At the Star Trek Museum Drydock at Imzadi (133, 125, 609), a screen broadcasted footage of NASA TV. Some computer images simulating the lander were shown, but most of the broadcasts were of the control room and it's personnel. At 4:46 PM, the craft began its entry into the Martian atmosphere, and the controllers (and the audience in Imzadi) anxiously waited, knowing that more than half of all landing attempts end in failure. Seven minutes later, the craft activated it's retrorockets, and touched down in a smooth landing, much to the relief of the controllers who burst into applause. So did the audience watching from the Trek sim.

Wabisabi Matahari, the Curator of the Star Trek Museum, as well as her real-life mother, were among the audience. So was Wabisabi's "helper" Edconnect Gulfer, who explained a few facts about the lander.

The Phoenix Lander is considered the best effort to find evidence of life on Mars, designed to examine the soil for life-supporting conditions. It traveled 422 miles over nine months to get to the planet. The craft cost 420 million dollars, not counting an additional 37 million spent by Canada. It was originally scheduled to launch several years ago, but was delayed by budget cuts. The landing site is at 68 degrees north latitude, 233 degrees east longitude in Vastitas Borealis, the Martian arctic. Temperatures will vary from -73 C to -33 C (-100 F to -28F) in the course of the 90 day primary mission.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Second Life Tours Takes a Break


Some of you know about Sean Voss's Second Life Tours group, which once a week went to places in Second Life which got his attention from being unusually detailed, interactive, thought-provoking, or just plain odd. They have been a source of some of my "Explore" articles. I found them to be quite fun and enjoyable.

But on Monday, May 5th 2008, I got this notecard from him.

*****
My beloved tour group! Apologies for not getting a notice out to you earlier today. Spidey told me lots came by for the tour and she had to deliver the bad news. Due to an over active first life with work I'm not able to login to SL much these days. The ongoing technical problems have also been a major issue as well.

So I need to take a break for a few months and hope to return again then. I'm hoping you are able to stay in this group and join us again in the future. The tours have always been a great pleasure for me and want to thank anyone who has come along for one. I'll send a notice if anything changes and a tour is upcoming and when possible forward on any new landmarks that come my way.

Thanks again.

*****

I'll miss your tours Sean. I had other ways of finding out about new places, but you had the most enjoyable way of showing them.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thanks, Lindens


It seems there's been no shortage of troubles in Second Life. Griefers, lagging, blackouts, and all kinds of bugs have plagued the system from the time I first came here. And sometimes I've wondered if the designers, the Lindens, had lost sight of fixing the basics while pursuing fancy new viewers.

But what does one say when a problem that's been with you for months finally disappears?

For as long back I can remember, porting from one region to another had a chance of my avatar not messing up. Everything on me but my clothes would suddenly appear at my midsection, so my head appeared to be up my rear end, my feet were in the front of my pants, etc. It appeared on others, but for a furred avatar like mine, the results were more extreme. I called it "Porting Sickness" or "Motion Sickness." Others had a name for it more to the point, "Headcrotch Syndrome." So quite often, about half the time I ported it seemed, after greeting my friend, I'd say, "Oh, blast. Excuse me a moment, I need to clean up my avie."

It was annoying as heck, and pretty darn inconvenient. Not just for me, but those I went to talk to in-person (or is that in-avatar) other than chat through IM. But there wasn't much I could do about it other than re-rez my avatar and wait. And that's how it went for months.

Then a few days after the new version of the viewer was released, I noticed something. I hadn't had to re-rez my avatar in a while. No porting sickness. When you take a convenience for granted, one certainly realizes when it goes away. A nagging inconvenience that can pop up the next time you travel or not until several times later, well, you may not notice it for some time.

So thanks Lindens, thanks for getting rid of this darn nuisance.

Now, about my friend's inventory issues, could you get rid of the bug that makes her unable to wear her skirts?

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Relay Raiders Charity Dance Goes on Despite SL Troubles, Makes Goal



At  Haute Style & Co. in the Haute Couture  sim, Nevar Lobo, Bcreative Wilde, and the Relay Raiders held a charity dance for Relay for Life. But events made it more than just a simple fundraiser.

An announcement Nevar made gave the fundraiser extra meaning, the passing of Teri LaFollette, "... most of you know a very good friend of ours passed (away) on Thursday ... this event is to help celebrate her life..."

The dance began at 6PM April 4th Friday, and continued through the night with Bcreative as the one and only DJ. Then on Saturday came another problem. The dance had the ill fortune to be scheduled at the same time as  the login mess as the Second Life gird began going haywire at 7:30, and soon after no one else could get in. "I was one of the lucky few who was stuck online," Bcreative explained.

Nevar spoke highly of Bcreative, "she got almost 200 US dollars in online donations for the Raiders ... on top of what is (already) here. She had them listening on winamp and we managed to stay online until they finally closed the grid."

At 9 AM Saturday, those still on were booted out. It wasn't until about 1 PM in which people could log back on, and there were still problems for some hours. Despite this, the Raiders came back on and continued the fundraiser, calling on people to come over and donate for charity.
Pips Fetid remarked, "When the Raiders have an event, they have an event, whether or not SL cooperates."

At 6:30 PM, the Relay Raiders made the goal of passing what the McDunnough Team raised in 2007. By 7 PM, they had passed 300 thousand Lindens. The final total was 304,121L.

After staying up for the 25 hours, BCreative finally hung up her virtual headphones just after 7PM SL time, "(I) was begining to think this was going to be a big flop, but you guys pulled through in the end. ... I love you guys. You guys are my heroes. ... We were up only a quarter of the time. I almost did quit. But you guys kept me going."

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Space Shuttle Landing Viewed at ISM



While the Space Shuttle Endeavor landed at Cape Canaveral at 5:39 PM SL time, March  26, at the International Space Museum (ISM) the landing was seen by those watching the live NASA broadcast shown there.

Set up in the middle of the "Spaceport Alpha" sim, the stage has two viewscreens visible to those whose computers can use Quicktime. Space shuttles and landings are shown when they happen.

The landing had originally been scheduled at 4:05 PM SL time, but weather conditions briefly postponed it. This was probably the reason for the small attendance, "Let them know there were some space gurus here, and could always use others. They'd have a great time, great learning experience."

The Shuttle Endeavor STS-123 mission launched on March 11, at 11:28 AM SL time. Here at the ISM, people had been gathering over an hour before the launch, though the launch time was too late for some (including this reporter) to watch the actual takeoff.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Therapy in Second Life - Support for Healing




I recently stumbled across a mental health therapy group in Second Life - "Support for Healing," based on the sim of the same name: SupportforHealing.

Stated on their card: "Supportforhealing is a group of people that believe that recovery from depression, emotional trauma, and mental and physical illness can be greatly enhanced by loving kindness and friendship. We are not aligned to any religion (our volunteers come from all spiritual backgrounds) and believe in the equality of all people."

Making some inquiries, an interview was arranged with one of the leaders of the group, Industria Dowler.

Bixyl Shuftan: So when did you first get the idea of a support group for mental health in Second Life?

Industria Dowler: Well, the founder, John Palmer (Zafu Diamond in SL) started SFH as a website forum. He figured that people get treatment from professionals, they have families and friends, but sometimes they go home to an empty house and need additional support.

Industria Dowler: At some point he heard about SL and decided to start SFH here.

Bixyl Shuftan.: Did those on the website all come here, or did it start small and grow?

Industria Dowler: I think it started small and grew. Not everyone who uses the forums comes to SL and not everyone who comes to SL uses the forums. But they are both available for people who need them.

Bixyl Shuftan: How many people usually come to the support groups?

Industria Dowler: For the depression groups I run it ranges between 5-30. There are usually more in the beginning of the meeting and they tend to leave slowly and more come in.

Bixyl Shuftan: Are there other groups here?

Industria Dowler: Yeah, there are groups for anxiety, weight loss, relationships, women, and GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) issues.

Bixyl Shuftan: The island itself is pretty detailed. How long did it take to build?

Industria Dowler: I'm not sure. It was mostly built by Luna Bliss along with Zafu and a few others. I know it's gone through changes since I've been here. I imagine there will be future changes at some point since there is some unused space on the island.

Bixyl Shuftan: Do you think the environment helps with the people in your group?

Industria Dowler: I think to some extent. It's easier to feel comfortable in a nice environment. And when people are comfortable they are able to share and can get the support they need.

Plus it's a good place to relax and many members say they feel creative when they are here.

Bixyl Shuftan: Creative? People can build things here?

Industria Dowler: They used to but we've had issues with griefers and people leaving things behind. At some point I plan to make an area on the island dedicated so people can build and whatnot. But people were leaving things all over and it took away from the general aesthetics.

Bixyl Shuftan: Does anything happen on your island besides the group sessions?

Industria Dowler: People often hang out here. Occasionally, we've had other events. Last year we had a celebration for summer solstice and we had a DJ and there were other events.

The Thinkers host their meetings here although they aren't affiliated with us. The founder is a Buddhist so he has a small parcel dedicated to talks about Buddhism. There is also a member who hosts a discussion group about Buddhism occasionally.

Bixyl Shuftan: How did the Celebration for the Summer Solstice turn out? Was that the most unusual thing that happened here?

Industria Dowler: Apparently, there was a great turn out and they said it was a lot of fun. I couldn't make it myself. :(

Unusual? Probably compared to the typical support groups. We try to do something fun and relaxing once in awhile. I'd like to set up a part of the island for people to play and hang out. No set plans for that yet, though.

Bixyl Shuftan: Back to the sessions, what would you say were among your more unusual cases?

Industria Dowler: Well, I don't like to go into detail about other people's personal things but we deal with the whole gamut. Mild symptoms, severe symptoms, medication issues and questions, questions about therapy, people feeling suicidal. But we always encourage people to see professionals because we can't take the place of that. We can only improve the healing process by being here for people to talk or listen.

We get people with serious RL issues, people who want to discuss SL issues, and of course griefers.

Bixyl Shuftan: I take it the griefers can be downright annoying.

Industria Dowler: They can, but we take care of them quickly.

The group's website is www.supportforhealing.com . To join the group in Second Life, just use the Search for it, and join. The current membership was listed at over 850. The group also accepts donations, "any donations, even a single linden are welcomed. You can make donations on the island via the 'wells', Zafu Diamond, Twickle Rosebud, Specky Zaftig, or Industria Dowler.  Also look for our fundraising vendors on the island where you can purchase items and the proceeds go to SFH."

"Thank you so much!"

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Baron and I, Part Deuce



When my fellow newsies and I had our scheduled meeting, one of the sticking points was Baron DeSantis being in the slammer in Ghul Prison. After IMing him through the cell phone he managed to find, we decided to try to teleport him over. It worked, and he was able to stick with us part of the time, including the group photo in which he sported a collar. With other furred folk often sporting ones of their own (much more comfortable ones) and myself not usually having one, I couldn't help but find some amusement in it.

But Baron couldn't help but look over his shoulder. I suggested that he just avoid the Ghul, but he felt he couldn't avoid them, so the best thing was to teleport back into his cell to avoid a serious pummeling. And if he wasn't spotted, he'd get off scot-free. So we sent him back, hoping this was the case.

Later on, I got a call from him via the IM. After initial greetings, it seems he hadn't made a clean entry after all.

Baron DeSantis: I've been a bit tied up (no pun intended) at the prison. Got really in trouble when I got back from the newspaper meeting. A judge saw me TP back and went ballistic.
Bixyl Shuftan: Oops.
Baron DeSantis: Big oops, he was the one that slammed me in iso in the first place.
Bixyl Shuftan: Not often someone gets in trouble for breaking IN.
Baron DeSantis: It was the 'going out' that did it (laughing out loud).

It was then that he spotted that very judge approaching the cell, so he had to hide the cell phone. He called me later with an update on his situation.

Baron DeSantis: Jeez, he's letting me out of iso EARLY, 2 days early.
Bixyl Shuftan: Well, a little good news.
Baron DeSantis: Yes but why is the worry.
Bixyl Shuftan: Hmmm, hopefully just to make you wonder why.
Baron DeSantis: Scary place the tower. *shivers*

We talked about options on what to do. With the gun turrets and attack helicopter, it was unlikely an aircraft or dragon could get anyone out from the yard. With escape unlikely, perhaps he could at least find out about those who tried to pass the time.

Bixyl Shuftan: Hmmm, I suppose for a story,  you could always ask the prisoners about the more spectacular escape attempts.
Baron DeSantis: great idea. I was given an inmates confession, but it's too much, even for red light. *shivers* ... she is a cannibal you see.
Bixyl Shuftan: Uh oh.
Baron DeSantis: Keeps trying to hug me an' give me a love bite - aaaaarrrrrrrrrgggggggh.

It would seem even if he does get out, arranging a date with him and a vampire batgirl would not be a good idea.

He was silent for a few more minutes, then:

Baron DeSantis: Sorry, was talking to head guard, has come to take me back to general population yippee
Bixyl Shuftan: Hopefully that's good.
Baron DeSantis: Free, well kind of (laughing out loud).
Baron DeSantis: Back in the sun and fresh air.

It was then he got a look outside.

Baron DeSantis: Jeez, they have made the walls even higher now.
Bixyl Shuftan: Oh? Hopefully you still have showers and sink.
Baron DeSantis: Need a shower for sure, damn better check the sink ... oh and they even put in a washing machine because I complained my prison uniform was smelly (laughing out loud).

It was about this time I had to depart, and had to cut the call short. Baron didn't mind too much, with his luck having gotten a little better for now, "See you later, boyfriend."

Boyfriend? O.O *meep*

Somehow, the lady cannibal doesn't seem so scary now.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sparks Ignite Reopens



Sparks Ignite was originally opened in the Star Bright sim by Sparklin Indigo in January 2008. Part of the inspiration for it's name came from the dance floor, dazzling stars and lightning arc effects. It did well, and hosted parties almost every night.

But at March 1, Ignite had to close it's doors and move. "I'm going to miss Star Bright," Sparks told me, " 'Sparks Ignite and Star Bright' had a certain ring to it." So she found a new place, at the Deyo sim, which may make some think of that one Jamaican song, "Daaaayyyyyo." Sparks went to work on rebuilding the club. And on Sunday March 9th, it officially reopened, with StormShadow Maertens as DJ.

The club as the same dazzling dance floor as before, along with the dance ball and several pairs of dancing poseballs. It still has the couches where one can sit between dances, able to adjust their position on them. But it also has something new, a couple of floating platforms which one can hop on and dance on as they tilt.

The parties at Sparks Ignite can range from mild to wild, themes ranging from Country Music Night, to silk dances where little is left to the imagination. The Truth or Dare question machine can certainly make for some candid moments, and a few of the regulars are known for pushing the limits with skimpy costumes during certain themed parties and occasional antics. But outright gratuitous nudity and obscene behavior are grounds for being asked to leave.

And the DJs Sparks has over are first class, from StormShadow, to Blarion Gazov, OtisDriftwood Vollmar, Nelliehope Heron, Pixiedust Darkstone, Mawam Klabov, and others.

Says Sparklin, "I want Sparks Ignite to be a place that everyone that comes here, has fun, and knows that they are among friends!"

So for a dance party with lots of spark, head to "Ignite."

Bixyl Shuftan