Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goodbye and Thank You

 
I thought long and hard about whether to write any last thoughts here or to leave it as it was, BUT I have a feeling others will make things up or read more into our closure than there actually is......


My reasons for closing the newspaper are simple - Real Life is more important!
Yes there are others who would willingly take over and, in fact, Bixyl has done an amazing job over the last few months BUT sl-newspaper was one mans' dream and one I was happy to be a part of and with his departure and our real lives taking over then its time for SLN to close down.


Over the last 4 years we have had the honour of working with some amazing people and seen so many changes in SL my wish is that people do not give up on the good that can be achieved within these virtual worlds (just look at RFL and all the good it does).


One thing I would hope for the future of SL is that the Lindens go back and realise what they are destroying with their policies. The sheer creativity, communication and international impact somewhere like Secondlife can be is being eaten away by the Lindens stupidly ignoring the content creators with their ill thought out policies which help no-one except their own pockets. 


I would personally like to thank certain people who have helped and supported us
through everything, people like Bixyl, Gemma and Shellie who have continued to work hard for SLN even without guidance, and the many reporters who have written for us in the past plus the many sponsors over the years.

Skybeam and its amazing community has been a home away from home and one place I can always visit and feel welcome.

Nevar and Ame the best friends a person could hope for.

10 Goosson of M&M is another I shall keep in touch with and hope all the best for her future with M&M sculpts and her new home.

To be honest there are just too many to name and those friends I have not named will know I will forever hold you in my heart.

Breezes and Glitter my SL family, I will always be there for you and I am so glad I brought you to SL and a new way of finding your dreams.

One man, James T Juno, brought SL-Newspaper to life and made it one of the widest known and read newspapers in virtual worlds but more than that he made dreams come true, mine in particular, and would like the thank him for that.


"Don't cry because you are leaving, smile because you were there."


Dana Vanmoer
 

All Good Things ...

 

When I first arrived at SL Newspaper, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It was only weeks before in which I had shed the newbie avatar, and made some real friends and a couple hangouts in the metaverse. I was fairly confident I’d be able to do an article a week on something, along with at least one funny picture, but I was still the junior guy. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

In October 2007, it had been just weeks before I truly considered my newcomer status over. I’d shed the old-style ringtail I’d stepped into the Metaverse with and took on the red Luskwood fox as my appearance, found a couple hangouts, and made some good friends. Wanting to know more about Second Life, I searched the ‘net for websites about it. That’s how I found out about Second Life Newspaper. I enjoyed reading it every day, and peeking into the archives. Then I saw an article asking for reader submissions for articles and funny pictures. After sending a few in, Owner JamesT Juno and Editor Dana Vanmoer asked me to the office to talk about a position in the staff.

And the rest they say, is history. 

It’s been a lot of work. I like to write, but I aim to do it well. And whenever writers block set in, it could be a struggle. But I kept up doing at least one article and cartoon a week, and usually did more. My search for things to write about took me all over the grid, and sometimes I didn’t have to look far at all for something. Quite a variety too, from art galleries to sports fields, from churches to adult entertainment, from monuments to roleplays, from politics to science, from clubs to game shows, from “SLeberties” to people noted in real life dropping in on the Metaverse, I can say I’ve written pretty much about all kinds of subjects. And the journey has brought me a few friends as well, people I continue to keep in touch with. And it’s allowed me to give a few talented friends some deserved exposure. 

Been through a bit of Second Life history as well, from the Banking Crisis, to the SL5 celebration, to the VAT rules, to the Openspace mess, to the Presidential 2008 election, to the Adult Verification debate, to the Relay for Life walks, the Burning Life events, and many other events. 

And in the process, learning a little more about being a journalist. 

“What a strange, long, trip it’s been.”

I had a terrific team to work with: Gemma Cleanslate, Breezes Babii, Grey Lupindo, and Shellie Sands. In the past, there was more: Nazz Lane, Alesia Schumann, Delinda Dyrssen, Penance Sautereau, Dashwood Dayafter, Dixie Barbosa, Neuron Bandit, Baron DeSantis,Any1 Gynoid, and many others.

And of course JamesT Juno and Dana Vanmoer, who made it possible.

Sadly, for Second Life Newspaper, the journey is over. It was a great newspaper that both informed and entertained the residents of the Metaverse, and a few non-residents curious about the place. We the staff will very much miss it.

We at the staff have thought about what to do. We could easily find other jobs in Second Life. But I personally have been reporting too long to simply just give it up.

So, I’m prepared to start again.

I’ve created a news blog page at http://slnewser.blogspot.com/  -  “Second Life News.” A small start, but with effort, it can grow to be something big. Chatting with the crew, some have expressed interest in joining up. And once we get sponsors, we truly will be an online newspaper.

There will be a few rough spots along the way in running this new bird. Dana is leaving some big shoes to fill. But being a newser at heart, nothing to do but step forward. If Second Life has showed me anything, it’s that this is a land of possibilities. 

And so, hello to the new newspaper, and goodbye to the retired one. She served us well.

“And that’s the way it is.” Good night from Second Life Newspaper.

Bixyl Shuftan 

 

My Farewell to SLN

 

Shortly after I came to SL three years ago my friend Breezes introduced me to her sl daughter Dana Vanmoer. I began to read the SL-Newspaper, of which Dana was the editor at the time. 
As I visited the many wonderful sites in SL and had so many thrilling experiences I thought to myself, perhaps I could write about some of these places. I talked to Dana and she invited me to be a freelance journalist and submit articles to the paper. It had been a while since I had written but I began and as more articles were published I gained confidence and wrote more.. James T Juno, the founder of the newspaper, interviewed me and my role was enlarged to regular reporter.  I loved doing it and eventually became a frequent contributor.
 I am eternally grateful to Dana and James for allowing me to join the crew and have so much fun. I found the Newspaper to be very professionally run and up on the latest issues that affected sl inhabitants. It will be a great loss to the daily readers. It will be a greater loss to the members of the newspaper family. I will miss the work, the meetings, sharing of ideas. 
 I would also like to thank Bixyl Shuftan for his advice, and support .
 Thank you Dana and James and good life to each of you!
 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Artistic Fimicoloud Memorial Dance


It has been two years since Second Life resident Artistic Fimicoloud, Fimi as she became affectionately known, passed away from cancer. In real life, she was Stephanie Koslow, an artist whom did a number of pictures whose work can be seen in the Metaverse to this day, in both an art gallery and private homes. Battling the illness for years, the woman behind the pink fox avatar kept up to the end. She was 49. A member of the Sunweavers and Passionate Redheads, she remains fondly remembered by both.

A year ago, the anniversary of her passing was marked with a candlelight service. Recently, a number of people in both the Sunweavers and Passionate Redheads have had family members pass away. So instead of a solemn service, it was decided to hold a memorial dance in her honor. The event was held in the Southern Colorado sim near what is now known as Fimi Falls, land owner and Passionate Redhead organizer Daaneth Kivioq explained, I only met Fimi a few times, but I was abel to show her this place, and she fell in love with it - so I dedicated the falls to her memory.

Come join us on Wednesday, May 26th at 6PM for a wonderful live music event
Celebrating the Life & Art of Artistic Fimicoloud. The event will be held by Fimi Falls
in the beautiful Southern Colorado Sim. There will be Music, Dancing and Fireworks!


At the beginning of the event, there was a snag when the musician for the first hour was unable to show op. So Shockwave Yarearch took over, offering a mix of songs, including Smurfer Girl and a few other parodies, Fimi loved my little silly songs. No formal wear was required. Come as you are, Daaneth told people, normal human and furred, dropping in, Im wearing T-shirt and jeans. One lady dropping in had been absent from Second Life for months, her computer busted and then busy with college.

Relay for Life in Second Life
Celebrate
Remember
Fight Back!
GO RELAY

Throughout the event, people talked about Fimi, her art, and her life. A Relay for Life kiosk collected donations as they came in. At 7 PM, Shockwave stepped down and Vaughan Michalak stepped in with live music. At one point, Daaneth handed the crowd a challenge, Fimi spent many years fighting cancer before she lost her battle - as a result, she often hid pink cancer awareness ribbons in her paintings - now a few of you know where it is already - but there is one hidden near here too - can you find it? Several people spotted the hidden ribbon.

At 8 PM SL time, DJ Nydia Tungsten began spinning her mix of tunes. During this time, there was a fireworks show, the sparkle of lights exploding all around. One sparkle of lights didnt fade, but kept going, changing color, occasionally appearing as pink as Fimi. Eventually, the end of the event approached, and Nydia put on her last song, I Run For Life.

As the event closed, Daaneth thanked Nydia and everyone who came, You are all my heroes! thank you for being here tonight! ... FOR FIMI!! Thank you Nydia! And thank all of you for your support and generosity!

Over 34,000 Lindens had been raised during the event for Relay for Life.


I run for hope, I run to feel,
I run for the truth for all that is real.
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife.
I run for you and me my friend, I run for life.


Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 30, 2010

US Army to Use Second Life to Aid Amputee Veterans


The US Army is making plans to purchase space in Second Life for the purpose of helping veteran amputees back into society. Named the Amputee Virtual Environment Support Space project, the virtual space is to be used by the wounded soldiers after they leave treatment centers.

“The avatar will be able to interact with other registered avatar beings – fellow amputees, caregivers, even friends and loved ones – in a virtual world that's unencumbered by the restrictions of time, distance or disability.” One program manager noted amputee soldiers once out of treatment faculties found themselves alone. The virtual world would help provide them with a group of peers for support.

“As AVESS develops, users also may be able to check in with their professional caregivers, asking questions, getting information updates, and even seeing online demonstrations of the best way to do a physical therapy exercise or adjust a prosthetic device.”

The contract was awarded in fall 2009 to ADL Co, "We tasked them with coming up with a roadmap, letting us know what was possible in developing a virtual world for amputee veterans, and letting us know what issues there are in terms of privacy, access, authenticating who was coming into the environment, all those types of issues," program manager Ashley Fisher explained.

The first phase involved a normal Second Life region, to see what they could do there. Their experiences also led to the conclusion they needed a secure area from unauthorized avatars, especially griefers whom would harass the wounded veterans.

"We wanted to avoid that, because we really did want the veterans to be able to go in and express the issues they are having with the people they know are going through the same thing," Fisher detailed, "And also, we needed it to be secure, because we want to try to bring families, and possibly even children, into the world, and we can't really do that on the regular Second Life platform." The area is being set up in a private, and secure, space in Second Life Enterprise , a region for private spaces marketed to corporations.

Fisher made comparisons to the movie “Avatar,” in which a former marine who lost his legs is able to go about in a new body through the use of a machine. She explained she saw “tremendous therapeutic value” in the amputees’ ability to “define their avatars as they choose, and to immerse themselves in those characteristics as they interact with other avatars.”

Fisher expected some to depict their amputations on their avatars with prosthetic limbs, though a number would do so only as they became more at ease with the virtual environment and the others in it. The “transformation” where they would come to “accept themselves and their new appearance” was hard enough when surrounded by their peers in a hospital, but harder when trying to fit back into society.

"For individuals with disabilities, virtual worlds are a powerful way to connect with others, to access peer support and to participate in activities that might not otherwise be possible," Fisher explained. "This project will establish the best way to adopt this technology for the unique needs of the military amputee community."

Source: The Official Website of the National Guard

Bixyl Shuftan