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  -  “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
Fight Back!

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

Friday, April 23, 2010


By Bixyl Shuftan

Those with a fascination for Steampunk, fans of the classic novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” or even just a simple interest in either, may want to head to a certain place in Second Life: Nemo.

The entry point is a metal platform, with a walkway leading to a metal tube poking up through the surface, a doorway open and leading to an elevator. One can take the elevator down, and find oneself in the middle of an undersea city. The structure is done in the style of the Victorian era, but with strange machines mixed in. Near the entrance is a model of the complex, which can help in seeing where one can go while down there. There is also music in the background, which was a bit haunting at times when I was there.

The underwater complex is well detailed. Some rooms are simple living quarters in which one can sit on a couch by an amp and read the books of the day. There is also an occasional portrait of a notable person, appropriate to the setting, at the time, such as scientist Nikola Telsa. There is also an organ in one

In other places in the structure, one can look at electrical and plasma-filled equipment fit for a mad scientist’s lab. There are robots in the place, resembling sea creatures, in various stages of assembly, as well as sketches of the contraptions on the wall. If one looks outside, an occasional working model can be seen moving through the water. There are also other machines for use outside the lab, such as a fortune-telling machine. The machines are done in good detailed, sometimes with moving gears and other parts.

Nemo was built by Sextant Shepard, a French journalist in real life. In the Linden Blogs, he stated he was working on another area, the Oruchalcum Mine. Nemo itself is still a “work in progress,” evidenced by a closed door with a sign at one point.

A fascinating sim that anyone who’s read the works of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells will enjoy.

Nemo is at the FRANCE3D futuna sim at (91/148/21).

Someone also did a Youtube of the area, which one can see: Link.

*  *  *  *  *

Addition: Nemo was one of the last places I would cover for James and Dana's Second Life Newspaper. This sim received a good deal of praise for it's design. It was featured in the destination guide and mentioned by Linden Lab as a key place to go to. More was built after the article, including scenery above ground, so I went back to see the new additional areas. Sadly, it didn't stay up for very long. In a matter of weeks, it was gone. I would go back once more for a few more pictures before it faded away.

Bixyl Shuftan 


Thursday, April 22, 2010

M Linden Appears on “The 1st Question” Game Show

About a year ago, Second Life Newspaper took a look at Pooky Amsterdam’s “The 1st Question," a game show in Second Life shown on someone called “a cross between having lunch with Albert Einstein and ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ “ Since then, the show has continued to appear every Tuesday at 7 PM SL time, always drawing a packed audience, and having among it’s contestants a number of noted residents, some well known, some important, and a few whom were both.

On Tuesday April 20, the contestants included one of the more well known residents of the metaverse: M Linden, aka Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon.

The other contestants were Sydney Caramel (real-life journalist Boonsri Dickinson), FutureGuru Haiku, and Professor Springflower. But all eyes were on M Linden. The center of the room had been circled with “M”s as well. So the question on our minds was, would the CEO come out on top, or end up getting his tail kicked? A couple people in the audience joked that a Linden loss would result in the sim suddenly disappearing.

The sim was packed more than usual, with 66 residents in the place at one point. This caused lag and other complications. Some residents crashed and were unable to get back in, including Sydney Caramel. Co-host Hydra Shaftoe later commented he should have capped the avatar limit at fifty or fifty-five. So it was up to two other contestants to stand up to the head Linden.

But with the first few questions, it was becoming clear M Linden was holding his own, able to answer tricky puzzles. Although the others were ahead in points at the start, M soon took the lead and held onto it, eventually winning the show. It is unclear what prizes M Linden won from his victory on the game show.

The archived episodes of “The 1st Question” can be seen Here , with the April 20th show most likely appearing on their within a few days.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TRP360 Up and Away at Sialimonus


It is always wonderful to go exploring and find a new astonishing site I have never seen before. I arrived at the entrance of an ethereal Stonehenge. The view is of an airy gossamer Stonehenge with the universe circling. “Turn around “ I was instructed and touch everything. So I did.

Off I went into space with my first tap, following a meteor ‘s trail around and around. I found a lineup of the planets, and sat on a few that again sent me off into space in various dances and poses. It is great fun to walk - run in space Asteroids bumbled through the air, barely missing the site.

Back on the ground, I spied a teleport to the “Fun House." Hah! I cannot tell you much about that journey, not wanting to spoil the experience, but get ready for an escapade that will take you through mazes that really amaze!!! Make sure you have time to enjoy, or you will need to revisit this experience again and again , trying to solve the way through. Look for a happy face to guide you. You will smile back.

Back at the entrance you will find a teleport that will bring you to other magical sites. Enter and enjoy!!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, April 19, 2010

Breezes Thoughts

First view of the morning is delightful for me. 
where shall I roam this day to see. I have a craving for sweets you see. ah I know exactly where to go. Follow me if you please. 

Is this anyway to camp??
even the bartender is ignoring me.
Mercy sakes Bree you are losing it.
I know, but whats a girl to do?
I asked for a drink , he said get it yourself little lady. I raised my glims at him and the look went squinty. finally Igot my drinks.
Just goes to show. Persistance is what it takes. 
Now here is my craving satisfied? No not quite. haha but It is close.
Munching on Jellybeans standing amongst the hedgehogs that like to bite my Saadi. and the peacock squawking at him as he frowns mightily. Me in latex and a western hat and gun waiting to venture to a mixup contest. This is the way I go tonight.
Variety of stuff I can get into?

Breezes Babii

Sunday, April 18, 2010



Biosphere is a whimsical and environmentally beautiful spot to visit. The small area is a treat for the senses-- tall green grass, a bright blue pond, and the pleasant sounds of singing birds.

When you arrive, you will find yourself on an island. Before you cross the swinging bridge, be sure to look for the turtle swimming in the pond. Across the bridge is Mocha, a shop filled with country inspired clothes, accessories, and furniture. Watch out for the animals as you approach! The whimsical Gmoks will talk, or at least grunt, if you touch them. A pair of llamas, which are rare in SL, graze contentedly nearby.

But the real treats are inside Mocha. On the first floor are sweaters, shoes, and lots of quaint clothes. One unusual feature is the demo mode that lets you see exactly how the shoes will look and fit before you buy. No more wasted Lindens buying the wrong shade or the wrong heel height!

I also liked Mochás rings, which sell for only $10L. There are 3 designs in 16 different patterns available. The fun part is that the ring you get will be a surprise–they are given out randomly. You may not get your favorite the first time, but at this low price you can afford to try again.

On the second floor there are country style textures, carpeting, wallpaper, and tile for sale. It even looked like the farm house could be purchased. The back room has a small selection of country furniture, too.

If you have additional time, there are two smaller outbuildings next to Mocha. One of them sells butterfly tattoos. Enjoy Spring and wear it, too!

Grey Lupindo


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Little Dove RFL Steamclub Opens

The Southern Colorado sim is noted for being a location for Relay for Life events, notably Hope Gardens. It now has a new place to hold events. On Monday March 5th at 4PM SL time, Club Little Dove held it’s Grand Opening.

Club Little Dove’s creation is due to one lady: Nydia Tungsten. She constructed the club in four levels, with the top level originally a pilothouse, but later changed to a landing field. The place was designed with a Steampunk look (for those unfamiliar with the term, think H.G. Wells and Jules Verne). There were features such as the main dance floor showing turning gears underneath, 19th century dials and huge lightbulbs making up much of the equipment, carved wood and stained glass making up much of the walls and furnishings, the occasional steam-age gadget or vehicle, a few hookahs around the place (the Victorian-Era had a libertarian view on drugs, and in some ways encouraged their use), and others.

The official name of the club is Her Majesty’s Airship Little Dove, or HMAS Little Dove. Club Little Dove is named after a former resident in Second Life, who sadly passed away last year. She was the real-life partner of a close friend of Nydia's, “she was devastated.” Nydia saw the naming of the club in her honor as, “just the right thing to do.” Nydia is part of the "Passionate Redheads" Relay group, but says the club is open to all RFL groups.

On Monday, the club was up and ready for it’s opening event,Relay for Life’s Daaneth Kivioq sending out an invite, “Commodore Tungsten invites you aboard the HMAS Little Dove, now flying high above Hope Gardens in the beautiful Colorado Sim! We will be celebrating the Grand Opening of this new venue with a Steampunk Ball. Music will be provided by two of SL's finest DJ's - Dusk Griswold from 4PM to 6PM, and the Commodore herself, Nydia Tungsten from 6PM to 8PM. All Proceeds from this event will go to benefit the American Cancer Society. Please join the Passionate Redheads as we launch the HMAS on her maiden flight!”

And so after 4PM SL time, the dance floor was soon full of men and women, both normal human and furred avatars, dancing away. There were no tip jars out. There was only the Relay for Life kiosk, which people chipped into. Although the theme of the party was Steampunk, which called for Victorian fashion, the music as thoroughly modern with a variety of music from the 70’s to today. “Rocky Mountain High” got a few chuckles, “Appropriate that we play this song, as we’re in the Southern Colorado sim.”

And of course, “I Run For Life” played as well. It played twice, the second time near the end, with Nydia calling out, “I run for life ! I run for Little Dove! I run for Fimi! I run for my Stepfather! Run for them all, and remember them all!”

Club LIttle Dove is in the Southern Colorado sim at (187, 37, 1002). During it’s construction, it’s location changed from where it began.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The RFL Luskwood Bennefit Concert and RFL Cross-Country Race

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Clothing Fair was not the only event for Relay for Life on Saturday, March 20th. There were others, among them a concert and a race. That afternoon, there was a benefit concert in Luskwood, and there was a cross-sim snail race.

At 12 Noon SL time, Luskwood held a concert for charity, to take in donations for the Relay. The event was held at the stage near the Great Tree.

From noon to 2:00 PM, come join us to listen to the awesome musical stylings of Frogg Marlowe and Jaycatt Nico for an hour, followed by the excellent voice of Alessandra Eberlain and her wide variety of songs for another hour. And, of course, don't forget to donate!

For the first hour, Jaycatt and Frogg performed for the audience. Jaycatt played the piano, while Frogg sang and strummed his guitar. At 1 PM, Alessandra took to the stage, her voice filling the airwaves. Lomgren Smalls and Daaneth Kivioq, whom helped organize the event were there, as was one of the Luskwood founders, Michi Lumnin.

“Thank you Daaneth, Lomgren, for putting this all together. ... My Grandfather died of lung cancer.” “Lom did all the work.” “Please help us fight against Evil! Please donate to the Kiosk in front of the stage! CANCER CAN BE BEATEN!!!”

At 2 PM SL time was the start of the Relay for Life Giant Racing Snail Cross-Country Race. The giant snail races are held regularly in Second Life every week by RacerX Gullwing. Usually, the snails are decorated to whatever the rider wants, and are held on a course. This time, the shells had to have large RFL signs on the sides, and the race would be held though a long stretch of road on the mainland, through over forty sims.

Thirty-six racers took part in the race. It took only a few minutes for lag to break up the line of snails, and the track went through towns, forrest, went over bridges, looked at by more then a few curious onlookers, went by places such as the Berlin’s Museum of Art, and more. After about forty minutes, Tindallia Soothsayer was the first to reach the end of the course, “thanks to lag and the last turn.” She had somehow avoided a bout of lag that slowed everyone else, and beat the next snail by over a minute. Following the race, a replay was shown in another sim for the racers and others.

The next RFL snail race will take part through sixty sims.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, March 22, 2010

Svarga Back in Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday afternoon, March 21, just after logging on I heard some great news. The Svarga sim was back! I looked it up on the map, and there it was, so I ported over. And there was a sight I hadn’t seen in many months. What some people called one of the Seven Wonders of Second Life was back.

Svarga was started early, around 2004. By 2006, it was complete and further construction ceased. It’s creator, Laukosargas Svarog, created a grand island of waterfalls, mountains, rivers, stone temples, and the artificial life experiments, the “Eco System” project, gave the sim it’s own cycle of life, with clouds raining on the plants, bees pollinating, and occasionally eaten by a flytrap lily, and other aspects. It was considered one of the most ingeniously built places in the Metaverse. More can be read in our April 2007 article .

In December 2008, Laukosargas made her decision to look for a buyer for Svarga. Running the sim was just too expensive for her, she felt, and Second Life seemed no better to her than when she first went about on it.

Some months later, the sim vanished from the map. It seemed that this wonder of the Metaverse had vanished into the virtual nether forever, much to the sadness of many who had seen the area and marveled at it’s details. Until now, that is.

Checking Laukosargas’s profile, she says the sim has a new owner, even though Svarga still lists her as in charge. She also asked not to be contacted, saying she plans to return to Second Life only sparingly, once in a few months.

As time goes on, someone will figure out exactly what happened and what we can expect. But for now, we can take heart that once again, this gem of a sim is once again open for visits, and not just a memory.

The entry point for Svarga is at .

By Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Virtual World to Close

In an announcement on March 2, 2010,’s CEO Mike Wilson announced the virtual world would be shutting down on March 9. Wilson cited the troubled real-life economy as the reason for the decision.

 “'s customers were hardest hit by the recession, and, so was There. While our membership numbers and the number of people in the world have continued to grow, there has been a marked decrease in revenue ...  at the end of the day, we can't cure the recession, and at some point we have to stop writing checks to keep the world open. There's nothing more we would like to avoid this, but There is a business, and a business that can't support itself doesn't work. Before the recession hit, we were incredibly confident and all indicators were "directionally correct" and we had every reason to believe growth would continue. But, as many of you know personally, the downturn has been prolonged and severe, and ultimately pervasive.”

There was launched in October 2003, not l ong after Second Life. It was founded by Will Harvey, whom was noted for writing the first commercial sheet music processor for home computers “Music Construction Set,” and work on several computer games. The Instant Messenger IMVU was also founded by Harvey. Jeffrey Ventrella was There’s co-founder, noted for his programs on artificial life, whom later worked as a developer at Linden Lab.

In it’s early days, There did well, possibly because of the prestige of it’s founder and starting out with more funding than Second Life. But it soon ran low on finances, and Second Life gained the media spotlight. It ran into trouble starting in 2004, and in 2005 the company split in two, Makena Technologies which continued to operate the virtual world, and Forterra Systems, which concentrated on “private and secure” virtual worlds for government and corporate clients.

There distinguished itself from Second Life as a more family-friendly place with “controls on adult content and griefers,” which attracted some users too edgy of it’s more noted competitor. It also aimed at teenagers, whom were too young for Second Life’s main grid. The language on it’s info page included, “Feeling awesome today? You can look awesome. Feeling like you want to make some heads snap around? You can look knock-down gorgeous and totally buff.”

There also advertised itself as more corporate friendly, having places such as Club Scion and Coca-Cola Skate Park. In 2006, There partnered with MTV. Other brands with a presence in There include Cosmogirl, The Humane Society, Paramount Studios, and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Like Second Life, residents of there moved about in avatars, and could communicate in text and private Instant Messaging, or voice for those with Premium accounts. Unlike Second Life, avatars could only be modified from a basic human form: hair, skin, and eye colors, head and body shapes, etc. Avatar graphics were a little simpler than those on Second Life as well. People could get around on foot, or on vehicles such as buggys , and hoverboards. There was an emphasis on sports, such as the paintball games in the video on There’s introduction page on it’s website. There were also virtual pets, although limited to two breeds of dogs.

There also had it’s own virtual economy, with it’s currency called “Therebucks,” which could be bought and sold from and to the company, with one US dollar equal to 1,800 T. There were also virtual banks, which unlike Second Life remained legal on There. People with Premium memberships could build and sell items, such as buildings and vehicles, as well as being able to own and rent homes. There had it’s own newsletter at

Unlike Second Life, There was never available to Mac users.

In Second Life, Torley Linden named his personal sim “Here” as a tribute to There. The surname “Thereian” is also available to Second Life residents.

In the statement, Wilson stated there would  be refunds on “All purchases of Therebucks and member program updates” between February 1 and the moment the closing was announced, “We will attempt to continue a Therebucks buyback for developers.” There also appeared to be a subtle jab at Second Life, “many things ... made There special, accessible, and attractive to people from all over the United States and the world -- not just the privileged with high-end machines and broadband connections.”

There have been a number of comments by former users. One “on again off again” user felt there were several reasons for it’s decline, including that suggestions for new activities were often ignored, and the corporate endorsements to make up for a stagnant membership might have brought in cash but also ruined the “ambience” of There, and some changes “helped kill off some of it’s most popular activities and communities ... One of the last lingering, saddest memories I had before quitting There was to see the once thriving hoverboard park a ghost town.” More common were expressions of sadness over the loss of the virtual world.

Of final thoughts, those from CNet writer Daniel Terdiman are as good as any, “For me, though I hadn't gone into There for quite some time, I always enjoyed the idea that I could go back in, jump in my wonderful hoverboat and go for a nice long ride. I recall the early days of There when there were regular hoverboat flotillas and when you could easily find people riding around on flying dragons. To all the fans of There who will now be without a digital home, there is perhaps only one suitable salutation: 'wave. “

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, February 27, 2010

New Third Party Viewer Policy Runs Into Backlash


At the same time as the Beta of its new viewer, Linden Labs also announced a new policy concerning the use of third-party viewers in general, such as the Emerald viewer. The Lindens say they are willing to accept the use of these viewers, though a number are raising questions about the wording of the policy.

The policy was a long list of legalese that this blue collar worker in real-life found hard to understand. Going through the Linden blog, readers expressed similar confusion. Some thought things looked fishy.

Well, not one single instance or version of the 3rd-party clients that I have ever seen or used can meet a strict interpretation of the new rules for an "approved" client, So you have, despite all your noise to the contrary, effectively banned ALL 3rd party clients, as they exist today. At least, banned their use by anyone that plays by the rules. The thieves will still use fake tags and pretend to be an LL-approved copy of Snowglobe and have a field day.

And you know what? LL's OWN CLIENTS can't pass those restrictions!

One of my friends came to me. He thought that the Lindens were making the use of a third party viewer punishable by suspension or ban, and pointed out an entry in the Boy Lane blog. Boy Lane called herself one of the people behind one of the 3rd party viewers, and had this to say:

What happened now however is going way too far beyond a reasonable policy. Besides making some clear statements about content "backup" LL also introduced some funny terms they could not legally enforce previously. Such as not using the generic term "life" which one has to explicitly agree upon by signing LL's new policy.

But unfortunately not all can be labeled "funny". To come to the (at least in my opinion) main point. LL introduced one killer clause:

7. Your Responsibility for Third-Party Viewers
If you are a user or Developer of Third-Party Viewers:

a. You are responsible for all uses you make of Third-Party Viewers, and if you are a Developer, you are also responsible for all Third-Party Viewers that you develop or distribute.

What this means is that a viewer developer has to take (legal) responsibility for any action of any viewer user. That's something GPL specifically allows to exclude, now LL forces such responsibility back to software developers. It is pretty much impossible for anyone to take such a responsibility. Besides many other questionable points this clause renders the whole 3rd party viewer policy unacceptable.

Boy Lane stated she refused to comply with the new policy, and recommended others stop using third party viewers, saying they were risking being banned from Second Life.

Tateru Nino in Massively called the new policy, "the worst day's work that we've seen come out of the Lab to-date. ... the TPV policies have a number of glaring flaws, chief among which are multiple incompatibilities with the existing source licenses, so that you can't actually build and distribute a viewer from the open source code-base while simultaneously being in compliance with the TPV policies. That's quite an astonishing oversight. In fact, not a single release of the source-code made by Linden Lab to date complies with the TPV policies. An unmodified build from the trunk code-base would be violate the policies as they presently stand."

Why were the new policies so poorly written? The question was summed up between comments between Tateru and one of her readers. He thought the Lindens were too proud to admit that their viewer was inferior to that others could build. Tateru thought this wasn't the case, but rather a blunder, wondering if, someone on the legal team just phoned this in half-asleep.

Word is, Soft Linden is writing up a more clear policy. Hopefully this will clear up a good deal of confusion and suspicion, and quiet fears the Lindens are trying to ban third-party viewers without saying so.

To go to the Linden Blog post, Click Here

To go to the comments, Click Here.

Other sources: Massively, Boy Lane


Friday, February 26, 2010

Virtual London

One of the great things about Second Life is that you can travel anywhere in the world without suffering jet lag or having to eat airline peanuts. I decided to take advantage of this and visit London last week. I started at the London Freebie Store. (Knightsbridge, 108, 114, 22)

They have some great clothes at a great pricefree! The selection for gals is awesome. Dresses, pants, shoes--even British hair. For the guys there are business suits, a tux, and some cool shoes. There are so many Ts they are boxed in Collections and found at two locations, London Freebies and the Knightsbridge Club. I picked up all 5 Collections. You can never have too many Ts!

The t-shirt collections have something for everyone, especially music fans. Elvis, The Beatles, Kiss, Led Zepplin, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead, and more. There is a T for every taste. There are lots of free jeans to go with them, too. As soon as I put on a new outfit, I was ready to tour London. 

My first stop was the Knightsbridge Department Store (231, 126, 22). There were no freebies here, but beautiful evening gowns, Bridal gowns, and some boots to die for.

Just down the street is the Underground Club (Knightsbridge, London 175, 135, 22). With brightly colored lights and lots of dance balls, it looked like a great place to party. I was there at an off-time for the Brits so I had the dance floor to myself. But even at an off hour, the lights and music were great.

Further down the street was a SL Sister Cities display. A variety of sites were listed: Moscow, New England, Munich, Luxembourg, Swiss City, and others. The teleport looked like a convenient way to try out some other sims, but I didnt check it out on this trip. I still had a lot left to see in London.  

At the edge of the town I found a replica of the UK Military Memorial Park (London England UK 99, 26, 25). It was small, but very interesting and moving. There were rows of crosses listing the name and service branch of many of their fallen heros. At the base of the memorial, some SL residents had left crosses for their loved ones.

No visit to London is complete without a visit to Hyde Park. (Hyde, London England UK 159,228, 21) At SL Hyde Park there was a Memorial Garden and a Tribute to Princess Diana. A Royal Parks Donation Box was there to collect Lindens and help maintain the RL memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales. Nearby is an Orientation Hub for new residents and a sand box, too.
Grey Lupindo

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second Life Viewer 2.0 Beta Released

Theres been some talk about it in recent weeks, wondering what it might bring. Well, its finally arrived. The Beta for Second Lifes Viewer 2.0.

Today, we're excited to announce the launch of Viewer 2 Beta, the next generation of Second Life viewers -- combining an easy browser-like experience with shared media capabilities -- providing what we believe is the best experience yet for accessing Second Life, and a new option to choose from among Viewer 1.23 and other Third Party Viewers. We looked carefully at the experience design of other successful social media and technology platforms--such as the web browser, Facebook, the iPhone, Twitter, etc.--and the key elements that enabled them to reach mass adoption. You'll see much of that thinking baked into new Viewer 2 experience design. Our primary goal was to create a more consumer-friendly viewer--an imperative to bring in a new wave of Second Life Residents. After all, more people in Second Life means that there will be more amazing content, more customers to purchase virtual goods, a thriving economy, more friends and communities, and we can do even more to improve the experience. All very good things for all of us.

Taking a look, I saw they remembered Mac users, and downloaded the beta viewer. It was notable that the icon had a yellow bar with black stripes on the side, as if to signal under construction. It took a minute for the viewer to initially appear after double-clicking on the icon, though later on it came on normally. One friend when downloading it only got a string of binary code.

I managed to log on okay, but my friends list was a bit quirky, people listed as waiting, and I was cloudy. Eventually, the list appeared, though some were listed as offline whom later turned out were on. When I logged on later, there was no waiting period. My avatar remained a cloud, even on the second time I used the beta. So it looks like the beta needs improvement there.

Using the new viewer took some getting used to, and the side-to-side movement and crouch & jump buttons were missing from the movement toolbar. But there are interesting features. On the right of the screen are tabs, which can be clicked to open a window with information. Bringing up someones profile will reveal both their Second Life and real-life pictures (or whats used in place of them), which can be useful for those who wish to better mix their virtual lives with their real ones. Ones teleport history is stored, so if you forgot to make a landmark at a place you visited the previous day, you can check the history to return.

One feature should be of great interest to non-human avatars, such as furries and tinies: Alpha Masks. Meant to be used in place of invisiprims, they can render parts of your avatar invisible. For digitgrade avatars, this means no force field effect around their shins.

Being cloudy the whole time, my impression the beta still needs a good deal of work. But it does have some cool features that show good potential for it.

For the complete Linden blog entry, Click Here. To go to continued comments, Click Here. To go to a Second Life Youtube about the Beta viewer, narrated by Epsy Linden, Click Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bunny Love...The Latest Craze!

By Shellie Sands
Ozimals has produced the latest in pets with their bunnies.   Beta testing began earlier in the year and the bunnies went "live" on 9 January 2010.  The "bunnies are adorably realistic, professionally sculpted, and full of variety. The six breeds that the bunnies are launching with are actual real life breeds and each one has custom textures that reflect the look and colorings of that breed.  The Ozimals bunnies use a true dominant/recessive genetics system modified for SL that will enable you to breed for recessive traits to create the bunnies you want. Each bunny carries a specific percentage of recessive qualities, and you selectively breed those to achieve new colors and even special mutations!
When you breed an Ozimal bunny, you are producing true characteristics like fur, eye color, ear type, and more!  Each variation is a separate, hand drawn texture. Those traits will show up as new features on your bunny unlike other breedable animals where RGB colors (plus sometimes glow and shiny) are the only ways to tell your animals apart.  Ozimals are truly the Next Generation of AI breeding animals!"

Complete bunny starter kits are available at the Ozimals Main Store. Each kit contains two nests, one male and one female.  The owner has complete control over when the bunnies are born.  Clicking the nest enables you to birth the bunnies.   Once the bunnies are born, you must follow a series of steps to set their preferences.  This is all explained in the information provided in the starter kits.  They require food and water.  The bunnies hop around like mad when they are born and their energy levels are high.  Over time, their energy level decreases, ultimately to level 0%, at which time they sleep for 8 hours, renewing their energy.  When they sleep, they dream....of sunny meadows, rainbows, bunny love and, of course, carrots.  These images appear in dream clouds above their heads.  
Ozimals bunnies are born in a nest made of hay and the mothers fur.  They are very tiny when born but grow quickly.  Owners may hold their bunnies and pet them, and this increases the bunny's level of happiness.  Bunnies cannot be bred until they are 4 days old.  Once they reach that age, their level of love will gradually increase, as they are preparing for breeding.  In order to breed, each bunny must have more than 25% energy, be fed and watered, as well as happy.  When the bunnies reach 100% love, they are ready.  Breeding happens quickly and not in the way one would expect.  They don't even need to touch, they simply need to be within 10m of each other.  Very quickly the mother produces a nest.  Each nest contains one bunny.
For the latest price list: and for a price breakdown, go to Bunny Love...The Latest Craze!