Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Don't Wear Mesh -- Yet

The recent release of the Phoenix Viewer version with mesh support finally convinced me to try mesh. Prior to this release many, if not most, viewers used inworld could not render mesh properly so why wear it ? You would just look all garbled and partly naked to those viewers without mesh support. But now most viewers would render mesh properly so I thought I would give it a whirl.

I found a nice looking semi-sheer cropped lace tank top from Beetlebones @ Existence. I like the way mesh drapes nicely:
Unfortunately, body parts can still poke through mesh clothing items producing the familiar wtf look:
Mesh clothing cannot be resized like normal clothing or sculpted prim clothing. So, mesh clothing vendors provide several sizes to select from. This item comes in 5 sizes - XS, S, M, L, XL. I tried the XS since my shape is smallish but it was too small and my torso poked through in several places. Medium size was way too big so here I am wearing the Small. It fits fairly well but notice how the front of the top hangs a few inches out in front of my chest:
Normally I would simply move the top back a bit by selecting it and editing the position. You cannot even position a mesh clothing item! So, no mesh for me. Yet. It is possible that with improvements to mesh like the mesh parametric deformer project that mesh will someday be a significant improvement to Second Life. Maybe even as-is there are some mesh creators who design clothing for avatar shapes that do not have huge boobs. Till then, thanks but no thanks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Second Life Premium Membership plus I Rant at Cynical SL Bloggers

Gawd, I am so sick of reading all the negative blog posts on everything Linden Lab does. First off, I have no affiliation with Linden Lab and they don't even read what I write. I just think it is horribly misleading for established SL residents and respected bloggers to criticize every single action LL takes. They could offer free money (as they sorta do with money trees and the recent Linden Realms game) and these bloggers would call it unfair that hard working residents like themselves were being undercut by "the Boys" giving away money. In fact, the currently running 50% discount on Premium membership is very much "free money". Check this out.

Linden Lab is currently offering a quarterly Premium membership plan that includes a 50% discount on the first quarter. Signup for one quarter of Premium membership at $11.25. Assuming a $L250 per $1 US exchange rate, your one quarter of Premium membership costs approximately $L2812. Premium benefits include a $L1000 signup bonus for first time members and a $L300 per week stipend. Let's do some simple arithmetic.

One quarter is 52/4 = 13 weeks
13 weeks x $L300 per week = $L3900 quarterly stipend
$L1000 signup bonus + $L3900 stipend = $L4900 you receive
$L4900 - $L2812 cost of 1st quarter = $L2088 profit

Linden Lab is paying you approximately $8.35 US to try Premium membership for a quarter!

So, Linden Lab is giving away money and old bitter cynical Second Life bloggers are complaining. Not only do they complain about this 50% discount, they complain about the free gifts you get as a Premium member. Hahaha! Free gifts! So, I thought, these gifts must be awful if people are complaining about something that is free. I went to a kiosk and got my gifts and look! The couch is way cool:

Premium membership gets you a lot of other benefits too. I recommend the annual membership as it is cheaper in the long run. The quarterly membership 50% discount only applies to the 1st quarter so a year on that plan would cost $78.75 while the annual membership plan costs $72. Either way, it is a great deal with excellent benefits and you are supporting the continued existence and improvement of Second Life.

In short, Second Life Premium membership is a no brainer. Everybody should upgrade!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Boho Baku Aztec Gypsy Skirt

I love this colorful Gypsy skirt from Boho Baku. Previously I modeled the Fiesta Tie Dye skirt from the same store. Here I am wearing the Aztec Gypsy skirt and belt, basic neck strap tank from Sassy Kitty, and the Night Moves black velvet choker.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Boho Baku Fiesta Tie Dye Skirt

I discovered a cool hippie/gypsy clothing shop in Second Life called Boho Baku. Their Boho skirts come in a wide variety of colors and fit comfortably. They also sell tops and jewelry. Here I am wearing the Boho Fiesta Tye Dye Skirt and Belt. I matched a top from L&G - the Valentina Rose, for a simple beautiful comfortable colorful look. I'm ready for the Country Fair in Second Life's Eugene, Oregon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

LeLutka Shorts and BOOM Sport Tee - Cute and Comfy!

I've been so busy lately adding Wolfram Alpha query support to my Pandorabots that I haven't had time to show off my latest favorite finds. Here's a pair of shorts from LeLutka I just love. The sport tee and deck shoes are from *BOOM*.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sintimacy Rocking Lowrise Latex Outfit

I recently purchased a discounted item from Sintimacy - the Rocking Lowrise Latex Outfit in black (only L$99). It's also available at the same price in red. As seems to be normal for the aptly named Sintimacy, the outfit is scorching hawt! Fairly easy to select a subset of items for my outfit, my only complaint was the No Copy boots which needed fitting. Why do designers distribute items that need modification with No Copy permission ? See my rant on this topic.

However, the boots resized and repositioned easily and the dialog menu provided a "delete scripts" button so everything went smoothly. Here's my modelling session in the Rocking Lowrise Latex Outfit:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

*BOOM* Halter, Boyshorts and Deck Shoes

Recently I discovered yet another clothing store I love :) *BOOM* is a large shop with an excellent selection of quality items. Here I am modeling the Hibiscus-Green Infinity Halter and Boyshorts with their deck shoes. Cute! The deck shoes are a pain to configure - it's nice they are so detailed with 4 different color areas but each shoe must be configured separately, there are no presets, no way to store presets, and no menu option for deleting the scripts after configuring a pair. I like them anyway!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Email2IM - Practical Kinetic Art

One of the scripted objects I created and sell is Email2IM. This single prim object allows me to respond to IM's via Email when I am not logged in to Second Life. I find it quite useful and a great aid in allowing me to assist my customers. I use it almost daily.

Email2IM requires that the single prim object be rezzed somewhere with scripts enabled. I decided to make it something I would want to have in my home in Second Life so I added some texturing and a variety of geometrical deformations to the script. The Email2IM prim became a kinetic art object that is pleasing to watch and changes continually. Voila, art meets practical!

Here is a video of the Email2IM prim hovering over my house:

 The Email2IM Owner Manual is available in PDF format on Scribd. From the manual's introduction:
The Email2IM object enables the owner to email a message to a Second Life resident.The object acts parses incoming email and relays the body of the message as anInstant Message to the Second Life resident whose name appears in the Subject lineof the email. Owners of the Email2IM system are thus able to respond to forwardedIM's even when not online by simply sending email to the object's address with thename of the resident as the subject line.In addition, the Email2IM object changes shape and texture, acting as an art object soas to be pleasing to the eye while in use.

Email2IM is available on the Second Life Marketplace for L$195

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Automatic Facial Animation HUD

I purchased a nice little automatic facial animation HUD made by Outy Banjo. Called "Auto Emote", the HUD consumes a modest amount of screen real estate and provides a fairly extensive set of facial animation and programmable trigger phrases. When not in active use the HUD can be minimized to consume even less screen.

The HUD includes over 300 trigger phrases and operates in 3 modes - automatic, click only, and loop mode allowing you to hold animations indefinitely and combine animations.

From the description on Outy's Second Life Marketplace:
With this HUD, you can mix facial expressions like paint. Great for models who need to hold a pose indefinately, in-world performers who want their mouth to perform dynamic movements during a performance, those who want a timed auto-smile, or even those who just want to make silly or ugly faces(Combining animations can make for some pretty crazy faces).
Auto Emote v2.0 supports 950 phrases, and you can edit them to your liking. The Auto Emote Trigger Phrases notecard contains groups of 50 triggers per facial animation.
Here's a  video I made of me using the Auto Emote HUD:

Available on the Second Life Marketplace for L$500

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Machinima of the BURN2 2011 Man Burn

Debbie Trilling and the Burn2 Team have produced a truly awesome machinima of the BURN2 2011 Man burn. From the Info section of the video:
For the third year running, 'The Man' has been created by the team of  Debbie Trilling, Elfod Nemeth and Gypsy Paz on building and scripting,  with Lorin Tone on sound effects.

2011 also sees Aleeta Zelin join the team with a very significant contribution to this year's new build.

'The Man' build comprise 800+ prims and is 71m high at its tallest point.
Best viewed at 720p - Enjoy!

Friday, October 7, 2011

DJ Healer at BURN2

Last night I had a great time at BURN2 listening and dancing to a great set by DJ Healer Ladybird. Lots of Organicans were there as well as a cast of crazies - all dancing wildly. Here's a few snapshots and a couple of videos I took:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Phoenix Rising Risk Vest and Pocket Watch

Phoenix Rising must be going out of business or their minds since everything in the store is L$25 with discount items at L$1. I picked up a few more colors of my favorite vest and pocket watch as well as several nice tops and a gown. Super great sale - I have no idea how long it's going to last.

Here I am modelling the Phoenix Rising Risk vest and pocket watch. The pants are included in the package (now only L$25 !!). I'm also wearing a white dress shirt from Connors, Dragoness shoes from Kalnins, nails & rings from Mandala.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fun Mermaid Ride at BURN2

Maya Paris built a fun ride at BURN2 called SkellyMer. She provides a free skeleton costume to visitors then you just click and ride. The cool music stream is provided by March Macbain. Lots of fun stuff at BURN2 2011 - thanks Maya!

I made a video of me riding the mermaid:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Become A Second Life Video DJ - My Video Playlists

Recently I've laboriously gone through all 26 video playlists I maintain and updated them - revising links that no longer play in Second Life, adding new videos & playlists, and removing videos that are no longer available. There are nearly 500 videos linked in these playlists so the process was tedious but enjoyable since I get to watch a lot of great videos while I revise the lists.

The playlists are formatted for various media devices in Second Life - the NHC Media Center, Damani MediaViewer, and Icarus V2000. These Second Life televisions allow an SL resident to watch YouTube videos, play movies, view streaming video content and web TV shows, etc. I maintain the playlists inworld for my own use, on the Second Life Wiki Media playlists article, and available for purchase on the Second Life Marketplace.

There are playlists for Cake, Evanescence, Green Day, Pink Floyd, Slow Dances, Muse, lots of female artists (e.g. Kat Deluna, Beyonce, Priscilla Ahn, A Fine Frenzy), Lady Gaga, Machinima, Trance, Fractals, Second Life music videos, Tech N9ne, Infected Mushroom, Weezer, U2, AC/DC, Guns N Roses, and much more.

Each playlist is a notecard written in that media device manufacturer's  playlist format. Simply drag the playlists you want to use from your inventory into the Contents tab of your media device. The playlists should then show up on the TV's menu.

What this allows me to do inworld is easily plan and create an audio/video set either for personal use or as a Video DJ. No need for expensive difficult to setup Shoutcast stream server plus you get to watch the video :) Some SL media players allow you to simply click "Play List" and sit back or dance for hours while the TV streams dozens of videos inworld. Others you have to step through the list manually. Some players allow guests at your event to sync their viewers with yours, others only support asynchronous play. I use the NHC Media Center as it is cheap, plays lists, and guests can sync plus it comes with a Media Dome replete with dance floor visuals and a VJ booth.

Let me know if you find any links that need updating, have any requests or suggestions, would like to contribute playlists or links to the wiki, or have any questions about how to set yourself up as a Video DJ.

Here's a video treat from my "Wow Volume 1" playlist:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Five of My Favorite Second Life Blogs

Recently Hamlet Au at New World Notes posted five of his favorite SL blogs. Hey, I can do that too :) I follow dozens of Second Life blogs so these are just 5 I follow. It's a little surprising to me how few people seemingly follow SL blogs since the number and quality is high. I guess Second Life is still primarily an inworld experience but I find a lot of products, clothing, events, and pretty interesting socio-political-wtf drama in the SLogosphere.

Here are 5 blogs I find extremely informative:

1. New World Notes - Hamlet Au was formerly an embedded journalist for Linden Lab and now runs what is arguably the best Second Life news blog or anyway, the one I plurk/tweet most often.

2. Daniel Voyager's Blog - Ok, well, maybe Hamlet's isn't the best SL news blog since Daniel's is arguably better. Daniel is also a contributor to the History of Second Life wiki article. Both of these guys seem to have excellent insider LL connections or anyway they are right on top of official announcements, events, and trends.

3. Living in the Modem World: Thoughts on Virtual Living - Inara Pey maintains one of my favorite technically oriented Second Life blogs. Inara's is not strictly a technical blog - she also posts on fashion, design, devices, events, and more. However, her tech savvy is excellent and she provides detailed easy-to-understand explanations of breaking technical news.

4. StrawberrySingh.com - Berry is another eclectic SL blogger, posting on fashion, tech issues, lifestyle, travel, and providing excellent tutorials. One of SL's best photographers, Berry's posts almost always include stunning pics. I copy her fashion advice often.

5. Shopping Cart Disco - this collaborative fashion and gossip blog is the home of SL Secret and the What I Like series, two of my favorites. SCD is a full service blog with posts on all topics written by a group of bloggers and contributors.

If you find it too time consuming or tedious to visit a bunch of blogs then you might prefer to use an RSS reader. I use Google Reader so that all the blogs I follow are aggregated into a single view inside my reader. It makes clicking through blog posts from all over much easier.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Photos and Video from BURN2 Press Day

I was invited to BURN2 Press Day, a preview day for press and bloggers to get a peek at the 2011 BURN2 installation. BURN2 is an extension of the Burning Man festival and community into the world of Second Life. It is an officially sanctioned Burning Man regional event, and the only virtual world event out of more than 100 real world Regional groups, and the only Regional to burn the Man.

It's pretty impressive. Emulating the real world Burning Man, the festival is laid out on a playa and includes a temple, themed art camps, and of course The Man. I selected a Windlight setting of my own (Barcelona) as I thought it looked better - use your own judgement. You may also want to wear only necessary attachments, leave your huds at home, and reduce your script count as the playa can be laggy due to the complexity of the installation.

BURN2 is open to Second Life residents October 1-9.

Here's a video and a few photos of what I saw today - enjoy!