Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Scenes From the VWBPE

From March 15 to 17, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education event took place in Second Life. Over the three days, residents gathered to discuss how virtual worlds such as this one can and are being used for the purposes of educating people. The Newser was there, and took a number of pictures.

See more in Events.

Cartoon of the Day

Taken at the VWBPE. Not sure why he really chose that name, but it certainly gets people wondering.

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Art of Sisi Biedermann

Gemma Cleanslate recently went to the Whinlatter sim to see an art exhibition. The artist whose work is displayed there is Sisi Biedermann. She has been in Second Life since 2007, and has done several hundred paintings of a number of subjects. Gemma wrote not only about the art, but also the complex, The Visions of  Beauty Art Gallery built by Dj12 Magic.

Read Gemma's story in Design.

Philip Rosedale Wants Help Getting His Avatar Back

Practically every resident who's been in Second Life for more than several years knows about Philip Rosedale, or rather Philip Linden as he used to be known inworld. Besides as the founder of Second Life, he was known for his unique look. His old prim hair was stiff and spikey, and he always had on a "Rocky Horror" t-shirt and a multicolored codpiece over his pants.

Philip stepped down as CEO of Linden Lab in 2008, though was interim CEO from June to October 2010, and stepped down from it's board of directors in 2013, leaving to concentrate more on his new virtual world High Fidelity. But apparently, one of his recent tweets suggests he's been having more interest in Second Life lately, appearing inworld in a regular account. And he would like some help getting his old look back.

Would someone be willing to re-make me my original SL avatar? I've been spending more time in SL lately (it's just so amazing and great) and I'd like my old look back. This vintage...

Philip got a large number of responses, some offering to help, others humoring such as one person who joked "I found your undies." It's also worth noting that Linden Lab had a contest for a new look for Philip while he was interim, the winning appearance announced in October 19, 2010. But he didn't have long to enjoy it as he stepped down the very next day.

Should Philip be sticking around for a while, it should be quite interesting, even if he's no longer a Linden.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Events This Week at the Sunweaver, Montecito Bay, and Furry Fashion Clubs

St. Patrick's Day is over. But there's plenty of fun events at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay clubs and the Furry Fashion Lounge.

Club Cutlass: Best in 'X, Y, and Z,' Pretty in Pink, The Mod 60s

The Happy Vixen:  Star Trek, Martial Artists, Pirates, Cops and Robbers, Best in White, Western, TBA, Birthday Suits, Metalheads, CAYA

Club Zero Gravity: TBA

Goblin Cave: Sunday Matinee "The Wild Geese"

Montecito Bay: Pokemon, Old School, Anime, At the Diner, CAYA, After Dark

Furry Fashion Lounge: Anime, Food, No Pants, Cats vs Dog, Pool Party, Barely There, Fursonas, Silly Hats

Read the schedules in SL Clubbin'.

Updated 7PM SL time

Five Years in Second Life

It was five years ago that Newser writer, Kimiko Kanagowa (FoxytheJamie Resident) first logged into Second Life. In the past few days, he's been looking back at what he's experienced. From clubs, to residential areas, to medieval lands, to sci-fi space areas, he's seen and taken part in quite a bit.

Read FoxytheJamie's story in People.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ebbe Linden Speaks at the VWBPE

On Thursday March 15, Ebbe Linden (Ebbe Altberg) spoke at an event for the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. This was the fourth year he had done so. Unlike the first two times, he did not speak live in front of an audience at the conference, but did so in a livestreamed interview in front of a small number of people. Also there answering some questions was Bret Linden (Bret Atwood).

Ebbe described the topic of education as "core to the idea of what Second Life is." Sansar was mainly focused on "revenue and user growth. And so education would be a tough area for us to spend money on ..." but still wanted educational areas to be part of their new virtual world. Ebbe brought up places such as the Apollo Museum and virtual replicas of an ancient Egyptian tomb. Of ease of use for the disabled, Ebbe conceeded that, "Sansar actually has a ways to go, and might actually be way more restricted with accessibility for some time to come, compared to Second Life."

Ebbe stated that Linden Lab was still putting money in Second Life, "we’re still really serious about our investment in Second Life, and the team is very motivated and dedicated to get growth .... So it’s not something that we’re just letting run its course or milking for revenues, or anything like that." He admitted that the price of virtual land was high, and would shift revenue from Second Life away from that and toward other fees, comparing them to "consumption taxes." He went on to say that this shift would benefit nonprofits as they would be paying less for land, of which they already get a 50% discount.

Of the topic of building in Sansar, Ebbe stated that unlike Second Life, Sansar builders would have to continue to rely on third-party platforms, "because we have to do so many things, we chose specifically chose not to focus on the creation of original content, if you will. There’s so many great third-party tools ..." Sansar also differs from Second Life in that if no one is visiting a region, after a few minutes it shuts down. If someone wants to visit it, it only takes a few seconds to turn it back on. He wondered if it might be possible to do something similar with Second Life someday.

Improvements in Second Life itself would include animesh and weather control. Ebbe also hinted there would also be better ways to combat griefers. Some questions were asked after the stream was done. Of the Teen Grid, Ebbe stated there were no plans to bring it back, though the issue could be up for discussion "later next year."

To watch the discussion, one can still see the recording on Youtube Gaming. There is also a transcript provided by Inara Pey.

Bixyl Shuftan

Linden Lab Updates Linden Realms Game: The Wrath of Ruth

The first of Second Life's big games created by Linden Lab is getting an update.

Linden Realms now looks ablaze. Buildings and trees are now on fire. The once blue skies have an orange hue. Just what happened here? It seems that the antagonist in the "Tyrah and the Magical Glytches" game, Ruth, has used Magellan's coffin to knock a comet off course and sent it into the Linden Realms area.

(Click here if the video fails to play)

The gameplay itself remains the same, go to Tyrah's base to accept missions, collect crystals, and avoid dangers such as fireballs, poisoned water, and all of those rock monsters. And you'll be getting a few Linden dollars for doing so.

For more details, check the official Second Life blog.

Bixyl Shuftan

Announcement: Relay Registration Opening Today

Registration will open this morning, March 19th at 8 am SLT.

If you need help, one of these amazing volunteers will be glad to help you:

Prettykitty Gumbo
TS Darrow
Spook Maroon
Gem Sunkiller
Oldesoul Eldemar
Lyrica Dawnfire
MamaP Beerbaum

Go Relay!

Press Release: VWBPE Announces 2018 Thinkerer Award Recipient: Vallibrarian!

In 2014, the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Organizational Committee instituted a new personal achievement award to recognize an individual who has provided outstanding service to both the field of education and the virtual world community at large.

The Thinkerer Award is presented to an individual whose deeds and actions have shown a consistent selfless service towards the promotion of learning, community, educational practices, and who exemplifies the spirit of cooperative development within immersive environments.

Recipients of this award are not simply outstanding professionals in their field. Award recipients must characterize transformational leadership qualities to:

- envision and guide change;
- enhance the motivation, morale, and performance of both peers and pupils;
- promote best practices and continuous improvement; and
- inspire others through their words and actions.

Dr. Valerie Hill – Valibrarian in virtual worlds – is the director of the Community Virtual Library in Second Life and Kitely. Dr. Hill served as a school librarian for twenty years and has taught literature and information science at all grade levels from kindergarten through college. As a National Writing Trainer, Dr. Hill specializes in connecting literature to writing. Her research focus centers on the intersection of information literacy and libraries with virtual worlds and digital culture.

Valibrarian believes digital citizenship is essential to learning in today’s metamodern post-Gutenberg era. Virtual worlds provide persistent spaces to help learners navigate learning landscapes in all forms: physical, virtual or augmented. A passion for literacy and learning has led Val to champion virtual worlds through connecting educators, learners and learning communities in virtual worlds.

Val was presented with the Librarian of the Year for Lewisville ISD in 2010 and Texas Computer Education Association Librarian of the Year Finalist in 2007.

After serving as a school librarian and professor of library and information science, Valibrarian, along with her Community Virtual Library colleagues in Second Life, Kitely and web-based Cybalounge, strive to share best practices of education in virtual worlds. Through sharing both the highest quality immersive simulations and educational virtual communities of interest, learning opportunities not found in physical classrooms or online platforms can be accessed for critical thinking and collaborative learning.

It is for all these reasons, and more, that the VWBPE Organizational Committee proudly confirms Valerie Hill, our Valibrarian, as the VWBPE 2018 Thinkerer Award recipient.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Dance at Andrea's Place in Caledon

Many places are having St. Patrick's Day events, including Club Cutlass today. But on Tuesday March 13, a few nights before the holiday, Andrea's Place at Caledon would have it's themed event that evening.

A number of Caledonians, and friends of, were part of the event. This included Cynthia Farshore, who was playing the music, and Shockwave Yareach.

It 'twas a merry event with plenty o' music n' dancin'.

Bixyl Shuftan

SL Video: "Kokomo"

(Click here if the video fails to play)

By Chini Roo in Nov 2011

Friday, March 16, 2018

Nydia Tungsten's Daughter Gives Birth to Baby Boy

Nydia Tungsten has been called many things, DJ, club owner, sim estate manager, community leader, writer, published author, and more. But now you can add another to the list: grandmother.

Her daughter, nicknamed "Bug," was at the local hospital in delivery yesterday. Nydia would give occasional updates in both Discord and in group chat. Finally, she gave the following announcement:

Welcome Gideon Xavier
12:53 am 16 March 2018
8 lb's 12.9 oz 20.5 in

Welcome to the newest member of Nydia's family. 

Announcement: The Goblin Cave Brings Movies Back to The Sunweavers

    The Goblin Cave is happy to announce that movies will resume being shown. The screen provided by Cynthia Farshore will run movies from youtube while in the meantime her partner Shockwave Yareach repairs a sever for increase selections and performance. The movies will be shown on Sundays starting at 6PM SLT. This time the movies will be functioning differently than pervious times. The movie starts at 6PM SLT however if you arrive after that time you will still see the beginning of the movie. This is the nature of running from youtube. This will mean that the ones who come in earlier will be seeing the movie more advanced. Please realize that commenting during the movie will be confusing if you are not aware of this. We hope this corrects in the future when the system can run on it's own server but till then at least you have a movie to watch! Since those who come in later will still be seeing the movie the player will be allowed to remain on till all have left the cave. may the ones of the earlier not tell what happens. Also of note, there is a remote monitor on the lower level next to the hot tub so you can relax and watch. The first movie running this Sunday March 18th will be Operation Petticoat.

Cynthia Farshore

Barney Helps Alien Invasion at Zeta Valley

Remember when the Zeta Valley Club had to deal with an alien invasion? It seems the aliens came back and they had an ally: Barney the Dinosaur.

 "Bix, you missed the epic Barney battle," Geerkil told me. "Yes what a war," LS Raccoon added. "Happens when you are not here to cover it. the aliens came back." Apparently Clockwork Jackal and his friend Biohazard were dealing with a second force of aliens, smaller than the first one that hit a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, more trouble showed up. "Then all hell broke loose," Geerkil told me. What was the form of the hell? It was Barney.

Yep, the purple dinosaur who sings songs that brainwash little kids into loving him and sends adults running away screaming came to the club as the fighting with the aliens started up. The purple horror would be a nightmare in itself. The good news, no one had to deal with the accused music that works on the brains of adults like sandpaper and has proved an effective interrogation method at Guantanamo Bay. The bad news, he was sporting a weapon, and joined the fight by firing at the club's defenders.

"Barney armed with a grenade launcher took on two foes," Geerkil told me, "Barney was defending the aliens." "Yeah, he was battling Biohazard and Clockwork," JB Raccoon added.

Clockwork and Biohazard might have been able to repulse the aliens with firearms alone. But with the dreaded purple monstrosity added to the assault force, it was decided there was no choice but to use their weapon of last resort: a mini-nuke. So like the first battle with the aliens a few weeks ago, this battle ended with a mushroom cloud over the club. When it cleared, the aliens, and the purple nightmare were gone. By morning, the radiation levels were back down, and all damage was repaired.

While these particular aliens may have been disposed of, Barney is assumed to have survived the nuke. Such abominable evil has a way of surviving to strike again.

Image Credit: Tech Adams

Bixyl Shuftan

Announcement: Come Celebrate SL Women With Us!

We ran a little late for International Women's Day, but we're making up for it by celebrating 10 Second Life women who have, through their work, have made SL a better place.

The celebration is this Sunday, March 18 from 10am to Noon SLT at The Art Cafe in Locus Amoensis, a region that is part of the Confederated Democratic Simulators.

We will have a poster honoring each woman, a small women's art exhibit, food, dance and music by pianist Sandia Beaumont.

We look forward to having you present for this occasion.

Our 2018 honorees are:

Bryn Oh
Nuala Marcus
Strawberry Singh
Caryl Meredith
Marianne McCann
Rosie Gray
Sudane Erato
Robin Sojourner Wood
Treacle Darlandes

Announcement: Univ of Hawaii, Astronomy Presents: "The Interest in our Stars II"

By Lucas Lavin, Jordan Vaughn, Zain Jabbar
Friday, Mar 16th at 9:30 PM PDT
Institute for Astronomy - U. Hawaii Astronomy Amphitheater: 

And on the web:

Maui is one of the best places in the world to study the stars. Several local students, who identify as "minions," have started journeys to understand the Universe. Four of these students will share their interest in our stars. Lucas Lavin will look at when star's don't quite collide. Jordan Vaughn will talk about the search for a new home; is there another Earth out there? Zain Jabbar talks about holes in the atmosphere of our sun. Finally, Celeste Jongeneelen will talk about using the Gaia satellite to look for the fastest stars in the galaxy.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

VWBPE List of Events

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education starts today. For three days, starting with the opening ceremony at 8AM, there will be a number of discussions and other events, including one with Ebbe Linden at 1PM SL time. A list of them has been provided, too big for the main page, so they're placed in the "Events" section.

To read the schedule, head to Events.

Press Release: Labor Tech Discussion at Virtual Ability

Labor Tech discussion
Hosted by Tom Boellstorff and Winifred Poster
FRIDAY March 16, 8-10am SLT
Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability

Join us on Friday, March 16, 8AM SLT for an informal discussion about labor and technology. Some members of an informal group of researchers studying labor and digital technology (for instance: call centers, “sharing economy” things like Uber and AirBnB, uses of social network sites like Facebook and Instagram for earning money) are going to make brief presentations about their research, and we’ll have a couple of brief presentations about some research about labor and disability in Second Life too. There will be plenty of time for open discussion. Please join us!

Tom Boellstorff is an anthropology professor from the University of California at Irvine. He is the author of the book "Coming of Age in Second Life."

With support from the National Science Foundation, Tom and Donna Davis (University of Oregon) are engaged in an SL research project “Virtual Worlds, Disability, and New Cultures of the Embodied Self.” How is the internet changing how people think of themselves as individuals and interact as members of communities? For this project, they focus on the disability experience in virtual worlds  where disabled persons can appear any way they choose and do things they may not be able to do in the physical world.

Since some early human first picked up a stick to use as a cane, people with disabilities have been at the forefront of technology innovation. What can their creative uses of and adaptions to online social interaction teach us? Tom and Donna explore this question by collaborating with disabled persons as they create and interact socially in virtual worlds, and discover how they use different kinds of devices in their homes to experience these online environments.

This research will have implications for improving health care and social support. But it also will use the insights of disabled persons to better understand now new online technologies influence how we think about our bodies, how we think about social interaction, and how we think about the role of the internet in everyday life.

Winifred Poster is a professor in the International & Area Studies / International Affairs Program at Washington University, St. Louis. She is the author of "Invisible Labor: Hidden work in the contemporary world" and "Borders in Service: Enactments of nationhood in transnational call centres."

Her areas of interest are feminist labor theory, digital globalization, and Indian outsourcing.  For the past two decades, she has been following high-tech firms from the US to India, both in earlier waves of computer manufacturing and software, and more recent waves of back-office work and call centers.  Her focus is on the intersection of post-colonial computing with the political economy of service labor.  She's curious how information communication technologies are changing the meaning of work, dispersing it transnationally, incorporating new types of workers, and reshaping identities.

Presented in voice with text transcription.

Reader Submitted: Trailer Trashed

While at one of Montecito Bay's parties, Lem Aiko (LemonPledge Resident) handed this picture to me, "Bajo wrecked my car into the roof of my trailer and it caught fire!"

DrRedRedWine Resident, who was nearby and knew what was going on, remarked, "He's remodeling Lem's trailer!"

Hopefully Montecito Bay's insurance company pulled through on the replacement.