Thursday, February 22, 2018

Samedi Gras: New Toulouse Pulls it off Again


Mardi Gras was last week on February 13. A few days earlier on the weekend before "Fat Tuesday," the New Toulouse sim held it's yearly parade and party: Samedi Gras. Klaus Bereznyak was there, and wrote about the occassion.

Read Klaus' article in Events.

Press Release: Homes For Our Troops Benefit in Veterans Isle


Frets Nirvana and US Military Veterans Group announce the 2018 January benefit for Homes For Our Troops in Second Life! 

Frets Nirvana, the premier guitar artist in the virtual world Second Life and the US Military Veterans Group announce the 2018 February benefit on February 25, 2018 in Second Life for the Veterans Support Organization  Home For Our Troops . 

Frets Nirvana states:  “HFOT is a privately funded 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes nationwide for the most severely injured Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these Veterans are multiple amputees, paraplegic, quadriplegic or suffered severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Since its inception in 2004, over 90 cents of every dollar spent by Homes for Our Troop has gone to directly support Veterans. DURING THAT TIME HFOT HAS BUILT OVER 240 SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOMES NATIONWIDE FOR WOUNDED VETERANS.”

In 2017 the community in Second Life sent over $10,000 to Homes For Our Troops, thanks to may kind hearts and great Second Life performers. 

Home for Our Troops benefit concerts feature premier Second Life talent monthly at Veteran’s Isle.  The concert on February 25, 2018 is scheduled from 9 AM - 3 PM PST.  Featured artists will be DJ Waya Snowpaw, Jon Regent, Savannah Rain, Erin&Satin, Toxie Darkmatter and Melenda Mikael.

ABOUT HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS  - HFOT builds homes as a departure point for Veterans to rebuild their lives, and once again become highly productive members of society. Despite their life-altering injuries, many Veterans have embarked on new careers, completed their college degrees, or started families. Empowered by the freedom a mortgage-free and specially adapted home brings, these Veterans can now focus on their recovery and return to their life’s work of serving others. Many have embraced their roles as motivational speakers, sharing their messages of persevering through tragedy with groups and classrooms around the country; others take to a national platform to promote awareness of veteran suicide, homelessness and PTSD. Their incredible stories are the driving force for the work for HFOT.  HFOT has received Charity Navigator’s highest rating of 4 Stars for six consecutive years. Charity Watch has awarded HFOT an A rating and included us on its list of Top-Rated Military & Veterans Charities. To learn more about the Homes For Our Troops visit https://www.hfotusa.org

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Crabby Linden



Taken at the Isle of View. Bender Linden, whose title was "Destroy All Humans," was sporting a hermit crab avatar at the "Hug a Linden/Dunk a Linden" event on February 14. Obviously, he didn't come for a hug.
By Bixyl Shuftan

Interview with Nydia Tungsten about "Switched Destinies"


How many people can call themselves an author of a published novel? Probably not that many. But among those who have, Nydia Tungsten recently joined their numbers. She recently finished her sci-fi/fantasy story "Switched Destinies," and it's available for download on Amazon. I sat down with Nydia, and she had a few things to say about her tale.

Read the interview in People.

Hippo Technologies Announces Closure Due to "Infrastructure Failure"


Those whom have been around Second Life for a long time are probably familiar with Hippo Technologies, or at least it's products HippoVend and HippoRent, particulary merchants and renters. But the sight of the HippoRent cubes will soon be a thing of the past. On their blog on February 16, Hippo announced they were closing due to "infrastructure failure" of Rackspace Cloud Servers, which they had been using to hold their data.


On Feb 12th Rackspace Cloud Servers collapsed and took down the legacy Hippo web services which Rackspace supported. Rackspace admits service degradation to cloud orchestration and cloud servers. Surely in due time the long established server technicians at Rackspace will rebuild their cloud infrastructure, but for the time being there appears to be an unsafe amount of dust and smoke around the Rackspace Cloud server collapse to extract the backup databases to migrate to another server host.

For the last several years increasingly abandoned land through Second Life has also led to lack of new customer demand for the legacy web service. It marks a best decision for Hippo Technologies to step away from that legacy web service.

Hippo Technologies will certainly be keeping a keen eye to future trends in virtual worlds.



The statement is somewhat vague, as Hippo doesn't use a clear term like "shutting down." But the talk about "lack of new customer demand" and "will ... be keeping a ...eye to future trends" isn't the kind of words a company uses if they're keeping their product going.

Caspertech, perhaps Hippo's biggest competitor, would post about Hippo's close later that day on their own blog.

Today is a sad day for some, and a frustrating day for many, as Hippo Technologies has finally bit the dust. Hippo's services (including HippoVend, HippoRent and HippoUpdate) were extremely well respected and well established within Second Life for a long time. HippoTech pre-dates CasperTech by a few years, and although their presence in Second Life has slowly been in decline, many users heavily depended on them right up until today.

It's unclear exactly what happened - the blog post alludes to a catastrophic failure at Rackspace Cloud services, but Rackspace's own status page mentions no such failure (I have contacted Rackspace to ask for clarification). What is clear, however, is that it leaves a lot of users in a very unfortunate position - their vendors, rental units and update systems are suddenly non-functioning, leaving their businesses high and dry.

Aside from these two blog entries, there's not really anything to go on. A look at the two Hippo groups I found revealed no recent announcements. Their products are still on sale in Marketplace. When I talked to Casper Warden, the head of Caspertech, he didn't have a greal deal to add, "From my understanding, they were taken offline by a technical fault.  Given that their business was dwindling it was not worth the technical effort to invest into getting it back online." He did want to make it clear, " that it's only my understanding, i don't know anything about it for certain."

In any event, places that once used HippoRent are now having to decide what to replace them with.


Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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


It's a week full of events at the Sunweaver and Montecito Bay clubs and the Furry Fashion Lounge.

Club Cutlass: Best in 'S,' Black and White Night, Fantasy

The Happy Vixen: Robots and Battlesuits, Disney, Denim,

Club Zero Gravity: Best Sweater, Best in Horses, Dragon Crew

Montecito Bay: Atom Punk, Oldskool, Vampires and Werewolves, Fantasy, After Dark

Furry Fashion Lounge: Fairy Tales, Forest Creatures, Magic, Jungle, Anime, Dragons, Creepy vs Cute, Fursonas

Read the schedules in SL Clubbin'.

SL Video: "There's Nothing To Do In Second Life"




(Click here if the video fails to play)

From Luca, who also did a "Just how big is Second Life" video, in Nov 2015, "Spoiler: The video's title is a lie.

"There's nothing to do in SL? It's dead and is like a ghost town? Suuuuree. What were shown in the video is not even close to a fraction of the amount of things that you can do in Second Life. Whoever goes into SL, spends some time in abandoned sims, then write about how SL is dead, is like going out, spends some time in abandoned or empty places, then write about how the Earth's dead. Do anything you want, be anything you want, create whatever you want, and join the fun :) No, like, seriously, create whatever you want, use the built-in object creation tools, import your 3D objects that you made on some 3rd party software, script it, whatever, you can do whatever, seriously. Use them, share them, sell them."

Monday, February 19, 2018

Scenes from One Billion Rising


Last week, the One Billion Rising event took place in places around the world, Second Life being one of them. The event is an annual demonstration in support of women's rights and against violence on women, and the virtual world has been a part of it from the first. Gemma Cleanslate and Bixyl Shuftan were both there, and took a number of pictures.

Read the story in Events.

Creations for Parkinsons


Creations for Parkinson's stands out as a location in Second Life in a number of ways. One is the place is very detailed in it's design, not just on the surface, but also it's skybox and underwater locations. It's also the location of many events that feature some good talent. And then there is the purpose of the place. Creation for Parkinson's is the location of Team Fox in Second Life which raises money for research on the disease for better treatments and one day a cure. Deaflegacy recently went there, and had a few words with Barbie Alchemi, the owner.

Read Deaf's story in Places.

Reader Submitted: "St. Valentines Day Massacre Revisited"



From Jessicabelle Dayafter. Jessicabelle was trying to do a an animation that was a playful tribute to the St. Valentines Day Massacre done by Al Capone's men in 1929. But it didn't quite come off right. So for now, she settled for a screenshot, with a pink "tommy" gun that shoots hearts, not bullets.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Flower Power



Taken at the Happy Vixen's "Flower Power" event.

By Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Scenes From Ark: The Hotel Bunnytickle



It's been about a year since I've written about my friends' misadventures in "Ark Survival Evolved." Since then, the game itself has continued to evolve in more ways than I can describe here. Among the changes is a new map: "Ragnarok." Nydia and her friends quickly established a main base in a cavern. But some of us wanted our own secondary bases. Among them is this one in the east side of Viking Bay, which came to be called "The Hotel Bunnytickle." It's grown to be about a dozen stories in height.

Besides the new map, there's a spinnoff game called "Aberration." In this game, players deal with an Ark gone bad with radiation and powerful monsters on the surface, so they have to start underground. I may write on the game soon. But for now, here's a picture to show the hijinks with the dinosaurs continue.

Bixyl Shuftan

SL Video: "Annabel Lee"




(Click here if the video fails to play)

From Amelie Marcoud on February 12, "A melancholic love story, written by Edgar Allan Poe.
Based on the poem 'Annabel Lee.' Filmed at: Bella Pace in Second Life. Music by Monica and Sara Gil.

Hat Tip: Hamlet Au 

Friday, February 16, 2018

SL Videos: "How Big Is The Map of Second Life, Walking Across the Map"




There's a man on Youtube who calls himself "How Big is the Map?" What he does is record himself walking across various gaming worlds such as "Ark: Survival Evolved," "Player Unknown's Battlegrounds," "Elder Scrolls Online," and many others. Most take a half hour to ninety minutes, though "Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall" boasts the biggest map he crossed, which took him about 70 hours in total.



Recently, WATM decided to take on crossing Second Life., in an avatar appropriately named "HowBigistheMap." But he ran into one complication obvious to it's residents: most of the place is private regions by themselves or in groups that are isolated from one another and accessible only by teleporting. But there were the continents. So he decided to talk across those, starting with Sansara. The journey took him an hour and a half. So crossing just this continent alone took more time than crossing most of the game worlds he'd spanned.



HowBigIsTheMap didn't stop there. He would go on to cross the continent of Jeogeot, which took him slightly less than an hour and a half. Then came his third and longest challenge, traversing the triple continent region of Corsica, Nautilus, and Satori. That took him almost three hours, which got him wondering how long would it take to walk across the whole Grid if it was possible.

Luca Grabacr came up with a kind of answer in her video in November 2015, in which she stated if all the sims were lined up end to end, it would take over 23,000 days to walk across them. Obviously that's not the same as crossing the map from one corner to the other. But these videos from these two people show when it comes to ground area, especially ground area with unique content, Second Life has the MMOs beat hands down.

Hat Tip: Hamlet Au
Bixyl Shuftan

Redwall Abbey at Sunny Beach



At the Sunweaver Estates, the home region of the SL Newser, there's a new building going up at the Sunny Beach sim, the "Redwall Abbey."

"Heads up on news from Sunny Beach," Becky Shamen told me, "We have begun building Redwall Abbey on the SW corner of the sim. The build will take time, but should generate interest in the sim and Sunweaver Estates. It's from a feature length animation about a Medieval fury community. I'm piecing together floor plans and building the whole abbey complex on Sunny Beach."

Taking a look on Youtube, and Wikipedia, I found the Redwall Abbey is from "Redwall," a series of Fantasy novels aimed at older children and young adults, written by Brian Jacques, of which an animated TV series was based on. Twenty-two novels were published, the first in 1986 and the last a few years ago. The TV series first aired in 1999.

Sunny Beach, also known as Mythica Woods, is owned by Erik Mouse, with Becky Shaman as an administrator.

Image Credit: Becky Shamen