A little Aqua Breeze in Second Life

Aqua Breeze: November 2020

I tend to be very cautious in reviewing regions that have rentals on them, mainly because I don’t like the idea of encouraging visits that may result in invasion of people’s home and privacy. It’s a difficult balancing act, as very often regions do pop-up that are given over to rental properties whilst also enticingly landscaped, but offer very limited public spaces – perhaps a landing point and paths around the region and between the various properties therein. These make it difficult to blog, because of the aforementioned concern over accidental trespass / unintended annoyance.

Some are easier  to blog, however, as they offer the minimum of rentals properties and enough open / public space to offer people the chance to explore without running the risk of encroaching on people’s privacy.

Aqua Breeze, November 2020

Aqua Breeze is one of the latter. Spread across the three islands that the region has been split into a total of seven rentals, offering plenty of space for roaming and photography. An eighth house is also to be found on the largest of the three islands, tucked into the south-east corner. We weren’t too sure if this was also private, as unlike the the actual rental houses, there was no sign at the top of the steps leading down to it – but we opted to treat it as private, in case it forms the home of the region’s owners.

These are Sunny (MinaNava), Christopher (Diafoirus) and Sunshiine (SummerSunshiine), who between them have also landscaped the region to present a rolling autumn setting  – although the About Land description warns of possible snow, so it is possible this may change in the near future.

Aqua Breeze, November 2020

The landing point is a stone bridge linking two of the islands. At the eastern end of this bridge is a little map of the islands, denoting the rental houses and the routes around them. However, the easiest way to discover the island’s secret is to follow the wooden board walks that wind their way over the grass of each island. Some branches of these do lead to the rental houses, but as noted above, a sign alongside the board walk will warn if you are about to trespass – aided by little picket fences on at least one side of each property, so it is hard to stray onto private land.

Scattered across the public spaces of the region are numerous places to appreciate the setting and enjoy yourself. Bicycles can be taken from the rezzer on the stone bridge for those who fancy a ride, and there are a number of places where a dance can be enjoyed. At the western end of the stone bridge is a little playground, together with a bubble rezzer for those who prefer an alternative to riding / walking.

Aqua Breeze, November 2020

Elsewhere, and awaiting discovery are little summer houses – one a possible venue for music events -, a greenhouse that has been converted into a café, picnic spots, and floating above one of the hills, a cuddle bubble, countered by a cuddle boat on the water, with decks extending out into the waters.

Enormous care has been taken to present the region as a natural setting, one tenants and visitors alike can appreciate and enjoy. Keep an eye out for the little details – such as the fox debated whether he should try one of the apples that have fallen in the orchard and the little wooden reindeer in the café, getting ready to celebrate the coming of winter.

Aqua Breeze, November 2020

Opportunities for photographs abound throughout the region – although do (again) keep in mind there are private houses scattered around the islands -, and Aqua Breeze makes for a charming, gentle visit.

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Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery in Second Life

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

The Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery is a new gallery venture that has been established by Sevant Anatra to celebrate original Native American / Indigenous & other cultural artwork. Earlier in November, Sevant invited me to pay the studio a visit – and I must (again) offer an apology that it has taken me a good several days to follow-up on the invitation on account of physical world matters taking up a good deal of my time.

Sevant is herself is a contemporary fine artist of the Anishinaabe – a group of culturally-related Indigenous peoples that includes the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (including Mississaugas), Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples of the north American continent. The work she displays in Second Life is all her own, and is a reflection of the creativity that has been central to her entire life.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020
My preferred subject matter is people, and I use soft pastels on black or dark surfaces, usually recycled black artigain paper. I use my art to process knowledge, memories and emotions of either myself or those who pose for me.
In  recent years I have been focusing on reclaiming my Native American heritage and culture one art piece at a time. There is a unique story behind each piece that I often try to express through the use of composition and colour.

– Sevant Anatra discussing her art

Currently, the Gallery is displaying Sevant’s work, together with a slide show of physical world photographs (touch the slide projector to advance the images). Her drawings are richly evocative, fully capturing her subjects in marvellous detail. Native American culture is celebrated within them through the use of traditional clothing, whilst also encompassing simple emotions – love, uncertainty, simple joy – with one also offering a glimpse of a creation story. If I had one niggle at all with this selection, it is that it is potentially too small – this is art that deserves an more extensive showing.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

The gallery itself officially opens on December 5th, and Sevant is seeking artists specialising in pieces representative of indigenous and similar cultural art and heritage. The closing date for being a part of the grand opening on December 5th is Saturday, November 2020 – although applications will also be accepted for slots throughout 2021.

Accepted artists will be allowed 30 LI to display their work, and general requirements for applications can be obtained via note card from an info kiosk in the gallery, or artists can contact Sevant directly in-world. When visiting, do take time to explore the ground, which have by landscaped to reflect the landscape of the Pacific North-west – there are several places t sit and enjoy the setting, and the corner studio is available for exploration.

Miigis Shell Art Studio & Gallery, November 2020

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A Little Winter in Second Life

Little Winter, November 2020

Those who fancy a little touch of winter / seasonal cheer and snow but who don’t fancy exploring a full region, might want to drop in Little Winter, Terrygold’s look at the season for 2020.

Terry has been offering these little winter scenes at the end of the year in Second Life for the last few years, and I’ve always enjoyed visiting them – although I will confess to missing her 2019 design.

Little Winter, November 2020

Located on a sky platform over Solo Arte, where Terrygold often displayed her art and immersive installations, Little Winter presents a simple, easy to appreciate outdoor setting that starts at a little chapel decorated with little stars, with an outhouse that might be the modern-day equivalent of a stable, housing as it does a tricycle and a motor scooter.

A path winds away from the chapel between shoulders and tables of rock and marked by silver birch trees, eventually arriving at a little cabin facing another barn. The cabin is cosy and warm, the barn a little grotto of waiting presents, guarded by large toy soldiers.

Little Winter, November 2020

Around these are lots of little details to be appreciated, from puppies playing with the reins of a sled to happy snowmen and strutting snow kiwis. As well as these, there are places to sit and cuddle, dances to be enjoyed and various opportunities for photography – or even to make a snow angel.

Watched over by deer, Little Winter is an easy to enjoy setting that doesn’t overly impact system performance or require a huge amount of time to explore and appreciate, making it a relaxing and engaging visit.

Little Winter, November 2020

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Around the World with Trinity Yazimoto and friends

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Trinity Yazimoto is an artist who at one time featured quite regularly in this blog after I came across her art. However, I’d managed to lose track of her in recent years, so it was with a good deal of pleasure that I received an invitation from Owl Dragonash to drop into her Hoot Suite Gallery to see a selection of Trinity’s work on display.

Having joined SL in 2009, Trinity started as a merchant-creator making women’s apparel “the old fashioned way” – using textures, system layers and flexiprims. Teaching herself GIMP and PhotoShop, circumstance saw her expand her skills to photography in  2013, as she started visiting regions and recording them via images.

As she candidly notes, the computer she was using at the time didn’t have the horsepower to allow her to use (what was then called) Deferred Rendering and shadows – but this didn’t deter her. Instead, after taking her pictures, Trinity turned to PhotoShop, adding the necessary shadows to her work as a part of her post-processing work – at least until she was able to provide herself with a computer with the power needed to allow her to use shadow rendering in-world.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

Gaining confidence, Trinity started exhibiting her work, first at her own gallery and then via invitations to display her work and through participating in various charity events, although more recently, she hasn’t – sadly – had the time to remain as immersed in SL art as she once was.

In Around the World With My Lil’ Friends, Trinity offers us a series of images  – some new, some from her existing portfolio (although never previously published) –  captured around Second Life that feature, as the title of the exhibition suggests, Trinity’s little animal friends enjoying various activities.

I started this project a few years ago. I always loved the lil bears from “Boogers” and the idea is to take them with me around the world.  They are good company, you know?
P.S. There will probably some more pics to come in the future….

– Trinity on Around the World with My Lil’ Friends.

Hoot Suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

This is a set of 11 pieces split between the two floors of the gallery that show Trinity’s bears and other little friends engaged in everything from a first romantic dinner for two through to racing go-karts and splashing around in a swimming pool or sitting in quiet contemplation, admiring nature – and more.

Each image offers a little story of its own, charmingly framed and easy to follow. Some of these actually spill out of the frame and into the 3D world of the gallery, with several little vignettes of these “lil’ people” set out in the various rooms and on the balcony, in either a continuance of a particular picture or in reflection of it.

This is a genuinely delightful selection of images, complete with engaging audience – and for those who want to see more of Trinity’s lil’ friends, make sure you wander the garden of the gallery.

Hoot suite Gallery: Trinity Yazimoto

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2020 SUG meeting week #48: Uplift update

Time Remains, October 2020 – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, November 24th Simulator User Group meeting.

Server Updates

Please also refer to the week’s server deployment thread.

  • On Tuesday November 24th,  RC channels were updated to simulator version 552571, comprising “some bug fixes and internal tweaks”. However, one fix should correct the inability to correctly set permissions (e.g. edit rights) for friends.
  • There is no planned SLS Main channel deployment for week #48.

Week #49

If all goes to plan at the Lab, week #49 (commencing Monday, November 30th) will see a daily series of rolling restarts across the grid. Due to start on Monday, this will be batches of regions being restarted, with the plan that restarts are staggered to avoid too much disruption, and if everything proceeds smoothly, each region should only be restarted once at some point in the week.

Commenting on the restarts, Maxidox Linden stated:

I think it will be something like at most 14-16 hours between rolls. Though as Rider says unless something changes we don’t plan to roll the same region in two successive rolls. And we’re going to do our best to avoid times with tons of people on-line if we can.

These deployments are liable to occur at 16-hour intervals.

Uplift Status

As per my blog post from week #48 (see: LL confirms Second Life regions now all on AWS), whilst all regions are now running on AWS services, the work in transitioning all of the Second Life back-end services is not complete, and LL are still “operating with one foot in either camp” – and this may be exacerbating the problems currently being experienced by some.

Another factor could be the different communications routes between viewers and servers following the move from operating out of the Lab’s co-lo facility in Arizona to the Amazon centre in Oregon. For some, this has definitely resulted in a noticeable increase in basic ping times to / from the servers, although for others, this has barely changed.

Commenting on the general state of play, Mazidox Linden observed:

We are not yet at what I would call “Final uplift performance” (that is to say, without any explicit attempts at tuning performance and behaviour of system communication). There is still plenty of stuff making that round trip over hundreds of miles to the data centre, slowing things down.

In this respect, some of the issues people are noticing at the moment may be down to the fact that LL haven’t as yet started fine tuning things, and are unlikely to do so until all services are running via AWS. As such, some of the problems people are noting might be down to this. In this respect, Oz Linden noted:

We’re much more focused right now on getting things other than the simulators uplifted and fixing anything that really breaks. Performance problems are a step down in priority until that’s done, but we won’t forget about them.

SL Viewer

The Start of the week has seen no change to the current crop of official viewers, leaving the as follows:

  • Current release viewer version, formerly Cachaça Maintenance RC viewer promoted on November 12 – No change
  • Release channel cohorts:
    •  Custom Key Mappings project viewer, version, November 12.
  • Project viewers:
    • Simple Cache project viewer, version, issued on November 12.
    • Project Jelly project viewer (Jellydoll updates), version, November 2.
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version, October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version, December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version, November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version, July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • Group Chat: There has been an update to the Group chat servers which the Lab hopes will help alleviate the issues of the last couple of months. The hope is that as a result of this, things should be somewhat better, although it is acknowledged things are “not perfectly solid” as yet.
  • Map Tiles: there is a known issue with in-world Map tiles failing to update. At the time of writing, there was no ETA on when a fix will be implemented.
  • Teleports: people are still reporting teleport failures, although data collected by the Lab using additional logging apparently shows the overall level of teleport failures as being back to “normal” after the recent spike.
  • Textures: Slow texture loads: people are reporting slower than usual texture loading. When isn’t currently understood (given textures are among the data coming to users via the CDN, so not directly a part of the AWS transition). The speculation offered by Oz Linden is that where texture messaging is concerned, it may not be going as fast as LL like.
  • Scripts: there have also bee reports of some regions initially showing improved script performance, only to apparently drop back to “pre-uplift” levels of processing. Commenting on this, Maxidox Linden stated:
 If you’re seeing changes to scripts run the likely explanation is that there is contention for shared system resources beneath the simulator layer. That is something we had only mild control over before and have even less control over now..  That said, it’s on our radar. I can’t promise that even when someone gets time to look at it there will be anything we can *do*, but we are aware, and we’re not ignoring it. …
I mean, it is almost possible that we’re calculating that number wrong Lucia, because we have certainly changed the hardware the simulators are running on in ways that the people who made that statistic probably never imagined. I’m not going to swear that is or isn’t happening, but it will certainly be one of the many things we look at.


Sisi and Michiel at Kultivate in Second Life

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

Currently open – for a while longer, at least, given I’m getting to this piece very much on the late side! – are two exhibitions by artists I both appreciate and admire: Michiel Bechir and Sisi Biedermann, who between them present two very different, but equally captivating selections of images for visitors to appreciate and, if they so wish, purchase.

Anyone who is familiar with my coverage of the arts in Second Life knows I am enormously inspired by Sisi’s work, which I categorise as some of the most unique and captivating in Second Life. A  digital mixed-media artist, Sisi’s subject matter tends to be wide-ranging, covering everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touching on the abstract and the near-surreal. This is enough to make her work attention-holding, displaying as they do a richness of imagination, style and colour.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

However, what, for me, makes Sisi’s work doubly captivating is her ability to layer her pieces such that whilst each is a static piece, it has a sense of being alive; there is something inherently tactile about it that makes you want to run your fingers over it and feel the life within.

All of this is very much on display with her selection of art on display at the Kultivate Signature Gallery. There, spread over the three floors of the gallery space are 24 pieces that richly demonstrate Sisi’s artistry, including a ground-level display of six pieces celebrating her visits to a number of famous cities around the world. These are particularly engaging as the both capture the very essence of landmarks from the places Sisi has visited – The Elizabeth Tower (originally the Clock Tower) of London’s Palace of Westminster, The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, and New York’s Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (appearing twice) should all be instantly recognisable.

Kultivate Signature Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

An aspect of these six in particular that I found particularly attractive is that five appear to suggest they have been physically etched rather than photo-layered, and the sixth – with Elizabeth Tower in the foreground – having an also embroidered look to it, thus making these pieces particularly organic in their styling.

The remaining two floors of the gallery hold further pieces of Sisi’s work waiting to engage and en trace. All are richly textured and coloured,  inviting the imagination to take flight.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir
A short walk (or quick teleport) away is the Kultivate Loft Gallery, where Michiel Bechir is currently exhibiting some 32 pieces of his Second Life landscape art, including several in a panoramic format that truly captures the breadth of the regions they represent, whilst four offer a dip into combining landscape with with avatar studies, featuring a subject in period dress suggestive of a Victorian woman of means on her travels.

What I find attractive in Michiel’s work is the manner in which he brings a location to life through camera placement and use of camera angle, always presenting us with a unique view of a place that brings out its natural beauty. His use of post processing also demonstrates a constrained touch that is just sufficient enough to add an evocative edge to his work without becoming top-heavy.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

For this exhibition, Michiel has taken the opportunity to present his pieces as collections: most of the the display areas between the building’s structural support offer three or four images from the same location – the aforementioned Victorian Lady images, for example, were all captured in Witchwood. Thus, these pieces become more than individual pieces (although they can be purchased as such), but also sets of images that can be purchased and displayed together at home, making them very collectable.

I admit to not being too sure as to how long Sisi and Michiel will remain on display at Kultivate – these were exhibitions that started in September, so I really would recommendation that if they tickle your artistic fancy, you hop over to Kultivate sooner rather than later.

Kultivate Loft Gallery: Michiel Bechir

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