Blogging and me

I’m getting to this at least a week after everyone else – if not longer. The reason why is simple: I’ve actually had something of an internal fight with myself over whether to a) do it and b) press it.

What am I talking about? Strawberry Singh’s meme (one of a whole series she has been setting, which have been thought-provoking) of “Why do I blog?” The format is easy enough – answer a series of questions on the subject of “why do I blog?”

So after several rounds of yes / no / yes / no arguments with myself, here (finally, and for whatever they’re worth!) are my answers.

Thinking about why I blog while sitting at Hazardous
Thinking about why I blog while sitting at Hazardous

How long have you been blogging? I started in January 2007 using Blogspot, then in 2009 made the move to WordPress.

Why did you start blogging? This is a little complicated. There was a time when I was very involved in D/s in my real life (I’ve actually written extensively on the subject elsewhere in the past – and no, I’m not saying where or under what name!). In coming back to SL, I opted to explore how D/s is perceived and acted upon. While it may sound presumptuous, I was so taken aback by a good few of the attitudes and misconceptions surrounding D/s as seen in SL, that I started blogging to try to offer a counterpoint and present D/s in a wider context. Over time, my own interests in SL changed such that the nature of my blogging shifted focus, particularly after the move to WordPress, and the blog evolved to what is read today.

How many times a week do you post an entry? Currently, I’m running at least one post a day, although sometimes I can hit 4 or 5 a day – it really depends what is going on, what I read about, what I learn and what generally comes my way.

How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis? I try to run through all the blogs on my blogroll at least a couple of times a week. Some are daily reading (or very nearly). I also read a number of other blogs as time allows, although they should perhaps be read more frequently (Strawberry’s being one … hence coming to this meme so late!). My problem is that I can either blog or read (or blog and read … and ignore the realities of real life!).

Do you comment on other people’s blogs? Yes, when I feel I have something to say that actually might be worth saying.

Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Yes, although I’m actually more interested in the geographic diversity of those who visit. In the last five months this blog has averaged 32,800 page views and an average of 14,000 unique visitors a month – which I find amazing. What amazes me even more is that these people come from all over the world. Obviously, the highest concentrations of page views comes from the USA, Europe, Australia and Japan, but I’m genuinely stunned when I look back across a month and see multiple page views from Fiji, Belize, San Marino, Tanzania, Oman, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka,  Macau, Taiwan and more. Of course, these views likely all only add up to one person each (especially as some don’t climb above 5 or 6 views a week), but the fact they are there month on month does remind me that Second Life really does have a global reach.

I track visitors, and do get a buzz out of seeing how far-flung across the world they are
I track visitors, and do get a buzz out of seeing how far-flung across the world they are

Did you ever regret a post that you wrote? Some of my pieces take a good while to germinate and take shape, particularly as I try to keep to a certain “maximum length” of article. This has meant in the past that I’ve sometimes pushed the “publish” button when perhaps a little more polish or simply walking away one more time and then coming back with a fresh pair of eyes for a final read-through might have been better.

Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog? I hope that people have a clear sense of my values. I don’t have a hard-and-fast rule on differentiating between the “real” and “virtual” me (although I have various limits on how far I will go in talking about the “real me”). Whether this gives any real sense as to who I am for anyone reading these pages without encountering me – I’ve honestly no idea.

Do you blog under your real name? Nope. All my VW writing is done under my virtual identity of Inara Pey. The vast majority of my writing elsewhere has been under pseudonyms as well.

Are there topics that you would never blog about? Yes. Real world politics for one. Religion for another.

What is the theme/topic of your blog? Virtual worlds and environments, although the primary focus is on Second Life, as I simply cannot keep pace with everything else going on out there!

Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? Yes. No. Sort-of. I have two other blogs, one for my builds and one for *some* of my D/s writing carried over from my original blog – but both rarely get any real attention from me.

What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? A greater understanding of Second Life and a clearer appreciation for Linden Lab (warts and all) and the work they put into making this incredible environment possible. A growing love of virtual photography (I’m even starting to venture into the world of post-processing!), and the discovery of in-world interests and hobbies.

Blogging has encouraged me to try to improve my ability in framing and taking snapshots
Blogging has encouraged me to try to improve my ability in framing and taking snapshots – such as with Keisei

So, why do you continue to blog? I can’t stand going cold turkey when away from my blog :).

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Viewer release summary 2013: week 18

This summary is published every Monday and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Viewer Round-up Page, a list of  all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware) and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy
  • By its nature, this summary will always be in arrears
  • The Viewer Round-up Page is updated as soon as I’m aware of any releases / changes to viewers & clients, and should be referred to for more up-to-date information as the week progresses
  • The Viewer Round-up Page also includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.  

Updates for the week ending: May 5th, 2013

Depreciated / Discontinued Viewers

  • SL Development viewer – depreciated as of version April 24, 2013
  • Zen Viewer – discontinued by developer and no longer available, January 27th, 2013
  • Phoenix viewer – development and support ended on December 31st, 2012

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SL10BCC: Photo contest

The Community Celebration team is thrilled to announce its first photo contest in celebration of Second Life’s 10th anniversary.


What better way to start getting people thinking about and involved in the forthcoming celebrations to mark Second Life’s tenth year of public access than through a photo contest?

We want you to submit a photo which encapsulates all or part of this year’s celebratory theme: Looking Forward, Looking Back. The subject matter is entirely your choice – as long as it’s not of any part of the celebration regions themselves; we hope to have a further competition for that later! Instead, we want you to explore the grid (or your inventories!) and find the perfect picture which fits our theme.

Up to two entries can be submitted per avatar name, and there are two categories for entries:

  • Category A is for photos taken using only the tools available within the viewer (the snapshot floater, windlight settings, the debug and preferences options for images, etc.)
  • Category B is for photos which have been processed outside of the viewer using tools such as PhotoShop, GIMP, PaintShop Pro and so on.
A part of SL's history: the Orientation Station
A part of SL’s history: the Orientation Station

The Rules

  • No more than two photographs per avatar name
  • Competition entries must be made via the SL10B Celebration Photo Contest Flickr group
  • Entries must not show the SL10B Community Celebration regions
  • Photos must be PG – make it family friendly keep it clean and FUN or risk disqualification!
  • Competitors must indicate whether the photograph is Category A (using only the tools available within the viewer) or Category B (using tools outside the viewer, such as photo editing software)
  • Descriptive text may accompany entries
  • The Community Celebration Team reserve the right to use photograph submissions for event advertising
  • All entires must be uploaded by midnight SLT on Thursday, June 6th, 2013.

A distinguished panel will select the top twenty photos, which will be displayed at the entry point at the celebrations, where visitors will get the opportunity to vote for the one they like best.

Honour and glory the prize, in addition to having your photo posted on the Community Celebration official blog, and social media (e.g. Facebook, Flickr, Twitter)!

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