A detective and his partners, more short shorts and Celtic mythology

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff of the Seanchai Library SL.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday 28th July, 13:30 – Tea Time At Baker Street

Caledonia Skytower and Corwyn Allen return to read the second story from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s volume of stories The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

Holmes-returnHolmes and Watson find themselves drawn into The Adventure of the Norwood Builder after they are visited by a young lawyer, John Hector McFarlane, who is being sought by the police for the murder of builder Jonas Oldacre.

McFarlane explains that Oldacre, a client of his, had surprised him the previous day by visiting McFarlane’s office requesting the young lawyer draw-up his will in which McFarlane himself was named sole beneficiary and heir to a considerable bequest. Oldacre explained his reasons as being due to a lack of heirs and a previous relationship with McFarlane’s mother.

In order to complete the work as requested, McFarlane returned with Oldacre to the builder’s home in Norwood in order to study some legal papers there. As it took him a while to complete his review of the documents, McFarlane opted to stay at a local inn overnight. Catching the train the next morning, he was horrified to read of Oldacre’s murder and that the police believed him to be responsible, thus prompting him to come to the Great Detective’s office and petition his assistance.

Monday 29th July, 19:00 – The Beekeeper’s Apprentice (2)

In a change to last week’s programme, Caledonia Skytower commenced a reading of Laurie R. King’s 1994 novel for young adults The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, the first n a series of books featuring teenager Mary Russell and none other than Sherlock Holmes.

The year is 1915 and Sherlock Holmes, now fifty-four, has retired to the Sussex Downs to study honey bees. One April afternoon, he is interrupted by a young girl – fifteen-year-old Mary Russell – who has recently come to live with her Aunt following the tragic death of her parents in an automobile accident. Gawky, and possessed of an intellect and wit well beyond her years – and an ego to match – the young Miss Russell impresses Holmes, and he finds himself drawn – albeit reluctantly – into teaching her his former tradecraft. Thus a new partnership is formed between the very modern young Miss Russell and the very Victorian Great Detective.

Tuesday 30th July, 19:00: Ruffles On My Longjohns

rufflesIn 1913, American-born Ralph Edwards established a homestead in Bella Coola Valley, British Columbia, and went on to become famous as a conservationist and the “Crusoe of Lonesome Lake”.

In the early 1930s, following his return to Bella Coola, he was joined by his brother Earle, and sister-in-law Isabel, who came straight from the city of Portland, Oregon on what was supposed to be a vacation visit. However, both of them fell in love with the wilds of British Columbia and decided to move there themselves, settling into a farm near Bella Coola.

Ruffles in my Longjohns is Isabel’s autobiographical account of her pioneering life with her husband, far from all the trappings of “civilisation” in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a firsthand account of homesteading, told with wit, whimsy and panache, the tale of “city girl” living on the frontier in a world of hard-bitten men, and how she coped, told in a loving, personal style.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she continues reading from this inspiring book.

Wednesday 31st July, 19:00: More Micro Fiction with Brokali

From the Seanchai Library website:

BrokaliOther names for micro fiction include sudden fiction, flash fiction, micro-story, short short, postcard fiction and more, though distinctions are sometimes drawn between some of these terms.

For example,  one-thousand words is considered the cut-off between “flash fiction” and the slightly longer short story “sudden fiction”. The terms “micro fiction” and “micro narrative” are sometimes defined as below 300 words. The term “short short story” was the most common term until about 2000, when “flash fiction” overtook it.

Confused yet?  Worry not – Brokali will clear that all up and help you laugh along the way as he shares his delightful sense of humor and his dedication to this form with a buffet of micro gems.

Thursday 1st August, 19:00: Mabinogion (1)

From the Timeless Myths website:

Mabinogion“The Mabinogion was a collection of eleven (twelve) tales from the Welsh myths. The tales of the Mabinogion were preserved in two manuscripts, White Book of Rhydderch (c. 1325) and the Red Book of Hergest (c. 1400). Though the Rydderch manuscript was the earlier of the two, the tales of Lludd, Culhwch and Owein survived only in fragments, while the Dream of Rhonabwy was completely lost. Only the Hergest manuscript contained all eleven tales.

“The Mabinogion was first translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest. It was Lady Charlotte who gave the title of “Mabinogion” to this collection of tales. Also, Lady Charlotte had included a twelfth tale, called Hanes Taliesin (“Tale of Taliesin”), belonging to the Independent group. However, the Hanes Taliesin was not found in the two early manuscripts, so some of the later translations of the Mabinogion do not include the story of Taliesin.

“The tales from the Mabinogion can be divided into three categories. The first four tales belonged to the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (“Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi”). The next four (or five, if including Taliesin) were the Independent tales, two tales of which Arthur appeared in the scene. While the last three tales falls into a category known as the Welsh romances, similar to those of the French romances written by Chretien de Troyes.”

Join Shandon Loring as he commences reading from these ancient works.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for July and August is Little Kids Rock. Have questions? IM or notecard Caledonia Skytower.

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InWorldz second Relay for Life season announced

IW RFLThe Second annual Relay for Life of InWorldz (RFL of IW) season has been formally announced.

InWorldz held its first Relay For Life (RFL) season, fully sanctioned by the American Cancer Society, in 2012, raising some $15,000.

The 2013 season will commence in late August 2013 and run through until the start of November, culminating in the Relay itself on Saturday November 2nd.

Key Dates

The season opens on Saturday August 24th, 2013 at 09:00 InWorldz Time at Paradise by Design (IWurl).

The “half way” event will take place on Saturday September 28th, starting at 09:00 InWorldz time.

The Relay itself will be held on Saturday November 2nd, commencing at midday, InWorldz time.

Sponsorship

Sponsorships for the season are currently open, and comprise three levels, starting at $50.00 USD and rising to $150.00, each with unique benefits to sponsors, including website promotion, event mentions, logo promotions, and more. For full details of each level of sponsorship, the levels still available, and how to become a sponsor, please refer to the RFL of IW sponsorship page.

Further Information

About Relay for Life

Relay For Life (RFL) is an inspirational overnight fundraising event that honours cancer survivors and celebrates life. Each Relay is a community-led, non-athletic event where teams fundraise and then join together in the Relay event. There, teams take it in turns to walk round a track for up to 24 hours to signify that ‘cancer never sleeps’.

RFL started in the United States in 1985 when one man circled around a track for 24 hours raising $27,000. Now, over four million people from twenty countries world-wide participate annually in Relay for Life events. RFL of IW is officially sanctioned by the American Cancer Society and a recognised RFL event.

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SL projects update week 30 (2): Upcoming server & viewer releases, SSA, HTTP

Server Deployments Week 31 (Week Commencing Monday July 29th)

As always, please refer to the week’s forum deployment thread for news, updates and feedback.

Second Life Server (SLS Main) Channel

On Tuesday July 30th, the SLS Main channel should receive the server maintenance package previously deployed to BlueSteel in week 30. This project fixes some miscellaneous bugs, and also allows viewers to send requests for materials data more rapidly.

On Wednesday July 31st, the three main Release Candidate channels should be updated as follows:

  • BlueSteel should receive a new server maintenance project.  This project fixes some bugs related to LSL scripts in child prims of linksets, and also addresses some server crash modes
  • Magnum and LeTigre remain SSA enabled and both receive the updates deployed to the Main channel.

Server-side Appearance

As noted in the planned deployment summary above, it is currently not anticipated that SSA will be enabled on any additional channels in week 31.

Overall, the Lab think the initial phase of deployment is going well, and recognise the considerable contribution made by TPVs in enabling this to happen. A rough approximation from viewer statistics suggests that around three-quarters of users logging-in to SL are using viewers which are SSA-enabled, and that the overall figure may be higher.

A chart compiled by Kadah Koba showing the percentages of SSA-enabled and non-SSA viewer in use (excluding Firestorm 4.4.0)
A chart compiled by Kadah Coba showing the percentages of SSA-enabled and non-SSA viewer in use (excluding Firestorm 4.4.0)

Commenting on the state of play for the project during the TPV Developer meeting on Friday July 26th, Nyx Linden said:

The system is working pretty much as we expected … and even the scaling of how much load is being generated is pretty much right on par with what we’re expecting. But we want to make sure that a few other things are returning the right things and we’re getting the right statistics that we want before we roll it out to the [entire] grid. We’re trying to be extra-cautious.

Viewer-side Updates

In terms of viewer-side updates, the plan is to try to have one major post-SSA enabling release which should include the planned inventory updates noted in the first part of this report along with any additional viewer-side code tweaks to the viewer arising from SSA being enabled, and a final code clean-up to remove the “old” baking code.

However, this does depend on enabling SSA on the rest of the grid. If there is yet cause to delay this (due to an unexpected issue arising, for example), and the delay continues for a significant amount of time, then it is possible that there will be two viewer releases: one with the currently planned updates and one with the post-deployment code clean-up.

Either way, to assist TPVs prepare for the viewer-side update(s), Nyx plans to periodically push code from the Lab’s private repositories to their public repositories as and when code is in a suitable condition to be pushed.

Issues Update

SUN-98 (Bake fail resulting from partially broken alpha layer): this is thought to be the result of wearing a corrupted clothing layer, and if so is considered to be expected behaviour in order to avoid cases of “accidental nudity” (which might arise from wearing a corrupted clothing later, which the SSA system would ignore and just bake whatever was underneath it  – such as the avatar’s skin). However the matter is still being looked into in case the problem has another cause.

Nyx acknowledged that even if the problem is due to expected behaviour, it would be useful  “at some point in the future” to add some UI elements to actually show the user which clothing asset they’re wearing that is causing the problem. What form these UI elements / warning will take remains to be decided.

SUN-99 (Bakefail on SSA regions only. When entering into SSA region, skin and system clothes fail to bake): this issue only affects a very small number of users and appears to be related to them having multiple copies of the Current Outfit Folder (COF) in their inventories, probably as a result of having moved it  within their inventory (i.e. into another folder) at some point prior to the Lab introducing restrictions to prevent the COF being moved or deleted.

To prevent this happening in the future, the Lab is implementing further back-end restrictions and other improvements on the COF, and Nyx has e-mailed all TPVs with notes on how the COF should be implemented within the viewer in order to comply with these restrictions.

In the meantime it was mentioned at the Server Beta meeting on Thursday July 25th that LL’s support team can now assist users who find they are suffering from this particular issue.

Viewer Updates

Release Candidates

As noted in part one of this report, there are now three RC viewers in the viewer release channel (Beta Maintenance, Google Breakapad and Vivox). All three are performing well, although no decision has been made as to which will be going to release status first.

Beyond these, the Lab is looking at a number of further release candidate cohorts, including the Cocoa updates for the Mac version of the viewer, a series of open-source contributions to the viewer, and a further series of CHUI updates.

Commenting on the current situation with viewer updates at the TPV Developer meeting, Oz Linden said, ” It’s going to be some time before we get to the point where we’ve got the number of simultaneous things happening down to a reasonable number; lots of stuffing was sitting around waiting for the opportunity to get out, and it’s all coming at once now!”

Continue reading “SL projects update week 30 (2): Upcoming server & viewer releases, SSA, HTTP”

Desura and Blocksworld debut on LL’s corporate pages

LL logoUpdate: Linden Lab sold Desura to Bad Juju Games on November 5th, 2014.

Both Desura and Blocksworld have made their individual debuts on Linden Lab’s corporate website, with Desura appearing on Friday July 26th, and Blocksworld a little earlier in the week.

Both have links to introductory pages which in turn lead to their respective websites, as well as  banners at the top of the corporate site’s home page.

Blocksworld and Desura both now appear on LL's corporate website, with links to introductory pages and their own banners
Blocksworld and Desura both now appear on LL’s corporate website, with their own banners at the top of the home page and links to their introductory pages

The Desura introductory page includes a brief description of the service, which reads:

Desura is a community-driven digital distribution service for gamers, putting the best games, mods and downloadable content from developers at gamers fingertips, ready to buy and play.

The free Desura application can serve and patch games, mods, and add-ons directly for customers around the world.

Developers and publishers can share news, images, videos, and other content through their profiles, while every member of the Desura community can post comments, submit reviews, and upload screenshots from their own playing experiences.

The page also includes an introductory video from August 2011 entitled Introduction to Desura and (presumably) narrated by DesuraNET’s founder, Scott Reismanis.

While in-depth and useful for someone wanting to get to grips with Desura, the video is not really in keeping with the other promotional videos on the other product pages, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it is swapped-out for something a little lighter from the Lab in the near future (“Hello everyone. I’m Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Lab, makers of shared creative spaces…” ;-)) .

The link from the page goes directly to Desura’s website, which has yet to show any signs of rebranding – which is hardly a surprise, all things considered. The Lab has some grand ambitions for the service, and so it’s likely to be a while yet before we start seeing significant changes and updates.

The last time I reported on Blocksworld, I pointed to rumours that it could be launching in July. These came via All Things D’s Eric Johnson, following a Q&A with Rod Humble which appeared at the start of July.

The new(ish) Blocksworld introductory page on the Lab’s website is a little less forthcoming, stating only that it is coming soon to the iPad, with the rest of the text reading:

Blocksworld is a lighthearted build-and-play system for kids and grownups alike that brings the imaginative play of toy blocks to your iPad’s touch-screen, allowing you to bring your digital creations to life.

Snap together colorful 3D blocks to create anything you can imagine – from crazy characters to cars, space rockets, animals, robots, planes, monsters, and much more – and then bring your creations to life and play with them!

The Lab’s “official” Blocksworld video also appears on the page, and while it is good, I confess to still preferring Boldai’s own videos, but I’m again including it here for completeness.

The Blocksworld website hasn’t changed since my last report on it, and it most likely won’t until we do see the app launched. I wonder if the Lab will still push the product forward on Android, once it has launched…

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A short stay in Ghostville

Ghostville; Inara Pey, July 2013, on Flickr Ghostville (closed) – click any image for full size

It’s most likely the a lot of people first saw Cica Ghost on their radar screens as a result of her LEA13 installation. Called simply Cica, it ran from September 2012 through February 2013 and featured 2D black and white animated stick figures in their village, occupying a 3D immersive space. At the time, it captured the attention of a lot of people for its unique approach to SL art.

It was followed by Rust in March 2013, again at LEA13 (where it can still be seen for a while longer). While very different in approach and look to Cica, Rust nevertheless carries some similar motifs as evidenced in Cica, and includes much of the artist’s humour and playfulness first seen in Cica.

Ghostville; Inara Pey, July 2013, on Flickr Ghostville (closed)

Now we have a new full sim installation from Cica to enjoy. Hosted by Per4mance MetaLES, Ghostville continues to build on the motifs seen in Cica and Rust, but presents them in a vastly different way to the other two works.

This is a landscape which echoes that of Rust in some ways, but which is also very distinct. In it is set a series of buildings, each of which is incomplete and yet complete as a build, if you follow me, and which presents its own little tableau or vignette. Among and within them are further echoes of both Cica and Rust, although this is by no means a re-tread of either. The broader influences are very different, with the buildings having something of a Mediterranean look and feel, and several of the vignettes allowing visitors to participate in them – there are chairs and window sills to sit on and at, board games to watch over, and so on.

Ghostville; Inara Pey, July 2013, on Flickr Ghostville (closed)

Cica’s own playfulness is once again much in evidence, and the composition of the various little sets is exquisite; you’ll probably need to take a look at each of them twice to catch everything.

There’s also something else here as well, which is hard to define – or at least which I’ve had a hard time defining. While there is a playfulness in the various vignettes, some of also seem to have a deeper feeling about them which is not always easy to catch, and which at times simply comes down to a turn of the camera or a change of viewing position which results in a piece taking on an entirely new appearance.

I honestly have no idea if this is in fact the case, or whether it is simply a product of my over-worked and family-distracted little brain. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed my explorations of this piece, and will be going back as soon as time permits me the opportunity to spend a little longer there without RL looking over my shoulder.

Ghostville; Inara Pey, July 2013, on Flickr Ghostville (closed)

Ghostville opened on July 25th, and will run for two months. It’s not one to be missed.

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Heat and the perils of blogging from the UK

Verdigris
Verdigris

Since getting the new PC (did I mention I had a new PC? ;-)), I’ve been busy sorting various bits and pieces out – not so much installing software, but sorting through files, re-organising things, and so on.

I’ve always been fairly ordered in my filing – paper and computer – and I like to have everything in its place, neat, tidy and sorted. So I was a little surprised to come across a series of shots I took of Verdigris a while back somewhat mis-filed (among my work bits, no less; oops) and lacking a blog post.

Verdigris
Verdigris

The brainchild of Oriolus Oliva, Verdigris must be one of the landmark sites of Second Life; a  strange, wonderful village sitting atop a bridge to nowhere, facing N0th1ng Ackland’s trestle-mounted Dirty Rat store across a deep gorge.

This is a brilliant place to visit and photograph – as many have done well before me. It’s also a wonderful place to wander around, mooching through the shops, climbing and descending the stairs to / from the upper gallery stores, admiring the view and exploring the ground level; I personally love the windmill at the end of the bridge.

Verdigris
Verdigris

Regulars to this blog will likely have noticed something of a falling-off in the number of posts I make, particularly over the last week or so. While I don’t want to bore people with the ins and out of the life of a Pey, there are several reasons for this, two of which I will mention (well, I could mention three, but the Tour de France ended on Sunday, so I’m no longer oogling men in lycra & riding bikes every afternoon :)).

The first is that we’re in something of a heat wave in the UK right now. While it is really nice to have sunshine and clear blue skies, it also means it is blue bloody murder sitting in a little study with a PC toasting your toes (or at least blowing out warm air over them), sans air conditioning, and with the windows shut tight against the cat attempting a leap out of them into the wild blue yonder – again (my study is on the upper floor of the house). So the upshot is that, even with the desk fan on throughout the day, by the time I’ve finished my “real” work, I’m at the point where I’m ready to peel myself (quite literally) out of the chair and just go vegetate somewhere cooler.

Verdigris
Verdigris

The other reason is more annoying. Last week I started experiencing problems connecting to WordPress via my ISP, both when trying to read other blogs and in trying to access mine to paste text for draft posts, update posts-in-progress, etc. I wasn’t alone; checking the WordPress forums, it appeared that a fair few people from the UK (and initially using the same ISP as me) were experiencing the same problem. It had thought to have been fixed a couple of times (the initial thread being closed pretty rapidly by WordPress admin as “resolved”). Unfortunately, the situation actually seems to have worsened – people on other UK-based ISPs are reporting similar errors and problems. Quite where the issue lies is unclear, but there is a lot of finger-pointing going on in both directions.

So, as a result of both these issues (and one or two others), my blogging has slowed down somewhat of late, and while I have a mass of articles-in-waiting, I have to confess that firing-up the enthusiasm has been a little difficult at times. I do promise, however, that – as the saying goes – “normal service will be resumed as soon as possible”. Probably when I stop melting :).

In the meantime, enjoy the Verdigris piccies. Or better yet, go pay a visit if you haven’t before / recently :).

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Verdigris
Verdigris