Happy 2014 to all!

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Wishing everyone all the very best for 2014. Thank you for taking the time to come read this blog, give feedback and comments, and for all your retweets, replurks, loves and support throughout 2013. It has been and is, deeply appreciated.

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2013: a year in review (3): September – December

It’s once again that annual time of reflection. The winter is with us, the old year is slowing dying, the new year awaits, and it is time to look back across the highs and lows of the virtual year as seen through the pages of this blog. This year has been even busier for me than previous years, so rather than give you a sea of text to wade through, I’ve opted to break things down into three more manageable offerings, starting with January through to April, and have tried to limit myself to bullet-points to the various links. I’ve not attempted to dot every “I” and cross every “T”; rather my aim is to highlight the main items of news for each month (or those which raised a smile), and those aspects of other VWs I had time to cover and well as a look back on some personal elements of my SL times over the year. For those into art and SL exploration, I’ve also summarised installations and regions visited by month in the hope that doing so will stir your own memories of those events / places.

September

69 posts

Second Life and the Lab

Platform News

Art Reviews

Events

Pey’s Travelogue

Palomar Observatory, Honah Lee islands
Palomar Observatory, Honah Lee islands

Personal Notes

October

60 posts

Second Life and the Lab

Platform News

Art Reviews

Events

Pey’s Travelogue

Alki
Alki

Other Worlds

Continue reading “2013: a year in review (3): September – December”

Got Gmail? Seems like you’re missing off-line IMs (and more)? Read on …

googleSaffia Widdershins has blogged over at Prim Perfect about a somewhat annoying situation that has arisen for Second Life users who have Gmail as their e-mail provider. I’ll let Saffia explain:

It seems that a few weeks ago, Linden Labs was put on the SPAM list for gmail. Because of this, many of your offlines from Second Life may have been going to your spam folder (a peek into the dark recesses of your spam folder will confirm this.

She goes on to provide a set of instructions for those so afflicted on how to set a filter to overcome the problem.

Setting filters is good advice for any e-mail service, Gmail or otherwise. I actually switched away from Gmail a few years ago and now use GMX.com.  By default, I use a filter to direct offlines to a given folder  in order to keep them separate from other e-mails flowing into my inbox (or, indeed, ending-up in my junk mail folder). Helps keep things tidy 🙂 .

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A joyful Second Life from a collection of little wonders

When I was reworking my little corner of Second life recently (and driving people up-the-wall with blog posts on it), I wanted to add a little more life to the place.

I’ve always used sounds a lot in my private region homes; usually in the form of scripted recordings of birdsong, night-time owls and crickets etc., and have also tended to use the sound of splashing / running water if I’ve had a stream or waterfall in the build (although confess I have yet to do that with the “new” garden design).

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However, with the “new” house, I wanted something more; I just wasn’t sure what that “more” should be. While I love having Kayle Matzerath’s butterflies flittering and circling the flower beds and adding more colour as well as movement to the place, butterflies aren’t exactly known for being songful or chatty. And while I have things like ducks and squirrels and rabbits sitting in inventory, they also weren’t entirely what I was looking for.

Thus I set off to trawl the SL Marketplace for suitable ideas – and in doing so, I discovered Morgan Garret’s stunning range of garden birds. Or perhaps I should say “rediscovered”, as I first came across them in-world around mid-year, then lost track of them after his in-world store seemed to vanish shortly afterwards.

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If you’ve not seen Morgan’s birds, then you’ve missed out. Seriously. They are the most amazing creations you could have to bring added depth to your garden or region; hence why I’m yakking about them now -I’ve hard-pushed not to since adding them to my garden earlier in the month!

There are around 24 varieties of bird in the range at the time of writing, most on sale in COPY packs at around L$350 a go. The birds cover a spread from North America through Europe into Asia and northern Africa, so offering a good range from which to choose. Each pack offers a given bird in a number of variants – standing, perching, “24 hour” and even wearable; and most include a high-res version for photography.

All are beautifully scripted, so once positioned, they bob, look around, cock their heads as if listening, and seem to react to noise and movement in an incredibly real way. And of course, they sing – but not just any song. Each sings in a voice that has been recorded from its real-life counterparts, and like real birds they’ll happily sing from dawn until dusk, before keeping quiet through the night – unless you want them to keep right on singing, which is why there is a “24 hour” variant or two in each pack.

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The detail in terms of textures and the sheer natural movement Morgan’s birds possess has to be seen to be believed; I was totally blown away when I first encountered them, and even now I’m hard pushed not to splurge on adding more to my land. And with a LI of just three apiece, it’s possible to get a fair few into even a relatively small space, perched here and there or gathered at a feeding table, and so on without over-burdening a parcel. Each pack even includes a “perching branch” you can plant in or beside trees to sit your birds.

At the moment I have three varieties of Morgan’s little birds scattered around the garden and I’m sorely tempted by at least two more. Those already in the garden have a distinctly North American bias, so being from the other side of the Atlantic, so I feel a pressing need to balance things up a little 🙂 .

If you’re interested in getting Morgan’s birds for your own place, you can find them on SLM under the Grizzly Creek brand, which is managed by Dryfly (Julia Garret – Morgan’s real-life sister), along with the rest of their unique range of goods.

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One of Morgan's little birds keeps an eye on Stitch, my in-world cat