Virtual Ability Inc announce IDRAC 2014

Virtual AbilityOn Sunday  September 7th, Virtual Ability Inc., announced the 4th International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) take place in Second Life on October 3rd and 4th, 2014.  The theme for the 2014 conference is “Technically, we’re accessible… right?” Exploring True Inclusion in the Digital World.

Details of speakers, and presentations will follow in due course. for now, Virtual Ability extend an open invitation to all to attend the weekend’s conference, stating:

Join colleagues, friends, and community members for presentations on web accessibility, advances in assistive technology, creating an accessible user experience, accessible gaming, emerging standards for technology, and more! Presenters from Spain, U.K., U.S., and Australia will join us at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island within Second Life.

Why don’t you join us, too? 

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and I’ll be covering the programme and speakers through these pages as they are announced.

The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 ISRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc
The open-air Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island, location for the 2014 IDRAC conference, to be hosted by Virtual Ability Inc

In the meantime, those wishing to know more about the conference, its focus and aims, should contact  sister@virtualability.org or Sister Abeyante in-world.

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That’s Italy for you

That's Italy
That’s Italy

Now open at MIC Imagin@rium is Mexi Lane’s installation, That’s Italy, a curious piece combining elements from a previous work, with the hulk of a ship, containers and … hovercraft.

You arrive on the familiar sandy shoreline of the MIC Imagin@rium art region, co-curated by Mexi, standing alongside a wooden jetty. Out to sea sits the ship, the titular Italy, listing to port as if she’s run aground, objects in the waters around her surrounded by a mass of objects which at first might suggest the tops of the rocks upon which she has come to grief. A closer examination, however, reveals the objects in the water to be the flotsam of her cargo, either driven from her deck as a result of whatever accident befell her, or perhaps subsequently pushed overboard as jetsam as her crew fought to refloat her…

Draw closer still, and the cargo reveals itself to be somewhat unusual; while the metal hulks of containers sit in the water, the majority of the seaborne cargo is tiny houses, more of which are jumbled on the freighter’s tired deck and scattered in her rusting hold – the Italy is clearly a vessel that has seen better days.

That's Italy
That’s Italy

Buoys mark the ship’s location, red lights winking as if in a baleful warning, “keep away! Keep away!” Seagulls wheel over the ship while, when seen from certain angles, the MIC Imagin@rium island forms a backdrop, it’s Roman style adding further depth to the piece to the enquiring mind, conjuring images of seafaring accidents which have scarred otherwise picturesque coastlines.

So, is there a message here? Perhaps there is – although what it might be is up to you to decide, as Mexi says of the piece herself, “[It is] a vision that I wanted to communicate. A state of mind? A metaphor? I do not know, you decide.”

Metaphor is certainly here, and richly layered as well, both with the piece as it is seen and in how it has been put together. Is it, for example, perhaps a commentary on how our consumer-driven need, represented by the little houses, is impacting the world through pollution (the oil drums floating amidst the flotsam) and man-made disasters (the wreck of the Italy itself?). Or is the fact that a portion of the piece  – the houses – are re-used from an earlier work, now all carefully re-textured, a commentary on the need to recycle, to re-use and so reduce to potential burden we place on this world in dealing with our waste and rubbish?

That's Italy
That’s Italy

The best way to drawn any conclusions is to visit That’s Italy for yourself. Oh, and the hovercraft, mentioned at the top? They’ your transport out to the wreck, if you wish; just keep in mind that the warning buoys I referred to are there not only to warn passing ships away from the wreck, but also to alert you to the presence of the region boundary.

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Replex updates to version 1.0

Replex-logoFollowing the release of Singularity 1.8.6 on Thursday September 4th, Replex, the viewer led by Latif Khalifa and based on Singularity, updated on Saturday September 6th to version 1.0.0.6229, the first full release of the viewer.

I reviewed an alpha version of Replex in June, when it slightly preempted the (then) upcoming Singularity release. This release keeps pace with the Singularity 1.8.6 release, offering the same capabilities. Replex-specific updates comprise:

  • Added new default Replex skin
  • Now provides Gemini and Silver skins
  • Windows 64 viewer now supports parcel media (QuickTime)
  • Media filter disabled by default

Replex is available in Windows and Linux 32-bit and 64-bit version, and a Mac version and is compatible with OS X 10.6 and newer, Intel CPUs. Note that the download page contain additional notes relating to the Linux version of the viewer.

I’ve not had the opportunity to take Replex for a thorough test drive, but the Alpha version was stable and nicely packaged, and I see no changes on that front with this release.

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Of lions and aliens among us; of merfolk and celtic romance

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

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

Sunday September 7th

13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell once again open the pages of The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, the final set of twelve Sherlock Holmes short stories first published in the Strand Magazine between October 1921 and April 1927.

This week: The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

“You will understand, Mrs. Merrilow, that if I come to Mrs. Ronder I should prefer to have a witness. You will make her understand that before we arrive.”

“Lord bless you, Mr. Holmes,” said our visitor, “she is that anxious to see you that you might bring the whole parish at your heels!”

“Then we shall come early in the afternoon. Let us see that we have our facts correct before we start. If we go over them it will help Dr. Watson to understand the situation. You say that Mrs. Ronder has been your lodger for seven years and that you have only once seen her face.”

“And I wish to God I had not!” said Mrs. Merrilow.

With these words, John Watson once again finds himself plunged into a new mystery at the side of his long-time friend, Sherlock Holmes. The year is 1896, and Holmes has asked Watson to attend 221B Baker Street to listen to the story Mrs. Merrilow has to tell of her lodger, Mrs. Ronder. Horribly disfigured, Mrs. Rounder is the surviving victim of a terrible accident after a circus lion somehow got loose and savaged her and her husband – killing him.

While the case had piqued Holmes’ curiosity on account of a number of inconsistencies, he had not been called upon to investigate matters. Now, every night, Mrs. Ronder is beside herself with fear, shouting and screaming of murder and beasts. Her health has also deteriorated, and she has refused all assistance, asking only that her landlady, Mrs. Merrilow, seek out Holmes and ask for his aid – and to repeat two works to him: Abbas Parva …

To find out more, be sure to turn up on time for a spot of afternoon tea at Baker Street!

13:30: Magicland Storytime

Join Caledonia Skytower for some more Summer Magic at the Golden Horshoe at Magicland Park.

Monday September 8th, 19:00: Far From Home: The People Deluge

the peopleZenna Chlarson Henderson was one of the first female science-fiction authors, having started reading publications such as astounding Stories from the age of 12, and becoming a popular author in the 1950s and 1960s.

She is perhaps best known for her The People stories, which focus of a race of human-like aliens forced to flee their homeworld due to a natural disaster, and some of whom arrive in the American southwest shortly before the start of the 20th century.

The People have the very best of human qualities: love, gentleness, spirituality; and also special powers of healing, levitation, telekinesis and more, who wish only to preserve their home culture and beliefs amidst a world which, despite their human appearance, does not understand them.

Henderson’s tales about The People ran to some 17 stories which examined the lives of The People, their past on their homeworld, their attempts to live quietly on Earth, their interactions with their human neighbours, all told in a beautiful, moving style. Why not join Gyro Muggins to learn more as he resumes their story through the pages of The People Deluge?

Tuesday September 8th, The Sea Fairies

Lyman Frank Baum is best known for his Wizard of Oz novels. However, over the course of his life he wrote some 59 novels (including four “lost” novels), 83 short stories and over 200 poems.

sea-fairiesThe Sea Fairies, first published in 1911, was intended to be the first volume in a new series of stories after Baum had “finished” the Oz series with the Emerald City of Oz. It tells the tale of young Mayre Griffiths, known to all as Trot, who lives on the coast of Southern California, where her father is the captain of a sailing schooner. Trot’s home life is shared with Cap’n Bill, her father’s former skipper, who has lived with the family since an accident cost him a leg.

Cap’n Bill is a devoted guardian to little Trot, and spends his days walking the beaches with her, or rowing her along the coast, regaling her with tales. But when the subject of mermaids comes up, Trot’s wish to see one is granted, and both she and Cap’n Bill fix themselves transformed into merfolk – who are sea fairies – and taken to the undersea realm of Queen Aquarine and King Anko, where they witness many things and are forced to come up against the wicked Zog the Magician …

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she takes to the seas once more and continues this lasting tale.

Wednesday September 9th, 19:00: A trio of Travelling Tales

With Caledonia Skytower.

Thursday September 10th, 19:00: Hero Tales from American History

With Shandon Loring

Saturday  September 12th, 09:00: Beyond the Veil – Tales of Irish Romance – Seanchai Kitely

Join Shandon Loring at Inis-Arcain, Seanchai Library’s  Celtic themed world in Kitely.

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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 September-October is Reading is Fundamental: seeking motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.

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