Set phasers on fun: the 2015 SL Sci-Fi Convention is coming!

posterThe 2015 SL Sci-Fi will be lifting-off on Friday, February 20th and will remain in orbit with hailing (and transporter) frequencies open through until Sunday, March 1st 2015, inclusive.

Now in it eighth year, this annual event in support of Relay for Life of Second Life, will be offering “six sims of imagination” for visitors to explore and enjoy, whether or not they are science-fiction fans.

The theme for this year’s event is “sci-fi resorts”, which will see the ground level of the six regions landscaped to provide a range of resort-style environments from a coastal lagoon to high mountains.

And for the first time, there will even be facilities in space, as vendors are given the opportunity to use booth areas placed at between 1000 metres and 1200 metres as well, or can have orbital skyboxes at 2000 metres. “A convention supplied  Transport shuttle will fly around the participating exhibits, & convention amenities and décor will make it rival the ground for fun!” The organisers note.

2015 Convention Map with some of the builder’s influences and ideas for our exhibitor
2015 Convention Map with some of the builder’s influences and ideas for our exhibitors (via the SL Sci-Fi convention website)

In the spirit of the theme, the organisers have drawn-up a short-list of potential names for each of the six regions for the convention, drawing on locations from a range of science-fiction films, series, comics and books (such as Pern Sound, from Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders books, Sihnon from Firefly, Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet, from the original Star Trek TV series, Fhloston Paradise from the %th element, and more – see the complete list for all of the names, and those interested are being asked to vote for the name they’d like to see used on each of the six regions.

Vendor / merchant registrations are also open, and there are a variety of booths and package options available. If you’re interested in being a vendor, please visit the Booth Information Page.

As well as vendors and merchants, the convention well feature a range of activities and entertainments across the 10 days it is open, including a scavenger hunt, an amusement park, live music, theatrical presentations and more.

To keep up-to-date with planning for the conventions and key announcements, keep an eye on the SL Sci-Fi Convention website.

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2015 Viewer release summaries: week 2

Updates for the week ending: Sunday January 11th, 2015

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 Current Viewer Releases 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. This page 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
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.

Official LL Viewers

  • Current Release version: 3.7.23.297296 – no change –  download page, release notes
  • Release channel cohorts (See my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
    • HTTP Pipelining RC viewer updated to version /3.7.24.297623 on January 5th, 2015 – reduced pipelined texture and mesh fetching timeout so that stalled connections fail quickly allowing earlier retry. Timeout value changed from 150 seconds to 60 seconds (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V3-style

  • RLV updated to version 2.9.5 on January 9th and then to version 2.9.6.1 on January 11th (release notes)

V1-style

  • Cool VL Viewer updated on January 10th, the Sable branch to version 1.26.12.26 and the legacy branch to 1.26.8.84 (release notes for both)

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No Updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

One Billion Rising; join the Revolution!

I recently reported that One Billion Rising will be taking place again this year, on Saturday, February 14th, and will this year carry the theme of revolution.

As with recent years, the event will be marked in Second Life, with music and dancing,  information on the OBR movement, and more.

However, in order for the event to run smoothly, the organisers are seeking organised, enthusiastic and dependable volunteers to fill a range of roles, including: Stage Managers, Greeters,  Press Liaison, and people to collate information for the OBR in-world kiosks.

If you would like to volunteer your time, whether for just a couple of hours or for longer, please complete the application for below.

In addition:

  • If you are interested in writing about the event, or filming it, please complete a press application form
  • If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please contact Samantha Ohrberg in-world.

 

Mistero Hifeng at LEA29

Come fosse...niente - Mistero Hifeng, LEA29
Come fosse…niente – Mistero Hifeng, LEA29

As I wrote back in October 2014, Mistero Hifeng is a remarkable artist, straddling the physical and virtual. His sculptures and 2D art are visually stunning, mixing the real with the surreal, and I’ve been and an admirer of his work since first noticing it on a number of regions around SL.

An awardee of a full region under the Linden Endowment for the Arts 8th round of Artists in Residence, Mistero has just opened his exhibit on LEA29 to the public.

Bordered on two sides by tall cliffs and open to the sea on the other two, the region somewhat resembles the half region given over to his gallery and sky store: a watery environment with sandbars and small  sandy islands, across which his sculptures are ranged, some of them resized to quite large dimensions, making them both easier to appreciate and also quite intimidating in scale.

Questa vita cosi imperfetta - Mistero Hifeng, LEA29
Questa vita cosi imperfetta – Mistero Hifeng, LEA29

For anyone who has seen Mistero’s pieces, some of those will doubtless be familiar: the katana wielding chess pieces of Voltare, the haunting faces and figures of Chiuso nella gabbia di un’eta’, the surreal Quante volte ho detto al cielo io, the unsettling Prendimi L’anima, and so on.

However, there are also some newer pieces here as well, such as Come fosse…niente…, and Per Te, both of which I found particularly striking and evocative. Standing, or should I say gracefully arched, over some of the pieces is the imposing figure of Veglio su di te, while scattered across the water is a series of untitled female figures standing beneath umbrellas.

Per Te - Mistero Hifeng, LEA29
Per Te – Mistero Hifeng, LEA29

I will confess that I couldn’t entirely escape a slight feeling that I was visiting a commercial extension to Mistero’s gallery, which I’m sure is not the artist’s intent. However, leaving this niggle aside, there is no denying that the additional room offered by a full region does allow several of the pieces to be impressively resized and displayed, as noted. If you have never seen Mistero’s work before, this is perhaps an ideal way of acquainting yourself with it

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VWBPE 2015: Ebbe Altberg, a final call for papers, and sponsors

VWBPE_LogoThe 2015 Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference will take place in Second Life and OpenSim between Wednesday, March 18th and Saturday, March 21st inclusive.

VWBPE is a global grass-roots community event focusing on education in immersive virtual environments which attracts 2200-3500 educational professionals from around the world each year.

In the context of the conference, a “virtual world” is an on-line community through which users can interact with one another and use and create ideas irrespective of time and space. As such, typical examples include Second Life, OpenSimulator, Unity, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, and so on, as well as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or any virtual environments characterised by an open social presence and in which the direction of the platform’s evolution is manifest in the community.

As well as keynote speakers, activities include presentations and workshops which span all of education from primary through to post-graduate levels. 2015 marks the eighth year in which the conference has been held.

The theme for this years event is Crossroads, and the event’s opening speaker, as many already know, will be Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s CEO.

Ebbe Altberg: opening VWBPE 2015
Ebbe Altberg: opening VWBPE 2015

VWBPE 2014 marked one of Ebbe’s earliest public appearances before users in an open forum. Over a period of 90 minutes, he demonstrated his willingness to engage directly with people when he took an unscripted questions-and-answers session (full transcript) with the 200 people in attendance or watching the livestream. Since that time, and throughout 2014, he continued to meet with a wide range of groups and communities – including representatives of the education sector.

With the Lab now engaged on both enhancing Second Life to the best of its abilities and in developing a new virtual world(s) platform,  there is liable to be a lot of interest in what is said during his presentation.

Final Call for Proposals – Reminder

The VWBPE attracts a wide range of speakers from the education sector, non-profit organisations, the arts, and so on. As noted in the original announcement that Ebbe would be opening the event, there is an open invitation to anyone who would like to make a presentation or run a workshop. However, the clock is now counting down.

If you are intending on submitting a proposal for a presentation or activity at this year’s event, please remember that the closing deadline for proposals is Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 (extended from December 14th, 2014). Proposals should be submitted on-line via the VWBPE Conference Central site (registration required), and guidelines are also available.

Sponsorship

As a volunteer-based event, VWBPE depends upon sponsor support, and 100% of all sponsorship goes directly to funding each year’s conference to cover expenses such as the provisioning of information systems, development of video and machinima (and associated archives), live video streaming, social activities, professional building (mesh object) design and construction for virtual venues, graphics design and swag bags for attendees. No-one involved in the organisation of the conference receives a salary or stipend.

Several levels of cash sponsorship packages (US dollar value) are available for those interested in supporting the conference. Details of these, and the benefits of sponsorship, can be found on the conference sponsorship page.

Related Links