See the Cosmic Circus at Creations Park and support the Michael J Fox Foundation

Starting at 14:00 SLT on Sunday, April 12th, 2015, Creations Park will be hosting a special benefit for Team Fox and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF).

Taking place at Creation’s ethereal skyborne Creations Park Dance Club and Living Light complex, the event comprises a special presentation of particle magic by the Sky Fire team, entitled Cosmic Circus and featuring Particle Tom and Lexi Marshdevil. It will be followed by a celebration dance featuring DJ Sunshine.

If you’ve never seen a particle show in Second Life, then Sky Fire make for a superb introduction, and the Living Light complex at Creations Park makes an excellent venue in which to enjoy the show. What’s more, 100% of all donation made during both the show and the dance will go directly to Team Fox, and thence to the MJFF, contributing directly to the ongoing search for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, and to ways and means of alleviating the symptoms for those already afflicted by the disease.

The Creations Park living Light Complex, which will host the Sky Fire performance and Creations' celebration dance
The Creations Park living Light Complex, which will host the Sky Fire performance and Creations’ celebration dance

As particle shows are popular, the advice is to attend the venue early to be sure to gain a seat. Please lightening the load by removing excess scripted objects, etc., and set your local time to midnight to fully appreciate the show.

After the show and dance, be sure to give yourself time to explore the other facilities and venues Creations Park offers, such as the Etheric Light Centre, the Peace Nation Park, Atlantis mermaid underwater cove, Winter Wonderland and more. Through all of the venues and locations, there are opportunities to make donations to Team Fox and even to gain some retail therapy as well!

Creations Park Atlantis mermaid cove
Creations Park Atlantis mermaid cove

Don’t forget as well that Creations Park hosts a series of events throughout the week, with an open invitation to anyone wishing to attend, and all of the proceeds from which go directly to supporting Team Fox and the MJFF (all times SLT):

  • Tuesday:
  • Wednesday at the Living Light centre:
    • 15:00 – 16:00: Erin and Satin live
    • 18:00 – 20:00: DJ Dianna
  • Thursday at the Creations Dance Club:
    • 13:00 – 14:00: Bubbles
    • 14:00 – 16:00: DJ Squirrel
    • 16:00 – 17:00: Samm Qendra live
  • Friday at the Creations Dance Club:
    • 15:00 – 16:00: Bill Tigerpaw
    • 16:00 – 17:00: Josie Anderton
    • 17:00 – 18:00: Keao, the Creations Park Music Assistant, live on The Global Voice Radio
  • Saturday at the Poetry Treehouse
    • 11:00 – 12:00 noon: Poetry sharing with Sabre
  • Sunday at the Chapel of Eternal Love
    • 18:00 – 20:00: “Embracing the Light” dance and discussion with Ananda & Redorange.
A view across Creations Park
A view across Creations Park

About Creations Park

Creations Park was established by Barbie Alchemi after witnessing the beneficial effects Second Life had on her mother, Fran Seranade, a Parkinson’s sufferer and who first became involved in the platform, along with Barbie, as a means for family members to keep closer contact with one another across the breadth of the United States. Creations is dedicated to raising donations for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF).

As well as running a range of fund-raising events and activities, the Park offers support groups and research into the positive effects of Second Life for people with Parkinson’s Disease. 100% of all donations received through events at, and visits to, Creations Park go directly to Team Fox and the MJFF. All costs and expenses associated with the region are met directly by Barbie’s family.

You can read more about the story of Creations Park in my 2013 article on Barbie and Fran, or by watching a Drax Files video.

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Confessions, fairy tales for grown-ups, and stories that are Just So

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

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

Sunday, April 12th, 13:30: Tea Time with Kipling

Just SoIn the beginning were the words, and the words were with Rudyard Kipling.

Well, OK, not quite that beginning, given I’ve referring to 1902, and the first appearance of Kipling’s Just So tales. But given this is a delightful collection of fantastical pourquoi or origin stories, telling of how certain things came to be, then I think you’ll get my drift.

Now regarded as some of his best-known stories, and an ever popular read for adults with young children, the stories gathered under the enfolding title, were originally little vignettes written and told for the express amusement of Kipling’s first daughter.

Join Caledonia Skytower and John Moreland as read from this wonderful collection. You might just finding out out How the Camel Got His Hump or perhaps How the Armadillo Happened or even – How the Elephant got his Trunk!

Monday April 13th, 19:00: Jack of Shadows Concludes

Gyro Muggins concludes Roger Zelazny’s 1971 novel which mixes science-fiction and fantasy, the title of which is an homage to Jack Vance.

jack-of-shadowsThe story takes place on a tidally locked planet – that is, one whose rotation about its axis precisely matches its orbit around its parent body, thus the same face is always presented to the parent body (just like our own Moon always presents the same face towards Earth). Given that the parent object in this case is the planet’s Sun, it means that one side of the planet exists in perpetual daylight – and is the seat of science; while the other lingers in perpetual night – and has become the seat of magic.

It is from the latter that the protagonist of the story – Shadowjack – comes. Even among his own kind, he is unusual, for the manner in which he draws upon his power; something which can, in the right circumstances make him exceptionally potent. However, when placed in either complete light or complete darkness, he is almost powerless. Jack’s only friend, Morningstar is doomed to what is effectively eternal punishment unless Jack can cross between the two realms of light and dark, combining his abilities with the power of science. Thus Jack must risk being lost in total light or total darkness in order to rescue Morningstar. And if he fails, who might rescue him?

Tuesday April 14th, 19:00: A Walk in the Woods Concludes

walk-in-woodsBy his own admission, Bill Bryson isn’t the world’s greatest adventurer. This being the case, you’d think he’d have serious misgivings about undertaking this particular “walk in the woods”, as he disarmingly calls it: taking the 3,500 kilometre (2,200 mile) Appalachian Trail – a journey which would take five months to complete.

Travelling with his good friend “Stephen Katz”, the book is both a humorous guide to the trail and a set of serious and insightful comments / discussion on the trail’s history as it winds its way from Georgia (where Bryson was living at the time the book was written in 1998), to Maine. These discussions cover a broad range of subject including the sociology, ecology, trees, plants, animals and people of the states through which the trail passes (Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine).

Join Kayden Oconnell as he completes his retracing Bryson’s footsteps through the pages of this classic.

Wednesday April 15th

06:00: Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady

Freda Frostbite and Trolly Trollop open the pages of Florence King’s 1985 classic memoir.

Failed Southern LadyThe book opens by relating a tale of King’s Granny determining that the American side of her family (King’s father was English), had once owned land in Virginia awarded to them by royal grant on the basis of having read some of William Thackeray’s 1852 novel, The History of Henry Esmond, Esq.

From there it progresses through stories of her upbringing in a still racially-segregated Washington DC during the 1930s and 1940s, her time at college and onward into her adult life which was, in part, shaped by her bisexuality, and her leaning towards her own sex as partners.

Told with verve and flourish, wit and style, Confessions of a Failed South Lady may well be embellished in places, it may be slightly outrageous or dark in others; but it also deals with deeper issues, such as that of femininity, and matters of sexuality and family. Thus it presents a prefect blend of  humour and insight that make it a delight to read.

To quote from the cover: “Florence may have been a disappointment to her Granny, whose dream of rearing a Perfect Southern Lady would never be quite fulfilled. But after all, as Florence reminds us, ‘no matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street’.”

19:00: Christie’s Detectives

Join Caledonia Skytower as she presents short stories featuring Agatha Christe’s beloved detectives: Parker Pyne, Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot.

Thursday April 16th

19:00: Silver Birch, Blood Moon

silver birchShandon Loring continues through another anthology edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. In Silver Birch, Blood Moon, they bring together 21 tales by some of today’s leading writers in a volume focused taking cherished tales of childhood and re-imagining them into sophisticated, seductive, fairy tales for adults. The stories gathered within the covers of this anthology include:

  • The tale of a jealous prince who plots the destruction of his hated brother’s wedding by inventing a “magic” suit of clothing visible only to the pure at heart
  • The story of a young girl’s strange fairy tale obsession which results in a brutal murder
  • The tragic tale of an embittered mother, who must care for her dying son as he is trapped within a thicket guarding a sleeping beauty
  • The revelation of what happens when a group of violent outcasts within a desolate industrial wasteland attempt to lay the myths of one Millennium to rest, only to give terrifying birth to those of the next.

Join Shandon Loring as he opens the pages of this latest collection from Datlow and Windling, and see if it is one of these stories or something else contained within the volume which falls under his gaze…

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Details TBA – check the Seanchai blog for more.

—–

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 April / May is Habitat for Humanity, with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live – a safe and clean place to call home.

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Firestorm: counting down to the next release

firestorm-logoThe Firestorm team are working towards  their next major release. This has been in the works for a while now, and will represent a significant step forward for the viewer, as it will bring it up to parity with  the Lab 3.7.26, and also includes a number of cherry-picked fixes and updates from the more recent maintenance fixes, etc..

This means the viewer will include updates such as the revised snapshot floater, as originally re-designed by Niran V Dean as a contribution to Linden Lab, together with additional effects filters; the new Avatar Hover Height capability, the latest updates for HTTP pipelining and fastpipe changes, plus the recent AIS v3 changes, and much, much more, including numerous updates and improvements made by the Firestorm team and  from other TPVs.

Preview Testers Wanted

Beta versions of the release have been undergoing assorted tests for the last several weeks. However, prior to it reaching a formal release status, the team want to expose it to more extensive testing among users. To this end, a call has been put out through the Firestorm blog requesting more people to consider joining their Preview group.

Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the revised snapshot floater (as developed by Niran V Dean), complete with an expanded set of default filter effects
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the revised snapshot floater (as developed by Niran V Dean), complete with an expanded set of default filter effects

If you are a Firestorm user and have a good working knowledge of the viewer, do please read the blog post and consider joining the Preview group. However, do keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • You will be required to give feedback on any Preview release you receive. This includes being prepared to report them through the Preview group and raise bug reports on the Firestorm JIRA – if you’ve never filed a bug report before, you can find guidelines on the Firestorm wiki. There is also a Reporting Bugs class which may also help
  • Please, do not join the group simply to get your hands on shiny new versions of the viewer – not only will this defeat the object of trying to test the viewer and uncover any issues possibly missed during QA and beta testing, you could find yourself running a viewer than has bugs, etc., and for which you cannot get assistance through the normal Firestorm support channels
  • Please do not share any links you are given to Preview versions of the viewer to people outside of the Preview group. Again, this defeats the object of controlled testing, and it runs the risk that if there is a significant issue with the viewer, then it means limiting the impact of the issue is that much harder (if not impossible).
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: Avatar Hover Height
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: Avatar Hover Height

The Current Release Plan

As it stands, Firestorm hope to ramp-up to a formal release over the next few weeks as follows:

  • A further release to the Beta test group ready for the week commencing Monday, April 13th
  • If no significant issues with this release are found by the Beta testers, it will be released to the Preview group for wider testing
  • A further release is then likely to be made to the Beta and Preview groups for final testing and assessment.

Assuming nothing major is found to be a problem with the second preview release, a formal release of the viewer will then be made – potentially around three weeks (ish) from the date of this article.

Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the Preferences floater has been completely overhauled and sub-tabs / options rationalised for easier use
Things you can expect in Firestorm 4.7.0: the Preferences floater has been completely overhauled and sub-tabs / options rationalised for easier use

It is possible that when it is made, the formal release will be classified as a “Public Beta”, rather than a “full” release. Part of the reason for this is that there are a number of further updates coming out of the Lab – such as the new Viewer-Managed Marketplace (VMM) functionality, once it has cleared its beta testing – and the Firestorm team will want to incorporate these updates as soon as they can into a follow-up release, allowing for the Lab’s own release schedule.

However, whether a “Public Beta” or a “full” release, I’ll of course be providing an overview / review of the viewer once it is available to everyone.

USMP’s 3rd Introduction to Second Life for Spanish educators

Monday, April 13th marks the commencement of the 3rd Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) designed to help Spanish-speaking educators in the use of Second Life as a starting point in their interaction with emerging and innovative environments that can be used for education.

Professor Max Ugaz, UMSP
Professor Max Ugaz, UMSP

Developed by the Universidad de San Martín de Porres (USMP), located in Santa Anita, Lima, Perú, the course was first run in April 2014, and as I reported at the time, was promoted by the Lab as a part of their re-engagement with the educational sector.

An updated version of the course, developed by the university’s Project Director or Virtual Worlds, Professor Max Ugaz, was again run in September, 2014, which also met with success.

“The purpose is to train educators, researchers, academics and interested public speaking, in creating a virtual identity, accessing and using the virtual world Second Life,” the University’s promotional material for the course states, before continuing, “This version is enriched with the latest version of our platform, which allows us to streamline the process of teaching and keeping better track of participants. ”

As with the previous iterations of the course, which is presented in Spanish, activities will extend over three weeks, with an average workload of 5 or 6 hours a week. Those completing the course will be entitled to a Digital Certificate (Certificate of Participation), awarded by the USMP.

Details on the course, together with a registration form for interested parties, are available on the course web pages, and the activities will take place at one of the USMP’s teaching areas in Second Life, commencing on Monday, April 13th, as noted.

l Proyecto en Mundos Virtuales de la Universidad de San Martín de Porres de Perú, inicia este 13 de Abril la tercera edición del curso en la modalidad MOOC (Curso Masivo Abierto En línea) titulado “Introducción a Second Life para Educadores 3da. Ed.”. El curso es gratuito y está diseñado para capacitar a educadores y público en general de habla hispana en el uso del mundo virtual Second Life, a fin de ofrecer conocimiento que permita desempeñarse en este entorno y aprovechar su potencial, especialmente en el ámbito educativo.

 Si tú o alguien que tú conoces pueden beneficiarse de un curso como éste, pueden acceder al vídeo de introducción y registrarse en la página web. Inicio: 13 de Abril.