Xiola Linden says, “share your Second Life video tutorials!”

Xiola "show us your video tutorials!" (image by Strawberry Singh)
Xiola “show us your video tutorials!” (image by Strawberry Singh)

On Wednesday, March 9th, I blogged about a new Tips and Tricks blog post which appeared on the official SL blogs, with the general title of Tips and Tricks from the Community.

In writing my article, I pondered if the Lab’s post marked a one-off or the start of a new regular or semi-regular series from the Lab.

In response to my musings, Xiola Linden dropped me an e-mail on the matter:

Hello Inara,

I wanted to let you know that we would appreciate if anyone spots a particular tutorial they found helpful that they consider sharing it with us for consideration.

I’d love to revive that section of our blogs and highlight the wonderful Resident generated content available and yet to be created.

So, if you do have video tutorials you’re like to have shared with other Second Life residents, get in contact with either Xiola or Torley and let them know where they can find your work. They’ll take a look at it for possible inclusion in a future Tips and Tricks from the Community post.

You can reach either Xiola or Torley on Plurk, or via the Second Life Official Twitter account, or you can leave a message for them on the Second Life Facebook page. However you make contact, make sure you let them know where to find your tutorial videos!

In addition, Xiola went on to say:

We have, in addition to bringing back the blog, started a playlist on our YouTube channel specifically for Resident tutorials that we’d like to continue to curate with more. There is a modest few there now, but it will grow as we identify more of the great content out there and hope the Second Life community will help us in doing so!

So, even if you don’t have (or know of) any tutorial videos which could be of interest to other Second Life users, you can still keep an eye on the Second Life You Tube channel and the tutorial playlist and keep abreast of resident’s own tips, tricks and teachings!

Fantasy Faire 2016: as the doors start to open

Via Fantasy Faire
Via Fantasy Faire

Fantasy Faire 2016, in aid of Relay for Life of Second Life, will take place between Thursday, April 21st and Sunday May 1st inclusive.

The largest fantasy-related event to take place in Second Life, Fantasy Faire It brings together fantasy enthusiasts, creators, performers and designers for eleven days of commerce, special events, live music concerts across 14 themed regions, with special emphasis on fund-raising for Relay for Life of Second Life.

Via Fantasy Faire
Via Fantasy Faire

Merchant applications have been open since early March, and the ten core regions for the event are filling up fast, although there are, at the time of writing, some parcels still available. Blogger / press applications are set to open on Sunday March 20th.

This years brings some new names to the list of designers selected to bring the faireland regions into being, as well as seeing some familiar and popular names returning as well. The regions and designers are:

Blackmoor by Lokii Violet. “Fog snakes down the gas lit streets. Footsteps echo on the cobblestone but whether friend or foe approaches it is impossible to guess. Shadows loom in every corner as the bowels of the city wake up and the workings of another moonless night begin.” Store status: sold out.

Breeze by Kayle Matzerath. “A very bright and pastel watercolour village that harnesses the wind to turn it into magical energy.” Store status: themed stores only.

Bright Haven by Kilik Lekvoda and Rynn Verwood. “A fairytale market town brimming with wonder, happiness and magic. A stroll down the cobble streets might see you breaking out in song accompanied by your woodland friends.” Store status: sold out.

Dangarnon by Jaimy Hancroft and Eowyn Swords. “Villains roam the cobbled streets of a fallen Andolys where evil rolled in and blotted out the light. Skeletons of what once was are all that remain. Rotting and crooked the stone houses and towers are a sad reflection of their former glory. Darkness hangs over the land like a heavy blanket suffocating any ray of light. But even here, in all this blackness a shimmer of hope has managed to hide and survive, a tiny piece of what once was this magical place still lives within these dead walls. Perhaps all is not lost yet…” Store status: sold out.

Hope's Horizon: Fantasy Faire 2014
Hope’s Horizon: Fantasy Faire 2014

Echtra by Loki Eliot. “The land is stuck in time. There is no summer nor is there any winter. There is just a grey emptiness hanging over the once busy town of Echtra and the surrounding moorland. And what of the legends that tell of a great sleeping dragon under the hill the town is built. Will the secrets of this once thriving community be revealed and if they can be discovered exactly who will awake?” Store status: not provided.

The Golden Delta by Alia Baroque. “The Immortal City bathed in gold and turquoise where the river and sands of life draw the passing of time.” Store status: themed stores only.

Lucentia by Marcus Inkpen and Sharni Azalee. “There lies a realm in the depth of antiquity or perhaps its the distant future- where all is energy and light and physical substance has no meaning. A glowy world of shifting lights and undulating energies. A world of magic and emotion and beauty. Where the only danger is losing your mind.” Store status: sold out.

Ichi-Go Ichi-E: Fantasy Faire 2015

Serenity by Kaelis Ember and Aikeo Rieko. “They say there are one thousand steps to the top of Serenity, an ancient city, every nook and cranny carved to perfection, smooth curves, beautiful terraces, stunning waterfalls, latticed windows. Built by ageless hands so many moons ago, they also say that those who ascend to the top of the city will discover something more valuable than gold, the knowledge we’re not alone in our fights.” Store status: sold out.

Tinkers Hollow by Mayah Parx. “If you had the power to create anything you thought, what would you think? And if every thought you thunk took form, where would you store all the stuff? Welcome to Tinkers Hollow. The eclectic trappings of an unusual mind filled with everything from toys and cards to gears and cogs. Who knows what might appear?” Store status: not provided.

Twilight Illusion by Sweetgwendoline Bailey and Eldowyn Inshan. “The Realm of Twilight Illusion is a land divided. Rising out of a vast lake of lava, small islands pepper the view. Connected by rickety bridges the inhabitants make a life amid the hellish landscape of rotten vegetation, creepy trees, stinky mushrooms, bones, skulls and ravens. As sulphur and brimstone percolate below the breezes of the upper levels remind of sun and dew, welcoming the visitor into a flower filled meadow where worries are replaced with joy under rainbow skies and a picnic of nectar and honeyed cakes has been laid out by unseen hands.”  Store status: themed stores only.

Crimson Field: Fantasy Faire 2013
Crimson Field: Fantasy Faire 2013

In addition, the following regions will also be a part of the Fairelands:

  • Fairelands Junction by Saiyge Lotus
  • Fantasy Faire Radio / Literary Festival by Elicio Ember
  • Arts and Entertainment  by Haveit Neox
  • Fantasy Faire Hunt by Rynn Verwood

As usual, I’ll be covering Fantasy Faire in these pages, but to keep right up to date with news and announcement, keep an eye on the links below.

Related Links

2016 viewer release summaries: week 10

Updates for the week ending Sunday, March 13th

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:, January 15 – 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):
    • Quick Graphics RC viewer updated to version on March 11 – provides the new Avatar Complexity options and the new graphics preset capabilities for setting, saving and restoring graphic settings for use in difference environments / circumstances (download and release notes)
    • Maintenance RC viewer version updated to on March 10 – 38 updates. fixes and tweaks for memory leaks; viewer crashes; UI, permissions and mesh uploader bugs; visual muting issues, autopilot issues and duplicated calling cards (download and release notes)
    • HTTP updates and Vivox RC viewer updated to version on March 9 – combines the Project Azumarill RC and Vivox Voice RC updates into a single viewer  (download and release notes)
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers


  • No updates.


  • Cool VL viewer updates on March 12th – Stable version to and Experimental version to  – release notes.

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

Space Sunday: a Martian sandwich

ExoMars unofficial logo
ExoMars unofficial logo (credit: DLR)

If all goes according to plan, at 09:31 GMT on Monday March 14th, a Russian Proton launcher is scheduled to lift-off from the Baikonaur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan, sending the first part of the European ExoMars mission on its way to Mars.

With its suite of high-tech instruments, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) should arrive at the Red Planet on October 19th, 2016, after a journey of 496 million kilometres (308 million miles). While Its main mission is to photograph the Red Planet and analyse its air, the TGO is also carrying a small Mars lander, dubbed Schiaparelli, after the man who first thought he saw canali (as in “groves” or “channels”) on Mars in the 1870s, and thus inadvertently sparked the entire “canals on Mars mythos.

March 11th 2016: the Proton rocket with TGO and EDM on-board is hoisted to the vertical position at its launch pad in the Baikonaur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
March 11th 2016: the Proton rocket with TGO and EDM on-board is hoisted to the vertical position at its launch pad in the Baikonaur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

A key goal for the TGO mission is to analyse the methane gas which has frequently been detected on Mars by various missions. Methane can either be generated in a biological process, such as microbes decomposing organic matter, or geological ones involving chemical processes in hot liquid water under the surface. However, it also tends to be broken down by  ultraviolet radiation within a few hundred years, so for it to be detected at all on Mars means whatever is producing it is liable to be an active process, and identifying what that process actually is – organic or inorganic – is a crucial part of furthering our understanding of Mars, and could have major ramifications for future missions.

“TGO will be like a big nose in space,” according to Jorge Vago, an ExoMars project scientist. “It will analyse Mars’ methane in more detail than any previous mission and try to determine its origins.”

In addition, TGO will monitor seasonal changes in Mars’ atmospheric composition and temperature in order to create and refine detailed models of the Martian atmosphere. Its instruments will also map the subsurface hydrogen to a depth of a metre, with improved spatial resolution compared with previous measurements. This could reveal deposits of water-ice hidden just below the surface, which, along with locations identified as sources of the trace gases, could influence the choice of landing sites of future missions.

TGO’s findings will also be used to help plan the second phase of the ExoMars mission, due to fly in 2018 (or possibly 2020 due to budget concerns). This will be a solar-powered rover unit, slightly larger than NASA’s MER rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. It’s also a rover with a long gestation period, having been under development for almost 20 years.

Originally designed to be a much bigger vehicle, ExoMars was going to be a joint ESA / NASA undertaking, with ESA supplying the rover and NASA some of the science instruments and the launch vehicle. However, in 2012, NASA arbitrarily withdrew from the project, forcing Europe to go back to the drawing board and seek Russian support for the mission (Russia is supplying the launch vehicle and the landing platform for the rover, as well as some of the science instruments carried aboard both the rover and TGO).

Artist's impression of the ExoMars rover rolling off of its landing platform (credit: ESA)
Artist’s impression of the ExoMars rover rolling off of its landing platform (credit: ESA)

Unlike NASA’s Curiosity mission (but like NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission), ExoMars is intended to directly seek out evidence of current or past microbial life on Mars. As such, the findings from TGO could be key in the selection of the final landing site for the rover. In addition, TGO will also act as the primary communications relay between the rover and Earth.

It is also as a communications relay that TGO will support the Schiaparelli lander. Officially named the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), Schiaparelli is intended to help ESA in developing the technology for landing on the surface of Mars with a controlled landing orientation and touchdown velocity. Obviously, a safe entry, descent and controlled landing capability is crucial to the success of the ExoMars rover mission, and Schiaparelli will help in determining the final design and development requirements for the rover’s landing systems.

The Schiaparelli EDM
The Schiaparelli EDM

Continue reading “Space Sunday: a Martian sandwich”