SL13B: marking thirteen years of Second Life

The Auditorium by Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony) - SL13B
SL13B: The Auditorium by Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony), with Egyptian sculptures by Garvie Garzo

Second life celebrates its 13th year as an open virtual world on Thursday, June 23rd. To mark the event, Second Life resident will be enjoying a week-long celebration, in the form of the Second Life 13th Birthday (SL13B), which runs from Sunday, June 19th through Sunday June 26th and features a wide range of entertainments and events for people to enjoy.

The seventeen regions are now open, the stages are alive with music. Exhibits from individuals, groups and community from across Second Life are ready for you to see and enjoy, and a host of entertainers will be bringing music and dancing and more to the grand stages spread across the regions, whilst talks and presentations are also to be found.

SL13B Cake Stage by Miktaki Slade
SL13B Cake Stage by Miktaki Slade

As always with the birthday celebrations, there really is a lot to see and do across the regions, and the exhibit builds offer a mix of the breath-taking, the sublime, the wonderful, the stunning and the fun.

One of the things I particularly enjoy with each SLB celebration is the imaginative approach taken to the major aspects of the event – the stages, the auditorium, the welcome area, and once again, this year the builds are simply phenomenal. At the heart of the event is – naturally – the four-region Cake Stage in the shape of Miktaki Slade’s familiar design and approach (above). Almost bracketing this to the west and east are the Automaton / Stage Left and the Live Performance stage.

SL13B: Stage Left by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer)
SL13B: Stage Left by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer)

The Automaton  / Stage Left is a truly amazing two-region design (SL13B Stupendous and SL13B Mesmerize) by Walton F. Wainwright (Faust Steamer). You may recognise that name as belonging to the man who designed the SL12B Welcome Area – and you have to see this stage to believe it; it is a mighty design guaranteed to mesmerise you, it is so stupendous in its scale and in the breadth of imagination it encompasses. Stage Left will be hosting the Linden Lab sponsored Music Fest on June 24th through 26th, and it also hosts some secrets for visitors to discover!

The Live Performance stage, by Cube Republic, is located on SL13B Dazzle, and while it may only comprise a single region, it is for me a beautifully attractive and imaginative stage design. The flying turtle-style ship, hovering over the water immediately caused me to recall the tenth anniversary’s amazing giant turtle stage by Flea Bussy and Toady Nakamura, whilst inside the turtle’s shell we get a wonderful echo of Cube’s own design from SL12B and Kazuhiro Aridian’s DJ stage from 2015’s SL12B. The entire sci-fi loo and the use of a local experience to access the stage make this a fabulously imaginative setting.

SL13B: Live Performance stage by Cube Republic
SL13B: Live Performance stage by Cube Republic

To the north-west, at SL13B Impressive, sits the Welcome Area, a giant sailing ship by Catboy Qunhua, floats serenely in the sky, close to the top of the towering form of a great lighthouse, and with more ships sitting in its shadow on the waters below. This is the place anyone new to the SLB celebrations should commence their visit. The landing point provides an information pack, whilst down on the main and lower decks are teleport portals and landmark givers to the major points of interest in the celebration regions – the stages, the auditorium, the pod tour centre, etc. Or, if you prefer, you can mark your way down through the lighthouse to ground level and start your explorations by crossing the bridge.

Across to the north-east side of the celebration regions is a park of rolling hills, gently flowing waters and trees of many hues from which rises the mighty Linden Tree, bearing upon its massive trunk the DJ Stage by Zuza Ritt. The stage will be the home of a lot of entertainment through the week, whilst the park below offers many opportunities to escape the bustle of the celebrations without actually leaving the regions, and take time to wander and catch your breath.

SL13B: Welcome Area by Catboy Qunhua
SL13B: Welcome Area by Catboy Qunhua

And then there is the Auditorium by Anthony (ADudeNamed Anthony) – seen at the top of this article. Another inspiring design sitting at the boundary of two regions – S13B Astound and SL13B Enchant, the Auditorium will be the home of a range of talks throughout the week of festivities, including the Meet the Lindens series every weekend at 15:00 SLT.

Set within formal garden featuring sculptures by Garvie Garzo, the Auditorium is another stunning design, looking out over a reflecting pool to the west, beyond which stands this year’s SLB Time Capsule display. Eastward of the Auditorium is the sepulchral dome of the Grabbers of the Last Freebie, which contains a surprise of its own.

SL13B: DJ Stage parklands by Zuza Ritt
SL13B: DJ Stage parklands by Zuza Ritt

And of course there are the resident-built exhibits in all their many styles and approaches. Some offer art to see and enjoy  – and I confess to immediately loving We Began as Wanderers by Krys (Krystali Rabeni), a simple, elegant sculpture which encapsulates the basic truth about all of us who have come – and stayed – in Second Life.

Within these myriad exhibits are things to do, things to try, things to learn, rides to enjoy, experiences to be had – so much so, that all those passing through the SL13B gates during the course of the week will doubtless have their own stories to tell following their explorations. And of course, there is The Big Hunt to encourage people in their explorations as well!

So – welcome to the anniversary celebrations!

SL13B: We Began as Wanderers by Krys (Krystali Rabeni)
SL13B: We Began as Wanderers by Krys (Krystali Rabeni)

SLurls and Links

Singularity 1.8.7

singularityThursday, June 16th saw the first full release of Singularity in almost two years, with version offered for download.

As the release notes explain, the delay in updates for the viewer have been due to a number of reasons – not the least of which was the sad passing of Latif Khalifa (to whom this release is dedicated), and also the departure of one of the viewers core developers for pastures new. There have also be various infrastructure and hardware issues which have frustrated attempts at update.

The new release is currently for Windows 32-bit and 64-bit, and Linux 64-bit only, The team hopes to get the Mac version back on track as well, and are currently seeking a Mac developer to help with this.

Given the length of time since the last full release, there have obviously been a lot of changes, including getting back towards parity with many of the Lab’s own updates, as well as singularity’s own bug fixes and the adoption of elements from Alchemy.

As usual, I don’t propose giving an in-depth review of all the changes to the viewer here, but will attempt to highlight some of the more significant.

Lab-derived Changes

Tool Chain Update

Perhaps the most significant change with this release is under-the-hood. Singularity is now built using the latest tools and libraries recommended by Linden Lab. For Windows, this means that with the 1.8.7 release, the viewer no longer supports Windows XP. It also means that when the Mac version of the viewer is updated, Singularity will no longer support anything earlier than OSX 10.7 going forward.

TLS 1.2 Support

Singularity 1.8.7 is TLS 1.2 complaint, meaning you can use the built-in web browser to make LindeX transactions or SL marketplace purchases if you so wish.

Hover Height

The Hover height slider is available via the Quick Prefs panel
The Hover height slider is available via the Quick Prefs panel

The Lab’s Hover Height functionality has been added to the Singularity Quick Pref panel (click the UP arrow button, lower right-hand corner of the viewer window). As per the official Hover Height it works to a range of +/- 2 metres.

Independent of Hover Height, but a little similar in nature and so worth mentioning here is a new /hover command, which is described as “supporting values of -50 through 50”, however, during testing on Aditi, I found that the maximum height by which I was moved was around 5 metres, regardless of anything set above that. I therefore assume the release notes should read “supporting values of -5.0 through 5.0” – although admittedly I’ve not referred this back to the Singularity developers for confirmation.

Other Lab-Driven Updates

  • Latest inventory protocol (AISv3) support has been merged in to maintain future SL inventory handling compatibility
  • QtWebkit browser has been replaced with a Chromium variant
  • The SLVoice plug-in (Vivox) has been updated to parity with the SL viewer
  • Server-Side Baking (avatar appearance has been updated
  • Avatar rendering information is now reported to the simulator (although the local complexity limit slider has not been implemented in Preferences > Graphics) so this is not a full Avatar Complexity implementation).

Preferences Updates

Input and Camera

For combat enthusiasts, Preferences > Input and Camera includes two new options:

  • Display targeted avatar’s name under the crosshair
  • Display position and avatar health (your own avatar, in damage-enabled regions)
The new Mouselook options in Preferences > Input & Camera
The new Mouselook options in Preferences > Input & Camera

Communication Chat Preferences Updates

  • Preferences > Communications: you can now select which conference calls to accept / block (Accept all, accept Friends Only, Block all)
  • Preferences > Adv. Chat > Chat UI allows you to select displaying user names, display name, display name with user names or user names with display names from a drop-down list
  • Preferences > Adv. Chat > Autoresponse now splits auto response options into separate sub-tabs. Also, autoresponse options can now be selected via the World menu > Status sub-menu
Revised auto response options layout
Revised auto response options layout
  • Adv Chat > Spam includes a new option to block LM offers.

Continue reading “Singularity 1.8.7”

Of Children and toys, and magic and dragons

It’s time to kick-off a week of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, June 19th

13:30: Tea Time with The Jungle Book

Bryn Taleweaver presents selections from Rudyard Kipling’s great adventure.

18:00: Magicland Storytime: Ollie’s Odyssey

OllieCaledonia Skytower continues reading William Joyce’s children’s tale about Oswald (or Ollie, or Oz), a stuffed rabbit and favourite of young Billy. Oz goes everywhere with Billy, until one day, he is accidentally left under a table during a wedding, and is kidnapped by the wicked Zozo.

An unwanted amusement park prize, Zozo hates all toys that are favourites; so much so that he doesn’t just want them lost – he wants them forgotten by everyone – and he has gathered other embittered toys to his cause.

Now Oz must work to not only rescue himself and get back to Billy, he must ensure all the other “lost” toys reach safety.

Monday June 20th, 19:00: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads Michael Scott’s mystical novel.

AlchemystAccording to the records, Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330 and died in 1418. Only his tomb has forever lain empty, because Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst of all time. Entrusted with the care of the Codex – also known as the Book of Abraham the Mage – Flamel found within it the secret of eternal life.

But there is much else in the Codex which, if used by the wrong minds, could very well bring about the end of the world. So, for 700 years, Nicholas Flamel has guarded the Book, keeping it from all those who might otherwise seek to abuse its secrets.

Until John Dee steals it. And John Dee has the desire to unlock the Codex and bring about the very cataclysm Flamel has always feared. Without the book, he and his wife, Perenelle, will age and die, whilst with the book, Dee can thwart all attempts to recover it.

Enter 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie Newman. Prophecy has foretold of a time when the world would be threatened – and of the two youngsters gifted with extraordinary powers who will save it. Flamel recognises the Newman twins as those youngsters, and sets out to awaken their magical talents. So it is that Josh and Sophie find themselves cast into the middle of the greatest tale – the greatest confrontation – of all time.

Tuesday June 21st, 19:00: Return to the Hooting Yard

Frank Key is an English self-published writer,  blogger, broadcaster and voice behind Resonance FM’s long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, a weekly show broadcast live and consisting almost entirely of Key narrating his own short stories and observations.

Frank Key’s prose reduces meaning to dust and then resurrects it in his own skewed image. But no creative genius is less godlike than Frank: his world is mournful, crazy, stupefyingly complex, hilarious and dark, peopled by characters at once engaging and perverse.

– Edmund Baxter

Join Crap Mariner as he presents a selection of Key’s writings.

Wednesday June 22nd 19:00: Raymie Nightingale

Caledonia Skytower continues Kate DiCamillo ‘s 2016 children’s story.

RaymieWhat do you do when your father takes off with a dental hygienist? Be upset? Miss him? Rail against him? Or hatch a plan to get him to come home?

Raymie Clarke decides on the latter course of action. Dad needs to come home, and it’s down to her to see that he does – and that means winning the Little Miss Central Florida Tyre contest. Doing so will get her name and picture in the papers, which are sure to be read by her father, prompting his return.

Except… In order to win the contest, Raymie must do good deeds and learn the graceful art of baton twirling. Worse, she has to go up against the nauseating, show-business steeped Louisiana Elefante, who has fainting for effect down to an art form. Then there is Beverly Tapinski, who has entered the contest not to win it, but to wreck it for everyone else. So Raymie faces a mountain of challenges she must overcome.

Then fate plays a hand, circumstance and events bringing the three girls together in an unlikely friendship in which each has a role to place in supporting and aiding the others.

Thursday, June 23rd 19:00: The Dragon of Boeotia (Monsters of Mythology)

Shandon Loring reads Bernard Evslin’s story focused Cadmus, the founder and first king of Thebes, and the first Greek hero. When a fierce dragon plagues a region of Greece, it comes to the attention of young prince, Cadmus, who decides to fight it.

Saturday, June 25th 15:00: Lost in Austen

"Jane Austen's English Countryside" at LEA 8

“Jane Austen’s English Countryside” at LEA 8

Caledonia Skytower and Kayden  Oconnell read selections from Persuasion at Jane Austen’s English Countryside.


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 May / June 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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