2017 in review – part 1

It's A New Dawn, Lemon Beach; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrIt’s A New Dawn, Lemon Beach – our first 2017 Exploring Second Life destination

The end of the year is once more approaching, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to look back over the articles and coverage of the year’s events I’ve managed to write-up, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To keep things digestible, I’ve broken this year’s review into two parts. This one covers January through June, and July to December will be along later in the week, and I have a review Second Life’s technical enhancements through 2017 available here.

January

Second Life

The year started with a look at Tyche Shepherd’s 2016 end-of-year grid survey summary. This was followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the Bento project, with an article linked to a piece written for Kultivate Magazine. The Horizons project land sale reached its mid-point, and I offered a summary of sales to date. The Second Life Place Pages beta launched,  while there was the usual weekly SL Project Updates from assorted meetings and Spoonful of Sugar announced their 2017 fund-raiser for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders. January also saw me note the fact that the Lab would, through 2017, be requiring people to verify their e-mail addresses if they wanted to keep receiving SL-related e-mails and things like off-line IMs being forwards to their e-mail.

Sansar

Sansar opened the year with a Creator Profile video featuring Loz Hyde, on which I offered some thoughts, in general and concerning monetisation. The latter also came in for a little thought when I considered Ben Lang’s piece on Sansar for Road to VR.

Space and Astronomy

I kicked-off my Space Sunday reports with a look at the key events for 2017. January then became a period of remembrance and recalling great missions – including the Huygens Lander, marking the passing of Gene Cernan, the last Apollo astronaut to walk on the Moon, and marking both NASA’s Day of Remembrance and Opportunity’s 13th anniversary.

Artist's concept of Cassini's final orbits between the innermost rings and Saturn's cloud tops (see below). Credit: NASA
2017 would mark NASA / ESAs Cassini Mission’s Grand Finale, repeatedly diving between the innermost rings and Saturn’s cloud tops before finally burning up in the planet’s upper atmosphere in September. Credit: NASA

Personal

I started on the first of my fiddling around with the island home sessions for 2017.

Travel and Arts

January Travels January Art Reviews
A New Dawn The art of Grazietta Blauvelt in Second Life
Flotsam and Blake Deeps Lucid Dreams with Miles Cantelou in Second Life
Nagare no Shimajima Gallery 23 in Second Life
The Sagan Planetarium Dathúil: visions of desire
ragVR: imagination and expression The Forest Beyond- Ceakay Ballyhoo
Hell’s Heaven No Frontiers – Gem Preiz
An Uncertain Destiny DiXmiX: Mistero Hifeng and William Weaver
Once Upon a Fairy Tale Cica Ghost: Burning
Devin DaphneArts: Celebrating Poe
Whimberly MetaLES; Illogism
Sol Farm Elo (Elorac Paule): Ray of Light
Elin Egoyan: Lide is a Journey
The Edge Gallery: February 2017
Venus Adored: Light Reflections

February

Second Life

Linden Lab spoke out against Donald Trump’s Executive Orders on US immigration. A new maintenance viewer with inventory management improvements surfaced. One Billion Rising put out a late call for volunteers, with the event taking place mid-month; the organisers of the 2017 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education also put out a call for volunteers. The Founder of the East River Community, Indigo Mertel, put out a plea for help to secure the community’s future. Michael Linden of LDPW fame, departed the Lab.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton – a visit for February 2017

The second round of Skill Gaming applications, launched in January (but which I previewed in December 2016), closed after a run of a month. The Lab offered their traditional Valentine’s Day celebration, and I gave a final round-up of the Horizons land auctions. There was the announcement of a new Community Platform for Second Life, which took a little longer than planned to get up-and-running, and MadPea held an International Food Fair to raise money for Feed A Smile / Live and Learn Kenya. The final UWA art show – Transformations launched with a call for entries, and also among the event announcement / calls came the first for SL14B – which was directed towards infrastructure builders.

February also saw ALS Awareness Week take place, and an appeal went out on behalf of Ceredwin’s Cauldron creator Elicio Ember, who faced a severe family set-back, and the RFL Home and Garden Expo was announced.

Space and Astronomy

The focus for the month was very much on the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a red dwarf star 39 light years away, which I covered in two posts here and here.

Personal

February saw Holly Kai Park overhauled  – notably around Caitinara Bar, which reopened in time for a celebration of the Oscars. The Park’s Pavilion also played host to an event in support for Feed A Smile. In addition, Caitlyn and I also returns to the greens and golfing.

Travel and Arts

February Travels February Art Reviews
Natural Falls Hills (Hillany Scofield): The Recreation
Anduril Artful Expressions: Blip and Nekonuko
NonStop DiXmiX: Angie Manners
Hobbiton Cica Ghost: Frogs
Lost World MetaLES: The Haul
Shot of Tequila Astral Dreams: Mistero Hifeng
Shareta Osumai Tea Garden Solo Arte: CioTToLiNa Zue
History of the Telephone The Gardens by the Bay
AERO Golf Club The Photo Game
Molly Mirassou: Studio M
Nightroglobus: Monique Beebe
InterstellART: Fossil Fractals
Methias Kira: The Architect’s Playground
Venus Adored: Light Reflections

March

Second Life

The VWBPE social calendar was announced together with the Above the Book series, new for 2017. The event itself kicked-off at the end of at the month. I was honoured to be able to announce Filling the Cauldron in aid of Elicio Ember and his family, and the 2017 RFL kick-off weekend took place. The Lab revamped the Second Life Home Page and the 2017 Fantasy Faire regions were announced, and blogger applications opened. The new SL community platform launched, and with the help of Tommy and Corky Linden, I looked at raising abuse reports. The 2017 Sci-Fi convention beamed-in to SL, while SL’s monthly process credit limits were revised. With changes being made to SL’s asset fetching, I took time to look back over the HTTP project and SL’s use of CDNs.

2017 SL Science Fiction Convention -“Water”

Space and Astronomy

March saw Elon Musk announce his lunar ambitions, I looked at options for exploring the icy worlds of the solar system, and the question of when is a planet not a planet – and how many might be in the solar system before catching up with Mars news.

VR / AR

I offered a quick catch-up on highlights from the worlds of VR and AR.

Personal

I became enamoured of the composite designs by Morgan Sim Designs, some of which found their way onto the island home (and can still be found there). I also revamped the Holly Kai Park website.

Travel and Arts

March Travels March Art Reviews
Long Journey Cica Ghost: Under the Sea
Calas Skate-on-rama Artful Expressions: Maxie and Cyoko
NorderNey Dathúil: Private Sphere
Spring Spirit Whitechapel Victorian London
Field of Dreams / L’Intangible Split Screen: Bleeding Books
The Heart of the Sea DaphneArts: The Journey
Storybrooke Gardens MetaLES: Wild Lost Line
PeTOu Art Is… Rhythm
Orcadi Island The Photo Game 2
 Mystical Fae Forest Journey of Life
Second Life 2009-2017
The Way I Feel
Methias Kira: The Architect’s Playground

April

Second Life

Filling the Cauldron opened for a week of fund-raising for Elicio Ember – with the final total exceeding L$1 million raised. Linden Lab announced improved region capacity and access in Second Life, together with new region and parcel access controls, while I looked at the two most recent members of the Lab’s board of directors. DJs came together to raise money for Feed A Smile.

In January I’d noted the Lab’s intent to only send e-mails to users who had verified the e-mail addresses they use in association with their SL accounts. April saw LL give their own notification. They also issued a call for musicians to join their SL14B music fest, while the Burnal Equinox opened.

BURN2 Burnal Equinox

Space and Astronomy

Exoplanets returned to my Space Sunday reports, together with black holes, and I looked at the upcoming final phases of NASA’s Cassini mission to Saturn – twice.

VR / AR

With all the hype around VR and AR, Jem Alexander offered me an opportunity to consider where things might be going.

Personal

I continued to fiddle with the island home.

Travel and Arts

April Travels April Art Reviews
Maison de L’amitie The Planets
Saint Tropez Kultivate Spring Art Show
Butterfly Conservatory Artful Expressions: Pan and Sven
Pantakar Dathúil: Lulu Jameson’s magic in Second Life
Enchanted Art Meulsina Parkin: World of Details
Oyster Bay: Asian Fusion DaphneArts: The Endless
DiXmiX: Switch on the Lights
Niamh’s Journey of Dreams
 GemPreiz: The Anthropic Principle
Melusina Parkin: American Icons
Portraits and Studies

May

Second Life

There was time for a last visit to Fantasy Faire and a look at UWA’s Transformations exhibition entries. News came of Ozimals closing, LL issued a RC viewer with the promised new region and parcel access controls and SL’s mesh upload prerequisites were revised. Unmasking a Cure, an RFL event, opened, and Bay City celebrated its ninth anniversary. Virtual Ability held its 6th annual mental health symposium. Radegast was re-launched by Cinder Roxley, and the Lab re-launched the Community Gateway programme.

Space and Astronomy

A look at the planetary system of Epsilon Eridani and flying telescopes, progress of NASA’s SLS / Orion and China’s deep space ambitions reviewed, more on exoplanets and “Tabby’s Star”, and Jupiter revealed.

VR / AR

Balaji Krishnan offers a salient warning about “social VR”.

Travel and Arts

May Travels May Art Reviews
Rustic Retreat The Year 3299
The Mill Kultivate Spring Sensuality Exhibition
Kubrick and Wells in Second Life Cica Ghost: Fade Away
Furillen City Dathúil: Moon Edenbaum
Crystal Garden Estates DiXmiX: Summer coloursand sensual moods
Costa Blanco Poetry of the Planets 2
 Meadow Rose Crumbs from My Nightmares
 Chess Wonderland Raglan Shire Art Walk 2017
 Calas Bento Horseriding Artful Expressions New Home
Nitroglobus: Black and White Women
Serena Imagine: Anibrm Jung and Hayael Bracula
Another World
Flash Back / Flash Forward

June

Second Life

AVSitter’s creator, Code Violet, announced the product is to go open source. BURN 2 Conception is announced. PC Gamer picked up on the unboxing craze in SL and spoke to Berry Singh. Linden Lab announced the Environmental Enhancement Project (EEP), updates to LindeX and credit processing fees, and more SL14B events, while the SL14B Community Celebrations opened.

SL14B Stage Left; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr SL14B Stage Left

Meet the Lindens once again formed a part of the SL14B activities, and I caught the talks with Patch and Dee, Landon Linden and Oz and Grumpity, and I also looked at some of the art of SL14B.

Sansar

Sansar made the news with Singularity and Kotaku, and the Lab answered Reddit questions and speculation.

Space and Astronomy

The Large Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory made its third detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes; as Stratolunch rolled out its massive rocket carrier / launcher;  June also saw further proof of Einstein’s work – in this case, gravitational microlensing. Scientists also drew closer to understanding Jupiter’s likely age, and the Chinese continued testing the automatic flight capabilities of their space station resupply vehicle, Tianzhou-1, while reactions to a possible explanation for the Wow! signal emerged. I rounded-out the month with a look at Mars, “Planet Nine” (or is that “Planet 10”?) and exoplanets.

VR / AR

I examined Qualcomm’s hopes with the AR and mixed reality market.

Personal

I gave the blog a face-lift and got feedback from readers. Seanchai Library arrived at Holly Kai Park as I made a few further changes.

Travel and Arts

June Travels June Art Reviews
Sixth Sense Solo Arte – Mistero Hifeng
Lost Dreams Club LA and Gallery – Peeter Tamerlane
Simbelmyne and a Love Story Dathúil: Her and Him – Hillany Scofield
Au Petit Jour DiXmiX: Red Balloon in the Woods
Kultivate: Second Anniversary
Blue Orange Gallery ensemble
Vordun: Floating Worlds and Dutch Masters
Orientalism
Kultivate Select Summer
DiXmiX: Nekonuko Nakamori, Jes Mode and Megan Prumier
Melusina Parkin: Absences
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