2018 in review – part 1: January to June

The end of another year is approaching, bringing with it 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 offer a summary of the year as recorded in this blog, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us. And so it is for 2018, starting with January through June.

July to December is available here.

Note that this summary isn’t supposed to document everything that happened through the year, but is intended to be a highlight some of the more notable events reported on through these pages. In addition, and for a more detailed look at the various technical and Lab-driven updates to Second Life, please refer to A look at Second Life updates in 2018.


Second Life

I started the year with a look at Tyche Shepherd’s end-of-year Grid Survey report for 2017, which saw the grid contract by 4.0%. R. Crap Mariner joined the blog as a guest writer, with a regular series through the first half of the year covering dance in Second Life.

Tech and Viewers

Catznip was the first major viewer release for 2018, with the arrival of the shopping-focused R12. Firestorm issued version, with lots of content creation goodies. Linden Lab released the 64-bit version of the official viewer, together with an update on plans for Linux. As the Alex Ivy release saw Linux removed as a viewer download option, the Lab re-issued their last stable Linux viewer version

My Second Life

I took to the air in the CLSA Fairey Gannet, a bargain for military flyers at just L$10.  brightened the skies of my Second Life with Stevie Davros’ clouds and skies.

We don’t (yet) have EEP, but Stevie Davros’ Windlight clouds and skies provide a means of being funky in your viewer
Travel and Arts
January Travels January Art Reviews
Brand New Colony (closed) The Listening Room
La Vie (closed) Cica Ghost Bird People
R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. Gem Preiz – Sapiens
Ivy Falls Gallery Cecile
Thor’s Land MetaLES closure
Oh Deer (closed) Dreamer’s Feelings
Neverfar (closed to public access) Bryn Oh: Lady Carmagnolle / 26 Tines
Flying Coyote River MOSP
Les Reves Perdus Nitroglobus: Cold Frog


Linden Lab launched the Sansar Top 5, a video review of popular experiences on the platform, and took the platform to the 2018 CES alongside Intel.  With the announcement that 2018 work would start to focus on user acquisition, I had a few thoughts.

Sansar Travel

My visits for the month encompassed Whystler’s The Bridge Room and Whyst Garden; Aech’s Garage; C3rb3rus’s 2077; and Anu’s Copper Valley.

Linden Lab

In something of a shock announcement, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications, Peter Gray, announced he was leaving for pastures new.

Space and Astronomy

I marked the sad occasion of the passing of John Young; looked at the ups and downs of China’s space programme – together with the first of many pieces on exoplanets; examined lunar lava tubes and commercial gamesmanship; and looked towards the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy while also returning to TRAPPIST-1.


Second Life

February marked the annual Mole Day event in Bay City, recognising the work of the LPDW – the Linden Department of Public Works, and the annual One Billion Rising event, which I previewed.

Tech and Viewers

Second Life had its first major DDoS attack for 2018 and I reviewed the latest iteration of the 360-snapshot viewer.

Travel and Arts
February Travels February Art Reviews
Cece’s Secret (closed) Club LA and Gallery
Meraki Islands DiXmiX: Titus, Gaus and Burk
Kisaragi Town Kimmy LittleBoots
Kamigami, Pandora Resort (closed) Cica’s 50 Cats
Realm Of Light DaphneArts: Je n’aime pas
Sanctuary Giovanna Cerise – From Worlds to the World
Soul2Soul River / Soul2Soul Bay The Art Garden Gallery
Chamonix City DiXmiX: Melusina Parkin
Bay of Dreams

The Find and Connect release deployed, focusing on making it easier to find others in Sansar, together with assorted content creation and avatar updates and communication improvements were outlined.

Sansar Travel

I only visited a single experience during February: Eternity by C3rb3rus.

Linden Lab

Bjørn Laurin, formerly the Vice President of Product at Linden Lab, departed the company to join HTC Vive.

High Fidelity

I caught up with HiFi’s commerce plans, including the HFC and wallet,

Space and Astronomy

The hunt for exoplanets took a turn with the first discovery of planets in another galaxy, while it was suggested Russia might enter the space tourism market; the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched while the USA indicated it wants to cease ISS operations at the end of 2025; I caught up with rover operations on Mars then reviewed NASA’s 2019 budget and SpaceX’s attempt to catch part of a Falcon 9 in a giant sea-going net.

Two from one: the moment at which two Falcon 9 cores are about to touch-down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station following the February 6th, 2018 launch of Falcon Heavy. Credit: SpaceX

Continue reading “2018 in review – part 1: January to June”

Modemworld – navigation updates


One of the things I strive for in this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options and widgets, etc., within the blog’s theme.

Three changes I’ve made through 2018 – which may or may not have been noticed  –  is to information displayed in the widgets bar on the right of the blog.

In terms of the order in which they appear, these are:

  • A section on SL user groups.
  • A section on SL tutorials in this blog.
  • A revised RSS feed from the SL grid status.

All three can be found between the Blogroll lists and Tag Cloud.

The new / updated blog widgets – all colour items are clickable links. These actually appear one above the next (l-r) in the widgets bar on the right of the blog. 

SL User Groups: provides direct links to all of the current Second Life user group pages on the Second Life wiki. These pages provide a summary of the purpose of the meetings, the date and times of forthcoming meetings and often, but not always an agenda for the next meeting and / or, where recorded, archives of past meetings. All meetings are open to those interested in attending. I provide summaries of all meetings I attend.

SL Tutorials: over the years I’ve provided a series of Second Life tutorials on various subjects. This widget is designed to provide a link to my full index of tutorials (which also includes links to tutorials by others). It also lists key Second Life tutorials I’ve produced either on my own, or with the assistance of Linden Lab (e.g. the Abuse Reports tutorial). I plan to add further relevant tutorials to this selection as they become available, together with what I think are the more interesting of my own tutorials on interesting subjects.

RSS Feed: this is tweak to the RSS feed from the Second Life Grid Status page, which hopefully presents updates in a clean, readable manner.

Menu Updates

Since the introduction of the current blog layout in 2017, I’ve continued to make adjustments to the menu system to try to ease navigation, not all of which I’ve subsequently written about.

Most recently, I’ve attempted to simplify the menu structure further by combining a couple of the top-level menus and reducing the sub-menu structure of each.

Revised menu structure as of December 2018

The top-level menus are now as follows:

  • SL (unchanged): provides access to all Second Life posts and pages, divided into the following sub-menus / categories, including news items, opinion pieces, my Exploring Second Life travelogues, all of my SL user group meeting summaries, art reviews, all viewer reviews, etc.
  • LL (unchanged): provides access to general news and information specific to Linden Lab, including all transcripts of Lab Chats and Q&As by Lab CEOs and senior staff.
  • Sansar (unchanged): provides a breakdown of all Sansar-related posts and articles in this blog, again divided into sub-menus / categories.
  • Other Worlds and Tech (unchanged): covers articles on other virtual worlds, AR and VR, pieces on general tech and my Space Sunday astronomy & space reports.
  • Guests (unchanged): provides access to all articles written by guests on this blog, accessed via the writer’s name.
  • Blog Bits (new): this now combines general information on this blog (blog guidelines, blog navigation, privacy statement and my review systems specifications), my “personal” items (biography, SL home life, my blogging journey, my SL videos, etc.), as shown in the image above.

Note that the majority of the menu items in the above options have right-pointing arrow (“>”) indicating sub-menu options can be accessed. However, do please note that all articles for a specific category can be accessed by clicking on the top-level menu / sub-category option, as (hopefully!) explained in the image below.  The only exception to this is the About Me item under Blog Bits – just use the sub-menu from this to navigate further.

1. Clicking a top-level menu will display all articles under that topic, as indicated by the yellow lines. 2. Clicking on a topic within a top-level menu will display all articles for all sub-menus under that topic, as indicated by the red lines. 3. Clicking on a topic within a sub-menu will display all articles found under any sub-sub-menus for that topic, as indicated by the black lines. 4. Clicking on a specific topic name without any “>” will display only the articles related to that topic.

I hope these changes and updates further help people locate information within this blog. Obviously, the tag cloud can also be used to assist with finding article sets, and don’t forget there are the search options, also found in the right-side widget bar, which include the ability to list post by the major article categories used in this blog, or to list all articles published in a given month (most recent to oldest).