Second Life: Log Theme Linden Homes released

The Linden Log Homes: the Lincoln (l), Overlook (c) and Grand View (r)

On April 1st Linden Lab released the latest Linden Homes theme for Premium members. The Log Homes (a terms that sounds somewhat odd to me, so I’ve tended to call them lodge homes), were unveiled in February during the Home and Garden Expo for Relay for Life of Second Life – see: Previewing the Linden Home Log theme in Second Life.

Since that time, the Moles have been busy dropping a new bunch of regions off to the east of Bellisseria  – a location I’d previously mused as being the most likely direction for expansion now that Bellisseria directly abuts Sansara to the north and Joegeot to the south (see: Linden Homes: recent expansions, future thoughts). And when I say “a few” I men an area of regions pretty comparable in size to the original Bellisseria continent that first opened to the public back in April 2019.

The linden Log Homes and landscaping

Within these regions, the initial release of Log Home saw a staggering 4,828 unit made available as a single – many of which were promptly jumped on by existing Linden Home owners deserting their original offering.

As I noted in my preview for the theme, the houses come in for styles, any of which can be selected by the occupant of a house parcel. However, at the time of that previews, the styles hadn’t been given names, so’s here a quick recap of each:

  • Lincoln (formerly “Log 1”): 2 front aspect entrances, 3 open-plan ground floor rooms, one overlooked by the galleried upper floor that forms the bedroom area, complete with a balcony recessed into the roof and offering a side aspect view.
  • Grand View (formerly “Log 2”: semi A-frame, with full height picture window to the front aspect, and a porch running across the front under the A-frame roof, and part-way down one side to the front door. Three rooms on the ground floor, the front room overlooked by the galleried upper floor bedroom.
  • Overlook (formerly “Log 3”): full length front porch, 1/2 length rear porch. Three rooms on the ground floor, 2 open-plan, with one of the latter overlooked by a galleried landing providing access to two bedrooms.
  • Mountaineer (formerly “Log 4”): 2 entrances to the front aspect, 3 ground floor rooms, 2 open-plan, stairs to upper floor with two bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom; further stairs up to an attic space with windows to all four aspects.
The Linden Log Homes: the Lincoln

In keeping with their theme, these are houses with a good proportion of open space within them and opportunities (if the house is facing the right way) to enjoy vista-like views through the picture windows and / or the balcony that feature in a couple of the designs.

The regions containing the houses are – again as may have been seen with the H&G Expo preview set-up – designed as rolling, open country, crossed by tracks a-la the Campers and Trailers homes, with open woodland – including redwood style trees – populating the landscape, while the tracks are marked by lamps, stone walls and wooden fences. Rivers appear to be sparse, water apparently restricted to moderate to small lakes, while somewhere buried within their midsts is a new community centre build. I’ll be seeking that out when I get a chance to explore more of the regions on horseback.

I have to admit, these are the first batch of new Linden Homes that have almost had me upping stakes and trying to claim one (throwing over my houseboat in the process). But, I like messing about on the water and so will hold out in case LL and the Moles work out an option that gives people the option to have a house on land with some degree of direct water access.

In the meantime, once this batch has been gobbled up, expect releases of the Log Homes to slot into the rolling schedule of smaller releases (officially) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (although some releases have come pretty much daily).

MuseWeb: utilising Second Life in support of a global conference

MuseWeb 2020 in Second Life.

MuseWeb is a global organisation offering members a range of professional learning opportunities – plenary sessions, conference sessions, informal networking, debates, how-to sessions, lightning talks, etc., – together with multiple practical activities such as demonstrations, exhibitions, and so on, which can be applicable across a range of professional sectors and disciplines.

The organisation has, since 1997, held an annual conference in North America or Asia, featuring speakers, workshops, demonstrations, social events and more. Theses conferences have produced 1,350 papers and videos which are made available to MuseWeb members on-line, offering “an unparalleled resource” for museum workers, technologists, students and researchers that grows every year. Attendees at the conference / conference sessions include educators, curators, librarians, designers, senior staff (CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CMOs, directors, etc.) of businesses an organisations, scholars, consultants, IT programmers and analysts, publishers and developers from museums, galleries, libraries, science centres, etc.

This year, the MuseWeb 2020 conference – MW20 – had been scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, California, between March 31st and April 4th, with the core programme of presentations and keynotes taking place between Thursday, April 2nd and Saturday, April 4th 2020.

However, due to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic, the conference has shifted entirely on-line – and thanks to Linden Lab and Virtual Ability Inc, both of whom are acting as conference partners, the MuseWeb organisers are utilising Second Life for the social aspects of the conference, as well as several sessions.

MuseWeb 2020 Auditorium.

To achieve this, MuseWeb has been provisioned with a 4-region location in-world that is based on one of the seven turnkey region solutions Linden Lab has developed for businesses and conferences. The auditorium can cater for up to 350 avatars – although the core of the conference sessions are being presented on-line through Microsoft Teams – Microsoft being the conference’s global sponsor, with Google Arts and Culture also a notable sponsor – although I have been given to understand some sessions from Thursday through Saturday will also be shown in the in-world auditorium.

Aspects that have, and will, involve Second Life include:

  • In-world tours of Virtual Ability, Health Info Island and a range of SL museums, coordinated and hosted by Virtual Ability Inc.
  • “Linden Lunches” with representatives from the Lab, Virtual Ability, etc.
  • Closing plenary session.

The MuseWeb regions are publicly accessible to Second Life users, although sessions that are not relayed in-world require a log-in through the conference web pages. You can view the full schedule here, and the web pages include membership fees for interested professionals.

Dr Nettrice Gaskins: algorithmic art using Deep Dream, on display at MuseWeb 2020 in Second Life.

An important aspect of the conference’s in-world presence is an exhibition of art by Dr. Nettrice Gaskins, who is also presenting the conference’s keynote address alongside of Cory Doctorow.

Dr. Gaskins has taught multimedia, computational media, visual art, and advanced placement computer science principles, and has earned a BFA in Computer Graphics with Honours and an MFA in Art and Technology, and she received a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Tech in 2014. As an artist, she explore the use of technology in art, and the pieces offered for display at the MuseWeb auditorium is a unique exploration in using the Deep Dream neural network AI, a convolutional neural network to find and enhance patterns in images to produce over-processed, dream-like (almost hallucinogenic) finished images that are utterly startling in their complexity and depth.

Dr Nettrice Gaskins: algorithmic art using Deep Dream, on display at MuseWeb 2020 in Second Life.

Just how stunning these images are can be seen on the inner walls of the auditorium, where a total of 12 of her pieces are offered for appreciation – marking the first time Dr. Gaskins has exhibited in Second Life since 2010. Certainly, they make a visit a visit to the MuseWeb island.

More to the point, shifting the conference – apparently at short notice –  to leverage on-line communications and presentation means and o make use of Second Life to help maintain the more social aspects of such an event, potentially demonstrates the benefits of 3D and virtual environments to a global audience. Kudos to Linden Lab and Virtual Ability Inc., – who are also fielding greeters and conference assistance in–world, as well as helping with the facilities – for enabling the conference to have a presence in Second Life.