On June 16th, I reported on the announcement that the first set of last names for the Premium Names Changes capability would be “retired” (i.e. removed from the list of options) at the end of Wednesday, June 24th, 2020.
Those names: Alpaca, Covfefe, Damballar, Float, Jazzhands, Mainsail, Nimble, Piggins, Plumday, and Yeetly – have all now gone from list of available last names.
They have, as of Thursday, June 25th, 2020, been replaced by a new set of names that have been added to the list of available last names. These are:
In addition, and as announced by Linden Lab at the launch of the above last name options, there are three additional last names added to the list to mark Second Life’s 17th anniversary theme. These are:
Wayfarer – Rover – Wanderer
These three names will only remain available through until the name round of updates, at which time they will be retired.
Name Changes was introduced in April 2020, providing Second Life Premium subscribers with a fee-based ability to change both the first name and last name for their avatar / account. If you are unfamiliar with the capability, you can read more here: Second Life: the return of last names, and some notes.
An album-length exploration of a long-distance relationship that unravels into an epic about love, connection, and all the strange, unruly factors that surround those things, from capitalism to sex to internet servers.
However, what is particularly interesting about the album is that the first track to be released from it on June 24th, 2020, and entitled Dancing, features a music video shot entirely in Second Life.
The video has been written and directed by another indie pop singer, songwriter and producer, Devi McCallion – perhaps most famous for her association with Black Dresses – with the assistance of Sofa (yogurt 200). Both the song – seen as something of a “striking new sound” for Dey – and the the video, are already garnering a positive response.
I’ve no idea if Katie Dey is a regular Second Life user, but she certainly appears familiar with some of the technical challenges in producing a video of this kind, commenting to D’Souza that:
This video was made entirely in Second Life, and I hope when people watch it they think about just how much work it would take to do that. If you’ve ever played that game you know how difficult it is to even control the camera, let alone create a whole world, with such incredible characters, such breathtaking cinematography.
Created remotely, across countries, in a pandemic, on a dying laptop, their lives in utter chaos, the world in chaos… I hope people cry about these beautiful characters, and then cry about the beautiful humans that put so much love and care into creating them. Anyway, the song is about dancing. Like, metaphysical dancing, I guess.
Video maker Devi McCallion, however, does appear to be something of a Second Life user. In May 2020 she hosted her own first-ever DJ set in-world, which can be seen on her You Tube channel, and some of her other videos contain elements that may have been filmed in-world as well.
I reached out to Brett Linden to enquire if Linden Lab were in any way involved in the video’s development – but it was apparently produced entirely independently.
I would love to say that we were involved, but we weren’t! It was completely organic and a pleasant surprise to us.
When listening to the SL17B Meet the Lindens Session with Patch Linden, I was given cause to recall Juliana Lethdetter’s outstanding Maps of Second Life, on display at her New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery.
It’s a place I last wrote about long ago in the dim and misty days of 2012 (see: Charting the growth of Second Life), and so has been long overdue for further coverage in these pages.
For those unfamiliar with this particular gallery, it is a labour of love that brings together just about every style of map of Second Life that has ever been produced – and provides a wealth of information besides.
The maps start from the earliest days of Second Life – 2002 – and run through to almost the present. It encompasses “official” maps, those produced by SL cartographers depicting the Second Life Mainland continents, and specialist maps charting air routes, airports, the SL railways, specific estates. Not only are they informative, some stand as works of art in their own right, as with the map of Nautilus, below.
Alongside of the maps is a veritable treasure trove of information that any Second Life historian is liable to fine mouth-watering, as well as a certain amount of practical information poking at the technical intricacies of the platform. You can, for example, look back to 2007 and see why Anshe Chung became the first “SLebrity”, appearing on the cover of CNN’s Business week as her Dreamland “empire” as it stood at the time shown in all its glory. Or you can take a peek at Second Life as it stood in March of that year – a time when it had in total roughly the same number of private and Mainland regions as Mainland has on its own today.
Elsewhere, you can look back on Second life Birthday celebrations of the past, the gallery featuring SL12B, one of the celebratory events organised entirely by residents and referred to as the Second life Birthday Community Events (2012 through 2018), when Linden Lab completely stepped back from direct involvement in the event’s annual planning and execution. Or you can catch up on the very latest acquisitions for the gallery, such as Rydia Lacombe’s map of SL railways I recently wrote about (see: Mapping Second Life’s mainland railways).
The latter underscores the point that this is a living museum / exhibition. Since my original article on the gallery, Juliana has continued to curate and grow the exhibits on display, growing to incorporate further items of interest new locations in Second Life, as well as retaining those special items of SL history like the guide to the legend of Magellan Linden.
Thus, as well as the railway map noted above some of the elements that have been added since my last piece include a display of other map resources in Second Life, which includes information on David Rumsey’s excellent collection to physical world maps (see: If maps are your thing, Rumsey’s the king!), while maps and images of Bellisseria ensure the gallery is right up-to-date with the growth of Second Life continents.
What makes this exhibition especially worthwhile is the sheer depth of information presented. Individual maps / displays are presented around the walls of the gallery with large information panels alongside or under them, complete with citations, while gear icons provide further access to information – note cards, landmarks, links to external web pages, and so on. All of which makes this a first-class practical resource.
If you’ve never visited the New Kadath Lighthouse Art Gallery, then regardless of your level of interest in Second Life history or maps in general, I really cannot recommend it enough. It is guaranteed to captivate, and is a genuinely educational visit. And while there, please do use the books on the landing point to visit other points of interest in the region.