Fourteen years, Oh my!

Contemplating fourteen years

I logged into Second life to receive a greeting from Johan Neddings congratulating my on reaching my fourteen rezday – and I have to state that, but for his IM (And tweet, when I looked at Twitter!), the date honestly would not have registered with me at all.

While I try not to bring the personal and the physical world into this blog too much, the fact is that 2020 has been a real stinker of a year for all of us, thanks in large part to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has impacted so many people around the world in so many ways, and in relation to work and things, I’m no exception. There have also been some personal matters, particularly in the last month or so and which will continue through the next few months to varying degrees, that mean SL is not currently a primary focus for me, although I am trying to keep abreast of news and articles.

Within Second Life, 2020 has certainly been interesting. On the technical front, things have clearly been dominated by Project Uplift and the Lab getting everything transitioned to run on Amazon AWS services. Much could be said about this,but I think the most important aspect to it is that while some remaining services have yet to be migrated, and we have yet to go through a period of fine-tuning / performance tweaking, overall, the entire process has been really smooth. Yes, there are some visible teething problems that need to be sorted, but when you consider there were a fair few SL services transitioned to AWS without users ever noticing they had been moved, LL have done a really good job with what might have been a really disruptive undertaking.

Of course, one of the visible changes to SL that has come along this year is EEP – the Environment Enhancement Project. While this also has some issues that are still to be sorted (and some UI niggles that may not be, given they tend to be subjective in nature), I’ve found it to be a very flexible and usable capability, if a bit of a beast to get one’s head around at first. I’ve particularly had fun creating a number of personal Fixed Sky environments, as well a 24-hour  day/night cycle for Isla Caitinara (and I will at some point get back to my tutorial on Day Cycles, which has again be pushed to one side due to the aforementioned physical world matters).

A gibbous Moon rising over Isla Caitinara, part of the Day Cycle for our island home

On the personal SL front, things have been pretty quiet. Circumstance / opportunity led to us shifting home to settle within the “new” Second Norway estate, now under the management of Vanity Bonetto and her team (which also includes Ey and his team), and as someone who has followed that entire situation from initial rumours through the takeover to becoming a resident there, I can honestly say Vanity and her team have done a superb job, both in maintaining the core of the estate in its “mainland” regions, and in revamping the estate’s island offerings, and in bringing in new opportunities and features to the estate, as I noted in Second Norway: a closer look. In fact, we’re so settled that we actually recently up and relocated to a slightly larger island within the estate!

2020 also saw me unexpectedly get involved in administrating an in-worlds arts group – the Phoenix Artists Collaboration. Things  haven’t gone quite as well as had been hoped, particularly in the area of exhibitions, largely due to all three of us who have taken on the responsibility for managing the group all being hit with physical world demands. But hopefully, once the page has turned to mark the start of 2021, we’ll be able to start properly pulling things together.

The garden of our new Isla Caitinara home
Fourteen years in Second Life is a long time, so do I have any insights to share? Oddly, no I don’t think I do. Second life is still offering me the three things I enjoy: fun, discovery and freedom, so I’ve little doubt I’ll be marking 15 years in-world in twelve months time. Perhaps the one thing I would say is that while fourteen years have passed since “Inara Pey” first arrived, I actually don’t feel any older than my first days in-world with her. Wiser (I hope!) perhaps, yes.  But not older. In this, I think my avatar has been a positive influence; largely unchanged in terms of looks for 10 of those years, she has – as past studies have pointed out in reference to people and their avatars – she has encouraged the vanity in me to exercise regularly and (generally!) mind my diet in an attempt to (in my own way) also look as good.

And of the future? perhaps the most burning question is that of Linden Lab and Second Life post the current acquisition process.

As I’ve noted before, I’m interested to see the overall shape of the revised board, and whether or not some current members will retain a minority holding. I’m not overly concerned about the risk of LL being stripped or sold on; as I’ve noted in these pages, the two incoming principals between them have good track records for long-term investment and company growth. Certainly, the Lab aren’t slowing down their own plans for SL: beyond / alongside of the “uplift” work, there are major plans for overhauling several aspects of the viewer to hopefully make it more performant and efficient, and projects to further improve things on the back-end as well. Much of this  work is fairly long-term, which speaks to a good level of confidence for the platform’s future, and I currently see no reason not to share in that confidence.

In the meantime, here’s to a happier time of things in general in 2021.

RFL Christmas Expo 2020 in Second Life

via Christmas Expo

The annual RFL Christmas Expo opened its gates on December 4th, 2020, and will run through until December 13th in support of The American Cancer Society and RFL of SL.

Located on fourteen regions (including the Linden Homes preview region (to the north of The American Cancer Society region) and the Linden Lights of Hope region adjacent to the main Lights of Hope region, this year’s expo once again offers a wide range of shopping opportunities, entertainment and more, all presented around the theme Christmas Memories. As with 2019, all funds raised during the event will go towards supporting The American Cancer Society’s Childhood Cancer initiatives,where they will be used in support, research and palliative efforts to help children with cancer.,

Over 200 merchants from all fields are participating in this year’s event, which includes daily entertainment at the Holly Jolly Café featuring a mix of live performances and DJs. The schedule of entertainment provides a day-by-day breakdown of the 100 hours of live entertainers, DJs and dance performances. which include live performers and DJs, all of which culminates in the Holidays of Hope Gala Ball. However, some of the highlights of the event are listed below.

SL Christmas Expo 2020

Special Events and Activities

This year’s Expo includes a number of special events and activities, including:

The Christmas Expo Holiday Market: Back for its 6th year, this outdoor shopping event features 80 merchants for 2020,all offering a variety of shopping options, and you can take a look at the special items that are available.

This year the Market includes a Kids Holiday Market section in Christmas Morning, the the special kids region, and there is also a home décor market for all your needs, indoor and out.

Holiday Raffles: this year sees the Expo offer two raffles:

  • The Big Holiday Shopping Raffle presents two lucky winner the opportunity to gain a super goodie bag of gift certificates and prizes. Tickets can be purchased through the raffle kiosks at L$100 each or three for L$200. The prize draw will take place at 18:30 SLT on Sunday, December 13th, 2020 at the Holly Jolly Café.
  • The Daily Holiday Shopping Raffle can be found at the Holly Jolly Café, with prizes valued at between L$250 and L$1,000. Tickets are L$50 each or three for L$100, with daily draws at 19:00 SLT at the Holly Jolly Café.

Note that all certificates are transferable, and so make great Christmas Gifts, and all proceeds go directly to the American Cancer Society Childhood Cancer Initiative.

Auctions:

  • The Silent Auction: opening on Saturday December 4th, the prizes this year include gift cards with values between L$500 and L$5,000, a home with a pool, merchant mega gift boxes, a winter gown fatpack, an Animesh fatpack. Bidding runs through until 17:00 SLT on Sunday, December 13th, 2020, with winners announced at the Holly Jolly Café, starting at 17:15 SLT on  Sunday, December 15th.
  • Linden Auction items: The chance to bid on three special Linden prizes:
    • An exclusive Linden Home Package, including a 6 Month Premium Membership; a Private Bellisseria lot with their choice of a Linden Home.
    • The ability to create a New Linden Last Name to be added to the list of choices for new members.
    • To Name a Future Bellisseria Region (3 Available).
  • Breedable Auctions: There will be a number of Breedable auctions throughout the Expo, including a One of a Kind auction.

Lights of Hope: once again Second Life’s premier builders are joining the SL Christmas Expo to present the 3rd Annual Lights of Hope Home Decoration Contest. Each of the builders has decorated the outside of one of their stunning houses in holiday style and brought it to the Expo.  Stroll the Holiday Road neighbourhood at the Expo and vote for your favourites by donation to the American Cancer Society kiosk in front of each home! 100% of all donations go directly to the American Cancer Society.

Also be sure to pop over to the Real Estate Office in the neighbourhood where some of the builders have graciously placed out their entry home for sale in an American Cancer Society Christmas Expo vendor.

The 11th Annual Holidays of Hope Ball: will take place between 13:00 and 18:00 SLT on Sunday, December 13th, focused on the event theme of Christmas Memories. Sponsored by T1Radio, this formal ball is open to all Second Life residents, and will feature live entertainment by FlyQueen, together with the sounds of the season with Madelyn Majestic and Trader Whiplash.

New Linden Homes preview: catch the new Linden Homes theme that in a special preview (read more here).

SL Christmas Expo 2020

As well as the above, the Expo this year includes: a gacha, a snowman building contest, Santa’s sleigh ride, and photos with Santa – which this year includes the chance to pose with the Lab’s Vice President of Product Operations, Patch Linden, on Wednesday, December 9th between 13:00 and 15:00 SLT.

Thus, there is a huge amount to see and do at the Expo, so be sure to check out the official website for more information.

SLurls and Links

All regions rated Moderate.