Classic and ghostly stories in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Monday, September 23rd 19:00: Moonheart

Gyro Muggins reads Charles de Lint’s 1994 novel.

When Sara and Jamie discovered the seemingly ordinary artefacts, they sensed the pull of a dim and distant place. A world of mists and forests, of ancient magic, mythical beings, ageless bards – and restless evil.

Now, with their friends and enemies alike–Blue, the biker; Keiran, the folk musician; the Inspector from the RCMP; and the mysterious Tom Hengyr; Sara and Jamie are drawn into this enchanted land through the portals of Tamson House, that sprawling downtown edifice that straddles two worlds.

Sweeping from ancient Wales to the streets of Ottawa today, Moonheart will entrance you with its tale of this world and the other one at the very edge of sight and the unforgettable people caught up in the affairs of both. A tale of music, and motorcycles, and fey folk beyond the shadows of the moon. A tale of true magic; the tale of Moonheart.

Tuesday, September 24th 19:00: The Spooky Classics

Halloween is approaching and for the the next few weeks, Caledonia Skytower will be reading ghostly stories from some of the classics of the genre. Each week features a different author associated with tales of the macabre, Gothic, or just plain spooky. This week: Charles Dickens

Wednesday, September 25th: 19:00 Anne of Green Gables

As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever. The problem is, the owners of Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert wanted a boy to help Matthew with household chores; so at first it seems as if she will be returned to the orphanage from whence she came.

However, Anne is determined to stay, trying hard not to get into trouble or speaking out of turn, and the Cuthberts come to realise she is someone blessed with an enormous imagination. The latter is especially noticed by the quietly-spoken Matthew, who persuades his sister that young Anne should stay.

Thus we are drawn into Anne’s life and world as she settles into her first real home. Over the course of a five year period from her arrival in Bolingbroke at age 11 through until her move to Queen’s Academy at the age of 16, where she earns a university scholarship, we follow Anne’s adventures and ups and down within the close-knit community, making friends (and sometime enemies whom she is perhaps too stubborn to admit she’s long since forgiven for perceived wrongs) and her domestic trails and tribulations. The later, when tragedy strikes, we follow her back to Bollingbroke, where she indeed becomes Anne of Green Gables, and her story is left open.

Join Faerie Maven-Pralou as she reads L.M. Montgomery’s 1908 classic (and first of a series).

Thursday, September 26th 19:00 The Dead Travel Fast

“Tonight my bravehearts, we begin our seasonal ventures abroad into exploring the obscure, exhuming Gothic tales, and more seasonal delights!”

With Shandon Loring, also in Kitely – teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

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Support Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 2019

via ACS in Second Life / Making Strides

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has, for the last several years, been a signature event for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life of Second Life, focused on – as the name implies – the issue of breast cancer.

Around 1.6 million women and men are diagnosed with breast cancer very year, which equates to around 270,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer per year in the United States and around 55,000 in the UK alone. It’s a cause I’ve always supported throughout my time in Second Life, although I will admit it was something brought a lot closer to home for me when I was diagnosed with DCIS – ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of non-invasive breast cancer. I was fortunate enough to be diagnosed early – but many around the world are not so fortunate, and breast cancer remains the second largest (by diagnosis) form of cancer to impact people world-wide; hence to focus of Makes Strides.

In keeping with the changes made in 2018 to Making Strides fund-raising in Second Life, this year will see two major events take place to raise funds to help with the detection, treatment and, ultimately, prevention of breast cancer world-wide: the Out Shop Cancer event and the Making Strides Walk-a-Thon.

ACS has recently put out a final call for merchants to join the Out Shop Cancer event, as well a call for participants in the 2019 Walk-a-Thon, which this year forms a part of the Pink Power Fest; details of both can be found below for those interested in participating in either event.

Out Shop Cancer

  • Dates: throughout October 2019.
  • SLurl: all across the grid – HUD based.

This is a grid-wide shopping event starting on October 1st, 2019 and ending on October 31st. Merchants are being asked to support it by designating specific items that will be sold either in their in-world stores or on the Second Life Marketplace store (or both) as a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer programmes and services.

When the event opens, shoppers will be able to obtain a special HUD enabling them to teleport to participating stores in world and find items on the Marketplace and make purchases, with the funds going to RFL of SL / ACS.

In 2018, 40 merchants participated in the event, and this year ACS is hoping to see 50 or more join in.

Because breast cancer is the 2nd most diagnosed cancer, and because Second Life gives us the opportunity to explore so many different forms of expression, we are planning a shopping experience that will offer something to as many types of avatars as possible. This means that we need a cross-section of designers and creators to represent fashion, hair, accessories, skins/shapes, A/Os, recreation, art, and anything else that would interest men, women, children, and non-human avatars in Second Life.

– Sandie Slate, ACS Event Lead for Make Strides Out Shop Cancer

Merchants willing to take part should follow the links below:

The Pink Power Fest and Making Strides Walk-a-Thon

  • Dates: Saturday, October 19th through Saturday, October 26th, 2019.
  • SLurl: TBA

This year’s Make Strides Walk-a-Thon will be the kick-off event for the 2019 Pink Power Fest, it will run from 10:00 through 18:00 on Saturday, October 19th.

Walkers are invited to join in throughout the 10 hours of the event and participate for as long as they can, walking the track and raising money from their donors for each lap they complete – tool will be provided to track their progress, allowing them to collect the pledges of supporters. Laps will be accompanied by music throughout, adding to the festive air.

If you would like to participate in the walk and obtain pledges from your SL friends and family who are willing to support you, please follow the links below:

In addition, the Pink Power Fest will feature daily events including live music and entertainment from singers, tribute bands and DJs gathering for the festival from across the grid. There will also be raffles, gachas, and vendors, with all donations & proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and the work in treating and preventing breast cancer. On Saturday, October 26th, the Fest will close with the Harvest of Hope Gala, honouring all Survivors & Caregivers, and remember those we have lost. I hope to have more information on the specifics of all of these events and activities in due course.

Hosting your Own Breast Cancer Event

This year, ACS is also inviting SL residents to host their own October event to support Making Strides, with a September 18th ACS announcement noting:

If you would like to plan your own breast cancer fundraiser, you’re encouraged to work within your community or group in Second Life to organize your own Strides Campaign. Make sure to let the American Cancer Society know about it by completing the ACS Calendar Event Submission Form so we can share it with others.

All Strides Campaigns must use the official Strides fundraising tools that are provided by the American Cancer Society. Fundraising campaigns may include events, hunts, shows, sales, or simply putting out a donation kiosk at your club or store throughout the month of October.

Individuals and groups wishing to do so should read the ACS announcement, complete the form linked-to in the quote above, and then obtain their free fund-raising tools via the Second Life Marketplace or by going to the Strides office on the American Cancer Society island.

A Spoonful of Sugar 2019 in Second Life

via Spoonful of Sugar

Currently open through until the end of September 29th, is the 2019 Spoonful of Sugar festival, bringing together fashion, home and garden, breedable designers and creators, artists, DJs and live performers to help raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Also known as Doctors Without Borders, MSF was founded in Paris, France in 1971 as a non-profit, self-governed medical humanitarian organisation delivering emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare around the globe, based on need, irrespective of race, religion, gender or political affiliation.

Since that time, MSF has grown to a movement of 24 associations, bound together as MSF International, based in Switzerland. Thousands of health professionals, logistical and administrative staff – most of whom are hired locally – work on programmes in some 70 countries worldwide. See the video at the end of this article for more on MSF.

Spoonful of Sugar is now in its fifth year, and has thus far raised US $40,000 for MSF as a part of the organisation’s Vital Pact Campaign – and hopes to take that total to at least US $50,000 in 2019.

Spoonful of Sugar 2019 – market town

Every year, Spoonful of Sugar selects a theme for its core event. This year, the focus is very much middle-eastern: a desert environment with out of which have grown four small “towns”, each an oasis of human life in which the streets form a souq and home to many of the merchants participating in this year’s event. Large sponsors of the event are to be found gathered around the oasis a short walk from the landing point.

But the setting is not simply about the romance of the desert and camel trains of traders; it actually underscores the focus for Spoonful of Sugar this year: the plight of refugees, which over the last several years has been brought sharply into focus by the crises that continue to rock the middle-east. World-wide, there are now a recorded 70.8 million refugees who have been forced – however unwillingly – to flee their homelands due to war, political or religious extremism, gang violence, terror, or other life-threatening circumstances.

Spoonful of Sugar 2019

These 70.8 million recognised refugees make up a significant portion of MSF’s work – as the Spoonful of Sugar landing point reveals. And in an age when those of a certain political stripe repeatedly opt to demonize people who are fleeing their homelands – and often leaving behind friends and families – to escape death and destruction as “the worst people” and / or “rapists and murderers”, focusing on the huge humanitarian efforts performed by organisations like MSF is fully warranted.

I’m here to tell you that nobody wants to leave home. They love their cities, their neighbourhoods. They love speaking their own language. The people fleeing their home countries are running because their home countries aren’t safe. They are fleeing for their lives.

– Dr. Ahmed Abdalzarag, MSF neurosurgeon

Spoonful of Sugar 2019: the work of MSF

Thus, the landing point offers visitors an opportunity to look inside a typical refugee camp and witness the work that MSF carries out, from triaging injuries and illnesses to working the logistics of food, drinking water and other essential supplies to providing shelter. Information boards throughout outline the work and offer insight into MSF’s multi-faceted work. Yes, the setting may desert, but it could also so easily be the grasslands of Africa, the forests of South America – or any of the multitude of places around the globe where refugees are attempting to seek help and support; as such I do recommend that rather than hopping straight on to the teleport boards and going shopping, people spend a few minutes within the camp.

As well as the shopping opportunities, there is also entertainment taking place over the weekends of the event – with a schedule available via the Spoonful of Sugar website. Also forming part of the event is the gacha area and the event raffle, while updates and information can also be found on the Spoonful of Sugar website.

SLurl and Links

Team Diabetes of Second Life announces 2019 season

Team Diabetes of Second Life has announced their 2019 fund-raising season. Founded in 2015 by Jessi2009 Warrhol and John Brianna (Johannes1977 Resident), Team Diabetes of Second Life is the official and authorised team of the American Diabetes Association in SL.

Their mission is to raise awareness, tolerance, and funds for diabetes in the virtual world of Second Life. According to the World Health Organisation in 2016 some 422 million adults in the world have diabetes and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year.

The 2019 Team Diabetes of Second life season will run from October through to December, with the following events scheduled to take place:

  • October 18th though 26th: Scare Me Silly (off-season event – see below).
  • November 1st through 30th: National Diabetes Month, featuring:
    • November 1st through 30th: The Red Hunt.
    • November 3rd: The Red Ball.
    • November 14th: World Diabetes Day.
  • December 5th to December 14th: Christmas Showcase & Winter Art Show.

Scare Me Silly

Scare Me Silly is an annual event taking place around Halloween. It features live performances. DJ parties, a hunt and a quest, tricks and treats, a haunted mansion, ghostly rides and – of course – shopping!

As noted above, this year the event will take place from Friday, October 18th through Saturday, October 26th inclusive. Registrations for the event from both merchants and artists are now open, and the application form, with guidelines and terms can be found here.

About the American Diabetes Association

 Established in 1940, the American Diabetes Association is working to both prevent and cure diabetes in all it forms, and to help improve the lives of all those affected by diabetes. It does this by providing objective and credible information and resources about diabetes to communities, and funding research into ways and means of both managing and curing the illness. In addition, the Association gives voice to those denied their rights as a consequence of being affected by diabetes.

About Team Diabetes of Second life

Team Diabetes of Second Life is an official and authorised fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association in Second Life. Established with the aim of raising funds in support of diabetes treatment and to raise awareness of the disease in SL, Team Diabetes of Second Life was founded by Jessi2009 Warrhol and John Brianna (Johannes1977 Resident), who serve on the Advisory Board along with Eleseren Brianna, Veruca Tammas, Rob Fenwitch, and Dawnbeam Dreamscape.

Books, magic and pirates in Second Life

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, September 15th 18:30: Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparent’s bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

Join Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horseshoe to find out more!

Monday, September 16th 19:00: Moonheart

Gyro Muggins reads Charles de Lint’s 1994 novel.

When Sara and Jamie discovered the seemingly ordinary artefacts, they sensed the pull of a dim and distant place. A world of mists and forests, of ancient magic, mythical beings, ageless bards – and restless evil.

Now, with their friends and enemies alike–Blue, the biker; Keiran, the folk musician; the Inspector from the RCMP; and the mysterious Tom Hengyr; Sara and Jamie are drawn into this enchanted land through the portals of Tamson House, that sprawling downtown edifice that straddles two worlds.

Sweeping from ancient Wales to the streets of Ottawa today, Moonheart will entrance you with its tale of this world and the other one at the very edge of sight and the unforgettable people caught up in the affairs of both. A tale of music, and motorcycles, and fey folk beyond the shadows of the moon. A tale of true magic; the tale of Moonheart.

Tuesday, September 17th 19:00: Poems Line Jazz, like Poems

with Ktadhn Vesuvino, live on stream.

Wednesday, September 18th: The Night Before Pirate Day

With R. Crap Mariner, Da5id Abbot, Corwyn Allen, and The Dread Pirate Caledonia at The Pirate Cove.

Thursday, September 19th

Note: both Thursday sessions will take place at The Pirate Cove.

19:00: Jack Sparrow: The Siren Song, Part 2

Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew have suddenly fallen under a sinister spell. While continuing on their quest for the Sword of Corts, they find themselves entranced by an ethereal song which leads them away from their quarry.

With Shandon Loring, also in Kitely – teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00: Seanchai late Night

Contemporary Sci-Fi-Fantasy from on-line sources with Finn Zeddmore.

Lab Gab episode 2 with Reed Linden – a summary

Image courtesy of Linden Lab

The Second episode of Lab Gab streamed on Wednesday, September 11th, hosted by Xiola and Strawberry Linden, and featuring special guest Reed Linden.

Running to just under 44 minutes, this was an informative segment, although there were a number of questions asked that where outside of Reed’s specific remit and which he was only able to answer in general terms (Land, Linden Homes, pricing, etc.). Most of these are not summarised below, and I refer people to the embedded video for comments.

About Reed Linden

Reed Linden, aka (at present) Penguin Fabuloso, has been with the Lab for just over eight years, having joined in August 2011. He started in the support team, serving there for three years, then moving to the Engineering team for a time. While there, Grumpity Linden, Director of Product for Second Life, selected him to join the Product team.

As a Product Manager, Reed has particular responsibility for the Lab’s web infrastructure –  the Marketplace, Profiles, main domains like secondlife.com) and so on. He’s also been involved with Bakes on Mesh, and has knowledge of account management (including Premium), billing,  and – given his time there – support.

Reed Linden (c), flanked by Xiola (l) and Strawberry (r)

He views his progress through the Lab as uniquely reflective of the manner in which knowledge of the platform is distributed: those who potentially know the most about SL are the users who put it to work every day, coding, building, uploading, texturing, creating, and so on. The next level of knowledge below that is the support teams who handle hundreds of user requests on a daily basis, and get to use the broad spread of the platform’s tools and capabilities. Then, after support come the engineering and product teams, who have sharply defined focuses on Second Life.

From this is should come as no surprise that he sees the community as his favourite aspect of the platform, together with the manner in which it can bring people together from around the world, and help them find a voice or outlets or connections – and even to find love. In this latter regard, he reveals that not only have SL residents built their physical world relationships out of a Second Life meeting (a-la the Love Made in SL series), but also that some LL staff have met their physical world partners through SL!

Web Properties – Project and Updates

  • As a part of his web infrastructure responsibilities, he has been running the work to bring Profiles back into the viewer. This involves two key elements:
    • Moving user profiles back to their own floater in the viewer, rather than pulling in the web profile. This element of the work is currently available for testing in the Legacy Profiles Project Viewer, which can be found on the Alternate Viewer Page.
    • A further aspect of the work is to move Profile Feeds into a dedicated tab within the Profile floater.
Left: SL Profiles will be returning to a dedicated floater (rather than using a panel to display the web-base user profile). In the future, Profile feeds will also become a part of this floater with their own tab. Right: recently delivered to the Marketplace (among other updates) is the ability to list all the gifts you have received (MP → Account Name → My Account Page → Received Gifts)
  • Reed also highlighted three recent updates to the Marketplace:
    • Notification of purchase – when you visit a Marketplace listing for an item you have previously purchased with the account you are using, the date purchased is displayed at the top of the listing.
    • The gifts received listing (see above).
    • The ability for store owners to nominate store managers.
  • Some of the upcoming Marketplace features touched upon include:
    • Optimising the Marketplace for mobile use.
    • Purchase notifications: store owners will receive a viewer notification of purchases made through their Marketplace stores. This will be an opt-in capability, so as to avoid those with popular brands from being constantly spammed with purchase messages.
    • Refunds: the ability for Merchants to offer refunds through the MP is being looked at.
    • Continuing work on quality-of-life capabilities within the MP, together with bug fixes.
  • Search is being strengthened right across all of the Lab’s web properties.
    • For the Marketplace, this will include listing top-selling products first within search results
    • Better granularity on searches will potentially be supported, together with better filtering
  • There are also projects in progress or on the horizon related to improving the Destination Guide and for Events (this has been mentioned in one or two technical user group meetings, but again without specifics being given).

Bakes on Mesh

  • As a Product Manager, he is very pleased with the take-up of Bakes on Mesh (BoM) – as is the Lab.
  • LL have been tracking take-up among mesh head / body makers, etc., and the gradual adoption of the BoM viewer code by TPVs.
    • There is an unofficial list for BoM support (last updated at the end of August) which may help those interested.
  • The hope remains that BoM will encourage more lightweight content in terms of graphics resources (e.g. less complex Mesh heads and bodies, plus the ability to bake down multiple textures into a single composite).

General Q&A

  • As a hobby, Reed enjoys painting model miniatures (D&D being specifically mentioned) and building dioramas.
  • Work on an iOS client was re-iterated. No new updates, as this is not one of Reed’s areas of work, so those interested can refer to a summary of comments by Kiera and Oz Linden on the work (including a link to a transcript of the comments), and my July mini-update on this project.
  • Last Names: yes, still being worked on, but a complex project. Again, see my June update, which includes the most relevant comments from LL.

Feedback

An informative segment, with Reed providing a lot of hints  – he touched very loosely on possible new Premium account options, for example – as well as outright information for those who do not attend the various in-world user group meetings or follow summaries of said meetings as provided on this blog and others of a similar nature.

Some of the questions did hit on the issue of keeping people aware of a specific guest’s area of expertise; even when warned Reed is not directly involved in viewer development, land management, etc., a number of questions on those subjects came up (and were dutifully asked). However, these fortunately did not interrupt the overall flow of the session to a great degree.

Voice quality continues to be an issue; I assume the participants are using the SL voice binary rather than hooking Skype or an alternative service into the mix. Hopefully this is something that will be addressed once the upcoming voice update viewer goes into circulation and Lab staff can use it.

No details on what the next segment will be about – so it’s a case of watch the official blog posts.