Lab Gab November 6th: Cloud Uplift update

via Linden Lab

On Friday November 6th, 2020 Lab Gab, the live streamed chat show hosted by Strawberry Linden on all things Second Life returned to the the subject of the work to transition all Second Life services to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and away from running on the Labs’ proprietary hardware and infrastructure.

The session came some 7 months after the last Lab Gab to focus on this work in April 2020 with Oz Linden and April Linden (see Lab Gab 20 summary: Second Life cloud uplift & more), and this time, Oz Linden sat in the hot seat alongside Mazidox Linden.

The official video of the segment is available via You Tube, and is embedded at the end of this article. The following is a summary of the key topics discussed and responses to questions asked.

Mazidox Linden is a relative newcomer to the Linden Lab team, having joined the company in 2017 – although like many Lab staff, he’s been a Second Life resident for considerably longer, having first signed-up in 2005.

Table of Contents

He is the lead QA engineer for everything simulator related, which means his work not only encompasses the simulator and simhost code itself, but also touches on almost all of the back-end services the simulator software communicates with. For the last year he has been specifically focused on QA work related to transitioning the simulator code to AWS services. He  took his name from the Mazidox pesticide and combined it with the idea of a bug spray to create is avatar, to visualise the idea of QA work being about finding and removing bugs.

Oz Linden joined the company in 2010 specifically to take on the role of managing the open-source aspects of the Second Life viewer and managing the relationship with third-party viewers, a role that fully engaged him during the first two years of his time at the Lab. His role then started expanding to encompass more and more of the engineering side of Second Life, leading to his currently senior position within the company.

“The Bugspray” Mazidox Linden (l) and Oz Linden joined Strawberry Linden for the Friday, November 6th segment of Lab Gab to discuss the cloud migration work

What is the “Cloud Uplift”?

[3:25-5:55]

  • Cloud Uplift is the term Linden Lab use for transitioning all of Second Life’s server-based operations and services from their own proprietary systems and services housed within a single co-location data centre to  commercial cloud services.
  • The work involves not only the visible aspects of SL – the simulators and web pages, etc., but also all the many back-end services operated as a part of the overall Second Life product,  not all of which may be known to users.
  • The process of moving individual services to the cloud is called “lift and shift” – take each element of software, making the required adjustments so it can run within a cloud computing environment, then relocate it to AWS infrastructure and hardware in a manner that allows it to keep running exactly as it did prior to the transfer, while avoiding disruptions that may impact users.
  • The current plan is to have all of the transitional work completed before the end of 2020.
  • However, this doe not mean all the the work related to operating SL in the cloud will have been completed: there will be further work on things like optimising how the various services run on AWS, etc.,

Why is it Important?

[5:56-12:12]

  • It allows Second Life to run on hardware that is a lot more recent than the servers the Lab operates, and allows the Lab to evolve SL to run on newer and newer hardware as it becomes available a lot faster than is currently the case.
    • In particular, up until now, the route to upgrading hardware has involved the Lab reviewing, testing and selecting hardware options, then making a large capital expenditure to procure  the hardware, implement it, test it, then port their services over to the hardware and test, then implement – all of which could take up to 18 months to achieve.
    • By leveraging AWS services, all of the initial heavy lifting of reviewing, testing, selecting and implementing new server types is managed entirely by Amazon, leaving the Lab with just the software testing / implementation work.
  • A further benefit is that when SL was built, the capabilities to manage large-scale distributed systems at scale didn’t exist, so LL had to create their own. Today, such tools and services are a core part of product offerings alike AWS, allowing the Lab to leverage them and move away from having to run (and manage / update) dedicated software.
  • Two practical benefits of the move are:
    • Regions running on AWS can run more scripts / script events in the same amount of time than can be achieved on non-AWS regions.
    • The way in which simulators are now managed mean that LL can more directly obtain logs for a specific region, filter logs by criteria to find information, etc., and the entire process is far less manually intensive.

How Secure is SL User Data on AWS?

[12:20-15:43]

  • It has always been LL’s policy when dealing with third-party vendors (which is what AWS is) not to expose SL user data to those vendors, beyond what is absolutely necessary for the Lab to make use of the vendor’s service(s).
  • This means that while SL user data is stored on AWS machines,it it not stored in a manner Amazon could read, and is further safeguarded by strict contractual requirements that deny a company like Amazon the right to use any of the information, even if they were to be able to read it.
  • In fact, in most cases, user-sensitive data is effectively “hidden” from Amazon.
  • LL  is, and always has been, very sensitive to the need to protect user data,even from internal prying.
  • In terms of the simulators, a core part of testing by Mazidox’s team is to ensure that where user data is being handled (e.g. account / payment information, etc.), it cannot even be reached internally by the lab, as certainly not through things like scripted enquiries, malicious intent or prying on the part of third-party vendors.
  • [54:30-55:18] Taken as a whole, SL on AWS will be more secure, as Amazon provide additional protection against hacking, and these have been combined with significant changes LL have made to their services in the interest of security.

Why is Uplift Taking So Long?

[15:48-19:20]

  • The biggest challenge has been continuing to offer SL as a 24/7 service to users without taking it down, or at least with minimal impact on users.
    • This generally requires a lot of internal testing beforehand to reach a point of confidence to transition a service, then make the transition and then step back and wait to see if anything goes dramatically wrong, or users perceive a degraded service, etc.
    • An example of this is extensive study, testing, etc., allowed LL to switch over inventory management from their own systems to being provisioned via AWS relatively early on in the process, and with no announcement it had been done – and users never noticed the difference.
  • Another major challenge has been to investigate the AWS service offerings and determine how they might best be leveraged by SL services.
  • As many of the SL services are overlapping one another (e.g. simulators utilise the inventory service, the group services, the IM services, etc.), a further element has been determining a methodical manner in which services can be transitioned without impacts users or interrupting dependencies on them that may exist elsewhere.
  • The technology underpinning Second Life is a lot more advanced and recent within the AWS environment, and this means LL have a had to change how they go about certain aspects of managing SL. This has in turn required experimentation, perhaps the deployment of new tools and / or the update / replacement of code, etc..

Will Running on AWS Lower Operating Costs?

[19:33-23:00]

  • During the transitional period it has been “significantly” more expensive to operate SL, inasmuch as LL is paying to continue to operate its proprietary systems and services within their co-lo facility and pay for running services via AWS.
  • Even after the need to continue paying for operating the co-lo facility has ended, it is unlikely that the shift to AWS will start to immediately reduce costs.
  • However, the belief is that moving to AWS will,  in the longer term, reduce operating costs.
  • Whether reduced operating costs lead to reduced costs to users, or whether the savings will be re-invested in making further improvements to the service lay outside of this discussion.
  • Right now the focus is not on driving down costs or making service significantly better, but is solely the work of getting everything transitioned. Lowering costs, making more efficient use of the underpinning capabilities provided by AWS will come after the migration work has been completed.

What Happens to the Old Hardware / Facility, Post-Uplift?

[23:09-25:15]

  • Several years ago, LL consolidated all of their hardware and infrastructure into a single co-location data centre in Arizona.
  • Most of the hardware in that facility is now so old it has depreciated in value to a point where it is pretty much worthless.
  • A specialist company has therefore been contracted to clear-out the Lab’s cage(s) at the co-lo facility and dispose of the hardware.
    • As a demonstration of LL’s drive to protect user data, all drives on the servers will be removed under inspection and physically destroyed via grinding them up on-site.

Continue reading “Lab Gab November 6th: Cloud Uplift update”

SOS Winter Fair 2020 in SL: merchant applications sought

Survivors of Suicide (SOS) is a peer to peer support group within Second Life dedicated to help those who have been impacted by depression, thoughts of suicide, or who have attempted suicide or have lost someone to suicide. The group offers practical support, as well as education and information on dealing with depression, suicide prevention and more.

Founded in December 2008, SOS is the longest running support group of its kind in Second Life, and celebrates its anniversary each year with a special Christmas Fair – and 2019 will be no different, with merchant and vendor application currently open until November 8th – although this may be extended if spaces are still available.

The theme for the 2020 fair is Winter Wonderland, with the event running from Saturday, December 5th, 2020 through until Saturday, January 2nd, 2021 inclusive.

Merchants are asked to adhere to a number of guidelines, comprising:

  • Booths are provided with a 50 LI allowance that should not be exceeded.
    • Merchants are asked to dress them in accordance with the theme.
    • Scripts should be kept to a minimum and only used as required (e.g. within vendors, etc).
    • All items offered for sale must not violate IP, copyright, patent, trademark or similar rights held by others.
  • Booths must include an SOS kiosk (provided by the organisers) for donations.
  • At  least one item must be offered at 100% sale price to SOS, or 2 items at 50% sale price to SOS.
  • Set-up will commence at noon SLT on Monday, November 30th, and must be completed by noon SLT on Thursday, December 3rd.

In addition, applicants are asked to have a free Group slot available so they can be invited into the SOS group for rezzing rights, and should provided a 512×512 copy of their store logo to the organisers via e-mail (address in the application form).

Those interested in applying should complete the SOS Winter Fair 2020 application form.

For further information, please refer to the SOS website.

October’s Haunted Hollow in Second Life

via Elite Equestrian and Seanchai library

The season of Haunts and Things That Go Bump In The Night is once again upon us, bring with it plenty to do across the grid. Two groups that are offering a themed quarter-region and events throughout the month are friends of this blog, Elite Equestrian and Seanchai Library, who are jointly presenting Haunted Hollow to one and all.

Once Upon a Time there was an Enchanted Hollow somewhere between the Hudson River Valley and the land of the Brothers Grimm. It was here, under the glow of the Hunter’s Moon, that the tales gathered. They settled in as cooling breezes whirled the falling leaves, nestling between the autumnal heights and that place where the brook waters blend with the salty sea. Mind your step! In the centuries between this moment and when these stories were born, some few of them may have begun to twist, just a very little.

The introduction to Haunted Hollow

Highlights of the event include:

  • A treasure hunt.
  • Skeleton pony companion give-aways.
  • Free Bird’s annual live trick or treat event.
  • Sotrytelling and tales with Seanchai Library.
  • Music events, and more!

Seanchai Library bring tales for the season throughout the month with a programme featuring (all times SLT):

  • 13:30, October 4th, 11th, 18th (Sundays) – Tea Time with The Shadow: tales from the classic radio series, originally featuring the voice of Orson Welles (1937-1938).
  • 19:00, October 7th and 28th (Wednesdays – The Halloween Tree: episodes 1 and 4 respectively of Ray Bradbury’s fantasy novel tracing the history of Samhain and Halloween through the tale of a group of trick or treating boys.
  • 13:00, Saturday, October 17th – Baba Yaga: Caledonia Skytower reads tales of the supernatural being (or a trio of sisters of the same name) of Slavic folklore, who may help or hinder those that encounter her or seek her out, as she appears in assorted roles.
  • 13:00, Saturday, October 24th – The Witch’s Headstone: Caledonia Skytower reads Neil Gaiman’s short story that originally formed the 3rd Chapter of The Graveyard Book, the story of Bod (short for Nobody), the boy raised by the ghosts of a graveyard, and which has also been published as a short story in its own right.
  • 13:30, Sunday, October 25th: Tales of Washington Irving: Seanchai present tales penned by the essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat who is best known for his short stories, including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Haunted Hollow 2020

The treasure hunt runs through the entire month and starts at the landing point – just click the cauldron or the board behind it for hint, and start seeking out the places within the hollow that are hinted at. There are thirteen locations to find, with prizes awaiting those who take the hunt.

Visitors are also invited to ride the Hollow’s skeleton horses and ponies – simply click on the rezzer boards and make your choice of horse or pony and ride the trails. Rides are available throughout the event, and random (and changing) gifts are offer throughout. In addition, the rides will be opened on three days of the month when registered riders can participate and have the chance to receive a special Animesh, rideable pony-sized skeleton. These special rides will take place as follows (all times SLT):

  • 08:00-09:30, Saturday, October 10th.
  • 17:00-18:30, Friday October 16th.
  • 18:00-19:30, Saturday October 24th.

The Live Trick or Treat events will include a tour of the homes in the hollow – participants are asked to wear suitable costumes! – and will also feature tarot card readings, music and fun. Details will be made available through the information boards at the landing point, so be sure to keep an eye on it throughout the month!

Haunted Hollow – the Headless Horseman!

As you ride through the Hollow, look out for the shoe-like Witch’s House, where spells and potions might be found; and there’s the hut of the Baba Yaga – what might she offer to you? But use caution, as you might note from the surroundings, not all who arrive actually leave…  And while your name may not include “Ickabod” or “Crane”, you will nevertheless come across the Headless Horseman!

Climb the trails and you’ll find the Story Teller’s Ledge, where tales might be heard and music and dancing enjoyed. Further up, and the Fairy Tale Tower awaits. Run by a skeleton crew, its rooms have nevertheless been rented out by the characters of assorted tales.  Could that be Cinderella’s glass slippers left in the tower’s hall, her pumpkin coach carelessly parked alongside? And just who might that mirror, mirror on the wall belong to – take  care after looking into it that you don’t prick you finger on the needle of the spinning wheel left in the middle of the room, or you might be staying at the tower longer than intended!

Whatever your Halloween treats might be, Haunted Hollow may well offer them to enjoy together with its own tricks. So why not pull out your favourite ghostly look or horrorly costume and drop in throughout October to join the fun?

SLurl Details

Second Life to have a smashing time with Titmouse

logos © and ™ Linden Lab, Titmouse and Lightbox Expo

On Tuesday, September 8th, Linden lab announced their latest partnership event intended to offer fun for existing users and to encourage those why may not have tried the platform or who have been absence a while to have a go in a party-like environment.

For this latest event – which will take place on Saturday, September 12tth, the Lab has teamed up with animation studio Titmouse Inc., to host the virtual equivalent of the Titmouse Smash Party, to be held in conjunction with the 2020 Lightbox On-line Expo.

Titmouse, Inc., is a North American animation studio operating out of Los Angeles, New York, and Vancouver. Since 2000 they have been producing animated television programmes, feature films, music videos, title sequences, commercials, and short films for clients like Nickelodeon, The Cartoon Network, Disney, Netflix, Adult Swim and most recently, CBS Television for whom they have been working on the Star Trek: Lower Decks series others. However, for 20 years they also gained a reputation for hosting an annual Smash party.

The party allegedly started as an experiment in catharsis for Titmouse employees, after one of the founders of the company heard about a Japanese restaurant that offered clients an unusual service. To help diners get over the cost of their expensive meal, diners could, let off steamby going to a room in the restaurant and smashing a US $1,000 vase to pieces. True or apocryphal, I’ve no idea – but Titmouse reproduced the idea by setting up a basement room for staff where, if they were feeling stressed or suffering a creative block, they could go down to and smash the living daylights out of anything in the room (except other employees, obviously).

This basic idea took on a life of its own, evolving into an annual event for Titmouse staff, family and friends, with fun, music, noise and at its heart, The Cage, a place where attendees could – you guessed it – smash whatever was tossed / placed inside it to smithereens.

In the 21st century these types of activities are frowned upon. The Smash Party is a night where one can experience the visceral catharsis that our cave-person brain secretly desires without the stigma of our repressed society’s judgement.
Some companies do trust fall retreats. Some do bowling. Some do theme park trips. We, traditionally, have smashed.

– Titmouse owner Chris Prynoski, talking to WNW in 2019

Nothing is safe from The Cage – old toilets, broken (or even working TVs), furniture – anything that doesn’t constitute a serious risk or life or limb – and be placed inside and await its fate.

After 20 years, the real-life Titmouse parties were “retired”, Prynoski and his teams deciding they would rather end on a high and have people talking fondly about past parties, rather than responding to the news of the next party with, “What? Is that really still a thing?” or similar.

However, the company has found new ways of hosting the parties – through VR and now, thanks to Linden Lab, within Second Life.

Anything can (and probably will) happen at this virtual world gathering where participants are invited to smash, bash and crash one of the hottest parties of the year held by independent award-winning animation production company Titmouse.
Attendees of the Lightbox Expo and the Second Life community are invited to attend this year’s festivities, which include a combination of music, art and overall anarchy. At the centre of the event is an interactive smashing cage where attendees can smash objects with a variety of different weapons. You can also meet and take a photo with Titmouse mascot, Mr. Chirps.
Rumour has it that the region is filled with more than a few Easter eggs so don’t be surprised when you encounter everything that is weird and wonderful — all springing from the imagination of the Titmouse team.

– from the official Second Life blog post

Those interested in  finding out more can do so via the official blog post, which includes a link to a FAQ written specifically for those new to Second Life to help them get started and find their way to the event.

Be sure to save the date – Saturday, September 12th, and catch the promo video below as Patch Linden gets an early start on having a smashing time.

 

Splash! a celebration of merlife in Second Life

Splash, Sunday August 16th to August 23rd, 2020

Organised by Elite Equestrian, and running from Sunday, August 16th through Sunday, August 23rd, 2020, is Splash! a special week-long event for merfolk and their friends.

Taking place under the sea, Splash offers music, dance performances, sporting events, stories, raffles, and shopping.

We have a full week of fun events and activities, including noted DJs, spoken word and dance performances, sporting events, shopping, and more!

The full line-up of events comprises (all times SLT):

Sunday, August 16th

  • 14:00: DJ Elrik Merlin, of Radio Riel, opening with a watery interlude of dance and music.
  • 18:00-19:00: DJ Ktadhn Vesuvino and Caledonia Skytower steer a unique course for a journey of music and poetry, featuring the Sea in all her alluring, fierce glory.

Monday, August 17th

  • 10:00: Undersea Kelpy jumping contest with ribbons, trophies and Elite Equestrian  gift cards for the top six places.

Tuesday, August 18th

  • 12:00 noon; Keply jousting lessons with Duchess Atrasalus of Tamriel Isles, Knight of Dragon’s Lair, member of the Medieval Games Alliance. Wednesday, August 19th, 7 pm SLT

Wednesday, August 19th

  • 19:00: Undersea Kelpy jumping contest with ribbons, trophies and Elite Equestrian  gift cards for the top six places.
Splash, Sunday August 16th to August 23rd, 2020

Thursday, August 20th

  • 12 noon: formal jousting contest.

Friday, August 21st

  • 12:00 noon: DJ Ktahdn provides sea-themed music from various sources. Instrumental and vocal, sailors and swimmers, and maybe even a poem or two. Our course will be adjusted on the fly, as we dance.
  • 18:00: tales of Enchantment from the Sea: Reader Willow Moonfire will read two traditional Celtic legends from Scotland and Ireland, The Soul Cages, and The Seal Catcher and The Selkies.

Saturday, August 22nd

  • 16:00: Idle Rogue’s Guerilla Burlesque appearing life at Splash! with an underwater dance production featuring performances by Aubreya Joszepe, Dax Dover, Gloriana Maertens, Harlequin Lock, Meegan Danitz, and Melina Aurotharius.
  • 17:00-19:00: DJ Caledonia Skytower with a danceable mix of watery tunes.

Sunday, August 23rd

  • Seanchai Library presents an hour of tales spun in the watery depths: mer people, and creatures of myth and legend.
Splash, Sunday August 16th to August 23rd, 2020

In addition, visitors will be able to ride the Kelpy-Go-Round and receive a merfolk gift (with a new every day), try the Kelpy jumping course for themselves (outside of the contest times) or try their hand at the jousting lists, participate in the raffles meet with other merfolk – or for those not familiar with SL’s mer communities – get to know merfolk.

And in case you’re wondering – a Keply for the the event, is a sea horse (but with legs!). There are boards places around the event space that will rez a Keply for visitors to ride – just accept the event experience and follow the instructions. The jumping course is available through a teleport portal to one side of the event space.

The organisers would like to emphasise that while the event is taking place in an adult region, full nudity should be avoided, although topless outfits are permitted.

SLurl Details

  • Splash! (Island of Joy, rated Adult)

Baltimore’s Peale Centre in Second Life

Virtual Peale, Second Life

Saturday, August 15th 2020 marks the start of a new public experience in Second Life when the Virtual Peale formally opens its doors to visitors from both within and beyond the platform.

Virtual Peale is a collaborative project involving The Peale Centre for Baltimore History and Architecture and Linden Lab, and with the support of Virtual Ability Inc. It encompasses an in-world reproduction of the historic Peale Centre building, which will be used to host a range of virtual exhibitions and events that both mark the original building’s foremost roles as both a museum, and its modern day role as a cultural heritage centre for the City of Baltimore.

Some of the images of the Peale building over the decades, located in the Virtual Peale entrance hall

As one of the most historic buildings in Baltimore, the Peale Centre building is a US National Historic Landmark, appearing in the US National Register of Historic Places. It first opened its doors to the public on August 15th, 1814 as the first purpose-built museum building in the United States. It was designed by Robert Cary Long, Baltimore’s first native-born (and self-trained) architect, and  commissioned by Rembrandt Peale, whose father, the artist, inventor, naturalist and politician Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827), had co-founded the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Philadelphia Museum in 1805.

The Peale building functioned as a museum from 1814 through to 1829, becoming famous for its exhibitions of natural history, militaria and selections of art by some of history’s most renowned painters from around the world, together with works by members of the extended Peale family, most of whom – including Rembrandt Peale – were accomplished artists in their own right. In 1816 the museum made history by becoming the first gas-lit building in Baltimore, Rembrandt following the example of his brother Rubens, Rubens, who had installed similar lighting in the family’s Philadelphia Museum. Doing so allowed Rembrandt to gain the backing needed to establish the Gas Light Company of Baltimore, the first commercial gas light company in America, and this in turn resulted in Baltimore becoming the first US city to be illuminated by gas street lights.

One of the ground floor rooms of Virtual Peale with (l) a drawing of Rembrandt and Rubens Peale demonstrating gas-powered lighting, and (r) The Artist in His Museum, a self-portrait by C.W. Peale painted in 1822, the original now hanging in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

In 1829/30, the museum relocated, and the Peale Building became Baltimore’s City Hall through until 1877. In 1878 it became the location of the first public high school for African Americans in the city, prior to passing into commercial use from 1879 through until 1929. Following an extensive rebuilding programme, in 1930 the building returned to its roots as Municipal Museum of the City of Baltimore, although it was referred to simply as “The Peale Museum”. It continued in this role through until 1997, gaining considerable recognition over the years for its collection of Peale portraits, its annual art and photography events and for several exhibitions combining the history and architecture of Baltimore, such as the nationally acclaimed Rowhouse: a Baltimore Style of Living, a celebration of Baltimore’s distinctive row houses.

Today, the building forms the nucleus of The Peale Centre for Baltimore History and Architecture, and is in the midst of renovations to restore it to its former glory. Once completed, this work will allow it to function as a historic heritage centre / place of learning through the 21st century, including enabling local cultural communities to share their authentic stories of the city both through live performance and on-line.

Another of the ground floor exhibition spaces within Virtual Peale. Note that many of the items throughout the museum are interactive – left-click them for information to be displayed in local chat

To mark the 206th anniversary of the building first opening to the public, the Virtual Peale will similarly be opening its doors within Second Life on what has become known as Founder’s Day for the building. Through it, visitors from across Second Life and beyond will be able to learn about it and the Peale family and participate in special virtual exhibitions.

Developed from a 3D model of the Peale Museum building originally created by the Imaging Research Centre at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) for the university’s Visualising Early Baltimore project, the Virtual Peale reproduces the original’s historic frontage and includes a virtual take on the Peale gardens. Inside, the building presents aspects of the physical Peale Centre’s interior, with exhibition spaces that help tell the building’s story and the work of the Peale family as artists, curators, inventors, and naturalists. The one departure from the original floor plans is the long entrance hall leading to the main lobby area, which is used to present photographs of the original Peale building throughout its history.

The Virtual Peale Garden

For the first exhibition, Virtual Peale presents Redefine/ABLE: Challenging Accessibility, marking the 30th anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Originally developed by students from the University of Maryland (UMD), to be presented as a cross-platform, multi-site exhibit utilising both the UMD’s College Park campus and the Carroll Mansion Museum in Baltimore, thanks to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Redefine/ABLE has been re-imagined as an immersive Second Life experience. It is designed to address diversity, inclusion and ableism, and seeks to engage audiences about the successes and challenges of persons with disabilities in Maryland and beyond.

Developed with a grant from Maryland Humanities, and with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Maryland Historic Trust, and with the active support and advice of Virtual Ability, Inc., Redefine/ABLE can be found in the Virtual Peale’s second floor Picture Gallery – actually a teleport that leads to a separate platform than is automatically activated on climbing the stairs and “entering” the exhibition space.

The Redefine/ABLE exhibition in Virtual Peale, featuring interactive panels

By using the space in this way, with teleports connecting exhibits with the main building, it will be possible to expand Virtual Peale’s internal layout to offer additional gallery spaces. Some of these will reflect and expand on exhibitions that can also be found in the physical world, whilst others will be inspired by the Peale’s programming and partners, allowing the Peale in Second Life to become a creative hybrid of physical and imaginary museum spaces.

It has been thrilling to develop this new experience of the country’s oldest museum building in Second Life. Thanks to the amazing work of Linden Lab and Virtual Ability, Inc., we are now able to welcome a huge new community to the Peale, and share its rich history as well as the authentic stories and creativity of Baltimore with the largest and oldest virtual world on the Internet.

– Dr. Nancy Proctor, Executive Director of the Peale Centre

In addition to providing input and advice on hosting the Redefine/ABLE exhibition, Virtual Ability has also played a key role in developing Virtual Peale: most of the interior detailing has been put together by Eme Capalini of Virtual Ability, and she also spent time developing a “Mastodon Hunt” to help celebrate the ties the museum and C.W. Peale have to the unearthing of the first mastodon skeleton to be found in the United States that went on to become the focal point of the museum’s opening exhibition and the subject of C.W. Peale’s 1086 painting, Exhuming the First American Mastodon (a reproduction of which can also be found inside the Virtual Peale building).  Further, Virtual Ability are assisting The Peale Centre in helping members of the public sign-up and join Second Life for this opening event.

The Redefine/ABLE exhibition in Virtual Peale

Also included in the Virtual Peale build is the StoryTelling Studio. As noted above, a major part of The Peale Centre for Baltimore History and Architecture is to keep alive authentic stories about the City of Baltimore through live performance and on-line events, and the Storytelling Studio is a part of this, together with a partnership the centre has with Libraries without Borders. It is also something the Peale Centre wants to extend into Second Life.

So, if you are a resident of Baltimore and / or have a story connected to Baltimore and its history you’d like to share, the Peale Centre would like to hear from you. contact them by dropping your details and story via note card into the mail box inside Virtual Peale, or if you prefer, you can use the Peale Centre’s Add A Story page, or reach out of project members through the Peale’s in-world group or e-mail them at info-at-thepealecenter.org.

You can learn more about Virtual Peale and the work of the Peale Centre via the Lab Gab video below.

Virtual Peale Opening Event

As a part of the opening, Virtual Peale will host three events on Saturday, August 15th, 2020 (all times SLT):

  • 08:00: a tour of Virtual Peale, hosted by David London, the Peale’s Chief Experience Officer.
  • 09:00: a panel discussion, Accessibility and Inclusion in Physical and Virtual Spaces, featuring George Ciscle, Curator-in-Residence Emeritus at Maryland Institute College of Art; Alice Kreuger, founder of Virtual Ability, Inc.; Monica Rhodes, Director of Resource Management, the National Park Foundation; and Dr. Jeremy Wells, Associate Professor in the Historic Preservation program in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at the University of Maryland.
  • 10:30 (approx): a further tour of the Virtual Peale and open Q&A session with representatives from The Peale Centre and Virtual Ability.

The opening will also be live streamed on You Tube.

SLurl and Links

Note the SLurl below will only be available when Virtual Peale opens on Saturday, August 15th, 2020.