Strawberry’s Ask Me Anything challenge

Berry has been at it again, offering up a Monday Meme challenge 🙂 . This one is based around her creating an account, on which she invited people, via her blog and her social media accounts, to ask her questions. She was challenged to share some of the results on her blog, and the result is her latest (as of the end of June) challenge.

It’s another of Berry’s challenges that tweaked my curiosity, so I decided to give it a go  – in part, at least. I’m not intending to create an account at this point in time – not out of any fear of the questions I get, but because my time is such that the account would likely end-up languishing as I fiddle with other things. So, I’ll content myself with addressing her questions.

L'Arc-en-Ciel, WinterFall; Inara Pey, July 2014, on Flickr
Standing at the bows of Exotix 2, my Loonetta 31 sailing cruiser, moored alongside my island home

If Linden Lab shut the door on Second Life, what do you think you might do to replace it, or the time you spend on it. Gaming, school, work, reading, other virtual world, etc? I was writing on-line prior to my involvement in SL, and have recently been engaged to write on subjects related to technology(!) and other things elsewhere, so I’d likely focus far more on that, and switch back to broader writing under my given name. I’d also probably get a lot more reading done!

What would you consider your mission statement for your blog? Well, first and foremost to educate myself. I’ve said elsewhere that I’m generally not a technologist, nor was I particularly au fait with Second Life when I first started blogging (not that this ever stopped me from being critical or sounding off!). So this blog (under the Modemworld title, at least) has been very much about my desire to learn more about the platform, the Lab, to understand how things actually hang together (rather than just relying upon my own assumptions and misconceptions), and to try to be objective in my critiques and opinions, as and when given; when it comes to news articles I try to steer clear of subjective editorising.

On a broader scale, I hope people enjoy what they find here, and that my travelogue pieces and arts reviews offer sufficient interest to encourage folk who might otherwise not travel to places far and wide, or who have thought much about art in SL to go and take a peek. I also hope the personal notes I slip into the blog help people understand me a little better.

What would you change about your Second Life right now if you could just press a magic button and have it automatically happen? Have circumstances change such that I’d never allowed a couple of friendships from a good few years ago slip away prematurely. The people concerned subsequently ceased being active in SL. While I don’t presume that my friendship would have prevented them vanishing, I do wish I’d taken better care of things so we might have enjoyed more times together in conversation and bouncing around places before they opted to take flight. 

What topic would you like to see explored in a non fashion blog post? Anything you are curious about and want someone else to do all the research? Umm… honestly don’t know. I actually like researching and delving into things myself (one of the reasons some of my own posts take time to appear – I easily go off at tangents when researching, as I love discovering things & information!).

Ichi-go Ichi-E, Fantasy Faire 2015 Inara Pey, April 2015, on Flickr Ichi-go Ichi-E from Fantasy Faire 2015 (Flickr) – Fantasy Faire is always one of my favourite annual SL events (see below)

Do you have a point of contact in SL? Someone that a person from your RL knows to contact in case something happens to you or you are unable to get online for an extended period of time? No. But now you’re raised the question, and for those I’m am close to, it’s something I should consider.

What provides you the most inspiration and motivation to keep learning and growing? What keeps you from being held back by the common negativity in Second Life and elsewhere? Negativity doesn’t really annoy me per se, it’s a fact of life. Misconceptions and  / or misrepresentations of issues and matters do tend to irritate, however. Inspirationally speaking, I am constantly inspired by people’s creativity, in SL and elsewhere. Our capacity for learning, for self-expression, to explore, learn and understand – all of these inspire me, be it through activities, things like space programmes, the art of others or the words they have written or spoken or sung.

How do you deal with other bloggers (who don’t know you personally) that are spiteful towards you? I can think of no better reply than Berry’s: “I ignore them and pretend they don’t exist because I have better things to do with my time then worry about what some random person on the internet thinks of me.”

What is your advice to those that admire you and what you do, hoping to be able to do some of the same things with as much confidence as you often seem to have? Don’t try to emulate me. I’m as flawed as the next person. Set aside time to listen to your own voice; look to the things that you like / enjoy / find important to yourself. And don’t take any externalising of confidence as a sign of anything from anyone; we’re all human, and masks are easy to hold up to the world and are not always as revelatory as we so often quote Oscar Wilde as being the case.

Name 5 favourite events in Second Life

Name three of your favourite blogs

(OK, I admit that’s more than three for SL, etc. But do you know how hard limiting it to three is?!)

Thanks, Berry! Looking forward to seeing what else you think up through the summer! 🙂

Responding to Berry’s double threat (don’t worry, it’s a challenge!)

Music is something I enjoy in the physical world and in SL
Music is something I enjoy in the physical world and in SL

Strawberry Singh posted another Monday Meme which piqued my attention. This time ten questions have been set, each of which ask respondents to list two things (hence the “double threat” aspect).

Two online screen names you’ve had: Inara Pey is now pretty much my on-screen persona nowadays. Prior to her, I had another, which I used when writing for various D/s lifestyle websites whilst active in that community. And no, I’m not telling 😛 .

Two video games you’ve played: I’m genuinely not into video games. There’s a Wii in the house (seldom used nowadays), and the most I get up to on the computer is playing backgammon on-line occasionally (I love playing backgammon and carrom in the physical world!).

Two things you love about Second Life: You can go wherever someone’s imagination  (including your own) can take you, and you can get to share activities, interests and fun with people you might otherwise might never get to know.

Cantrip De Savor, Aloha Sunset Beach; Inara Pey, January 2015, on FlickrI love the way SL allows us to share in one another’s imaginations (location – Cantrip De Savorblog post)

Two things you’ve done in Second Life: Two things I’ve loved doing in / with Second Life are: one, learning to create stuff; and two, learning about the platform itself – how it ticks (and at times why it doesn’t), and what goes into to keeping it going.

Two things you still want to do in Second Life: Learn to script decently, and maybe get into mesh design (non-clothing).

Two things you like about your Second Life avatar: Her look and the fact she doesn’t need to spend time each day on a rowing machine to keep her figure (or is that envy?!).

Two of your Second Life Pet Peeves: One has to be the degree of negativity expressed towards LL by people who, by their own statements, tend to show they actually have zero understanding of how complex a platform SL is to develop, deliver and maintain or the costs involved in doing so.  The other is … bad regions crossings.

Two things you did as a newb that you’re embarrassed of: Only when a newb? I’m constantly doing things I’m embarrassed about 🙂 . OK, well one would be the belief I had that if I could see it on the map, I could fly to it, which no amount of bouncing at region / estate boundaries could dissuade me from. Another would be originally thinking I had to rez prim hair in-world in order to somehow adjust it to fit.

Two of your closest friends in Second Life: Spikey and Kellyanne.

Berry asked that we choose two bloved items from our inventory. I'm cheating. As I love flying and sailing / boating in SL, I'm pointing to my boats and 'planes :D
Berry asked that we choose two beloved items from our inventory. I’m cheating. As I love flying and sailing / boating in SL, I’m pointing to my boats and ‘planes 😀

Two of the most beloved things in your inventory: My boats and planes 😀 . OK… technically that’s more than two individual items, but I  love the freedom they give me.

Berry just wondered, have you ever …

T’other week, Berry did a meme about blogging. I debated doing it, as I’ve done her previous two meme on the same subject, then got sidetracked into other things, and by the time I thought about it, it was far too late in the week. so I thought that this week, I should make more of an effort.

This week she asks fifteen questions on the subject of “have you ever…?” in relation to our experiences in Second Life. Here are my responses:

Have you ever owned a sim in Second Life? – Yes.

Have you ever created content in Second Life? – Yes. Some of it is still available on SLM, but most of it is really dated and I should take it down, frankly.

Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life? – Err, umm ….

"Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life?" Possibly, possibly ...  :)
Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life? Possibly, possibly … 🙂

Have you ever gone sky diving in Second Life? – Yes! And the lovely Strawberry Singh once joined me (and will do again, I hope!). Once upon a time I was skydiving regularly in SL, and was part of a jump team (I still have the jump suit to prove it!). I recently pulled my old skydiving launcher and landing zone out of inventory and set both up at home so I can get back into things, and offer friends a chance to try it for themselves.

Have you ever played a sport in Second Life? – Yes, competition and formation skydiving, skeet shooting, combat shooting, car racing, golf. My friend Terag encouraged me to try air pylon racing; I’d be great at it if it wasn’t for the bit about flying around a set course between pylons…

Have you ever gone clubbing in Second Life? – Wait, what? You mean some people may not have been to a club?! Jazz places remain my favourites, although I rarely go along nowadays.

Have you ever fangirled/fanboyed someone in Second Life? – Not consciously, although there are a lot of people in SL I admire a lot. I have, however, frequently been accused of being a Linden Lab fangirl 🙂 .  It’s an accusation I can more than happily live with, because the Lab might have warts here and there (and I’ll point to them when warranted) but the fact is, without the Lab, we wouldn’t have a Second Life.

Have you ever taken a picture of your avatar in water in Second Life? – Yes. I mean it’s one of the requirements of using SL, isn’t it: 😉 . And no, you’re not seeing any, as I’m largely rubbish at taking avatar photos!

Have you ever taken a picture of a sunset in Second Life? – Many times, although things often don’t turn out as I’d hoped. However, I do have one I’m particularly proud of:

Collins Land Collins Land, from September 2013 (click for full size)

Have you ever taken a nude picture of your avatar in Second Life? – Yes, most of which are rubbish. See “swimming” above.

Have you ever dated in Second Life? – Yes.

Have you ever had or attended a wedding in Second Life? – been to quite a few, had one, presided over several.

Have you ever drank, smoked or taken drugs in Second Life? – Yes, but not saying which or when 🙂 .

Have you ever engaged in sexual activity in Second Life? – Yes.

Have you ever been to Bukkake Bliss in Second Life? – No.

Monday Meme: me and my system

Jacob's Pond; Inara Pey, Feb 2014, on FlickrJacob’s Pond, February 2014 (Flickr) – blog post

Berry has offered-up another Monday Meme, this one on system specs and viewers. As my “new” PC has just reached its first anniversary (and is already starting to look a tad long in the tooth compared to some), I thought I’d give one of my intermittent replies.

The instructions are simple: share your computer specs and answer the following questions.

  1. Share any of your computer specs (video card, memory, etc..) Click here if you don’t know any of those things or just share the year you bought it. The specifications of my primary system, and default viewer settings are on my system specifications page, together with those of my laptop and tablet. Additional points on the primary system: motherboard: Asus P8-Z77-V LX2; PSU – Corsair RM 850W Gold; Cooling – air (water capable), with front, rear and dual side fans + CPU fans; monitor: HP 1440×900 19-inch flat panel. Currently on my wish list is a Space Navigator; I’d like to give “proper” machinima a go
  2. Which viewer do you use most often? Firestorm, although just about every current TPV installed  as well as several of the SL viewer RC’s and project viewers, all for review purposes, and I do swap and change between them on occasion
  3. What is your FPS (Frames Per Second) when you have your graphics on Ultra? No idea. I find High sufficient for most things and push to High-Ultra for reviews / photographs. FPS is a very subjective figure, given the number of factors that can impact it. On my home region, with all the graphics bells and whistles enabled, I can average an FPS in the 50s with the neighbours around, and tends to be around the same in most “quiet” regions. Elsewhere it can bottom-out in the teens.
  4. How often does Second Life crash for you? Is it usually just a viewer crash or your whole system crashes? What are you usually doing at the moment of the crash? Rarely, and on those occasions when it does, it’s usually just the viewer. I used to suffer crashes when flying / sailing in SL, but since swapping my service to fibre, those instances have ceased (crosses fingers). I do occasionally hit a graphics memory issue when being overly ambitious taking photos at really high resolutions (e.g. 4000 px across or greater. I now tend to keep to 3000 across as my upper limit).
  5. Do you know of any tips or tricks in the settings that could improve performance?
    Just as a short general list of viewer-focused suggestions for daily use:

    • Don’t ramp-up up your bandwidth, follow Firestorm’s recommendations; don’t ramp your LOD ridiculously high 3-4 should be sufficient for most things (I think this is actually capped, but can’t remember); keep your draw distance reasonable; don’t ramp-up the number of concurrent mesh requests the viewer is making, it won’t improve things, but could end-up hurting you and others (LL have done a lot of work in this area, but viewers opening 100s of HTTP connections to a server are still a problem); don’t clear cache as a first resort when hitting an issue
    • Drop your particle count down unless you specifically need it high. Particles are all viewer-side, so it’s just extra work for the GPU if you’re not taking any notice of them.
    • Use the Max. No. of Non-impostor Avatars slider (Preferences > Graphics) to reduce the number of avatars your GPU has to completely render when in busy regions (e.g. set to 0 or just above – unless you’re taking photos, of course!)
    • If you have a system with limited memory, don’t have dozens of tabs open in your web browser when running SL; you’ll just have the browser and the viewer vying for resources.

One day, I might even get one of these out the day Berry actually posts a meme, particularly given I actually started this one on Monday before things started distracting me!

Getting personal with Berry


Monday arrived, and with it a fresh meme challenge from Strawberry Singh. This one was quite a long one – 20 questions in all – asking respondents a range of questions on real and virtual living. As it is sort-of in the same vein as her memes on blogging & SL, I thought I’d give it a go as well.

Meme instructions: Answer the following 20 personal questions about your Second Life.

When and how did you discover Second Life? I discovered it in early 2006. I can’t actually remember how; TV report, magazine / on-line article, something like that. I joined for a while, literally a few months, then left. I decided to give it another go at the end of the year, re-joining in December 06.

Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? I was aware of the concept of virtual worlds through sci-fi films and books, but had never actually used anything like one. I’m not a computer gamer or anything like it, so it was a new experience.

Has Second Life met your expectations? First time around, I didn’t really have expectations, only cursory interest (hence, probably, why I wandered away from it). Second time around, I came back with a specific purpose in mind, which sort-of constrained things for a while. However, I’ve now moved well beyond that original purpose largely as a result of SL leading me into areas I never expected would interest me, so I’d say it’s exceeded any expectations I may have had.

If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s s life, what would you tell yourself? “The winning National Lottery numbers for Christmas 2006 will be …” 😀 .

How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles in-world? I don’t actually recall having major issues with either in terms of understanding the controls (keyboard, mouse, etc). Leaving avatar flying to one side, I do regret not getting into flying aircraft sooner.

Flying in SL was never really a problem for me ... I just regret that flying aircraft was something I didn't discover a lot sooner
Flying in SL was never really a problem for me … I just regret that flying aircraft was something I didn’t discover a lot sooner

Do you have a mystery alt? I have an alt, but her identity isn’t mysterious. She’s appeared in these pages, and the tag I often give her when in-world is a bit of a giveaway 🙂 .

Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? Her personality is mine. Looks-wise, I did at one point try to get her looking somewhat like me facially. Nowadays, there is little physical resemblance. I’m not conscious of any wish / desire to look like her or have her look like anyone else, in SL or RL.

Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? There are many people I’ve encountered in SL who have had a very positive influence on me in ways too numerous to mention. Some are still here, and I appreciate them greatly for their influence / friendship / acquaintanceship. Others have since sadly moved on from SL.

Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet in-world as opposed to the real world? I’d say that bonds can be easier to initially form on-line because of the way second Life tends to compress everything. Some can become as strong as those formed through a friendship / relationship which started in RL. It’s really down to the individuals concerned: what they are seeking, how genuine / honest they are when in-world, etc.

Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? Yup. As Berry states: it’s been happening for decades, long before SL or the Internet or even computers.

Continue reading “Getting personal with Berry”

My blogging journey

typing_001 Berry posted another of her Monday Memes on (oddly enough!) Monday April 28th. This one, called “my blogging journey“,  is a follow-up to her “Why do I blog?” meme from 2013. As I responded to the latter a little late in the day, I thought I should also respond to “part 2” – and get it done a little earlier this time!

Which electronic devices do you use to blog with? Primarily my PC, but I also use my Nexus 7 HD when away from home. You can generally tell when I’m using the latter, particularly if I’m using the on-screen keyboard, as the Kween of TpyolandTM strikes again…

Do you have a mission statement for your blog, if so, what is it? Not really. I just try to be open and honest in my writing, whatever the subject of an article.

How do you feel about blogs that use their platforms to spread negativity? It depends. Those that have a completely myopic view of things or seek to be deliberately and negatively confrontational on matters, I ignore. However, there are some which are predisposed to lean towards the negative (notably when writing about LL) or which may proceed from a false assumption or carry misconceptions that I do read,  because they challenge me to try to look at issues more broadly.

Are you a grammar junkie? Do you thoroughly check your blog for errors before posting and/or do you judge other people’s posts if they contain errors? I am the world’s worst when it comes to checking my own my own writing. Send me yours with a request to edit it, and I’ll go through it tooth and nail and correct, offer alternatives where meanings might be confused, provide grammar hints and tips. My own? I’ll run it through a spell-checker, I’ll read it 2-3 times, that’s it. Then I’ll generally go bonkers with myself when someone else picks up a typo I should have seen, or when I spot a grammar error. When reading other blogs, I can’t help picking-up on typos and grammar errors, but I rarely poke the writers concerned, as I’m so aware of the huge plank in my own eye …

If you could switch blogs with another blogger who would it be? Not sure about “switch”, but there are two bloggers in particular I admire and I’d name here: Honour McMillan and Tateru Nino. Both have a wonderful capacity for insight and observation and beautiful word craft. I also envy Honour’s eye for photography (and Ziki’s, and Bear’s, and Berry’s, and Loverdag’s, and Derry’s, and Asa’s, and Thorin’s, and Miles’, and ….).

Has your blog/blogging style evolved over the year(s)? How? I hope so. I started blogging on a specific subject (drawing on articles I’ve had published elsewhere & then re-wrote to give them an SL focus). Then I started writing more widely on subjects, and as my ignorance of certain aspects of SL became increasingly apparent, I tried to educate and inform myself. I hope that’s reflected in my writings here over the past few years.

What is the most extraordinary thing that has happened to you because of blogging? I got indirectly retweeted by Drew Carey. Seriously. Both Dennis Harper at OnLive and Peter Gray at Linden Lab e-mailed me when it happened. The tweet was actually from Indigo Mertel (so she has some pretty awesome followers!), and referred to a piece I wrote about OnLive’s SL Go service. No idea if Drew actually read the article (or if he did, whether he comes back and reads more), but still …

Almost famous: Drew Carey re-tweets from Indigo (who is famous!) mentioning my blog ...
Almost famous: Drew Carey re-tweets Indigo (who is famous!) mentioning my blog …

When it comes to Second Life blogs, there are different styles: Fashion bloggers, Lifestyle & Travel bloggers, Informative bloggers, and more. Which style do you prefer and where do you feel your blog fits in? I hope my blog covers a number of these areas. The only things I’ve made a conscious decision not to blog about are fashion, product reviews and in-depth content creation pieces. I’m not particularly fashion conscious in RL & I’m not the world’s greatest creator of content. So in both of those instances, anything I blog would be a grandmother and egg-sucking scenario. While I have been known to review products, with one exception, I’ve only done so for items I’ve purchased and really liked for myself. That exception was a review of Erick Gregan’s Spitfire Mark IX. That did come to me as a gift from Erick, but not in any expectation of me blogging about it; it was purely a “thank you” (and quite unexpected) for some assistance I gave when poking at some region crossing issues in 2013. And even then, I wrote the review because I love flying it in SL!

What has blogging taught you? Consideration and forethought. I hope.

Share your top 3 tips for new bloggers. Write about what interests you. Don’t be afraid to buck the trend; just because people are all blogging on X or with opinion Y, doesn’t mean you have to as well – just be true to yourself and speak from the heart. Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes, and take the time to understand a point-of-view or a topic before you blog.


Top image with thanks to Alina Lyvette