2018 in review – part 2: July to December

2018 in review

The end of another year is approaching, bringing with it a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to offer a summary of the year as recorded in these pages, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us. And so it is for 2018, starting with January through June.

January to June is available here.

Note that this summary isn’t supposed to document everything that happened through the year, but is intended to be a highlight some of the more notable events reported on through these pages. In addition, and for a more detailed look at the various technical and Lab-driven updates to Second Life, please refer to A look at Second Life updates in 2018.

July

Second Life

With the changes to private region fees – and the inevitable backlash from some over grandfathered regions being excluded, I offered an alternative perspective. Whatever estate holders thoughts might have been, two weeks after the private region price restructuring grid growth was slow – but positive. The Lab launched the revamped mainland auction system, initially for Lab held land only.

My Second Life

I repurposed a rezzing system to use as a personal rezzer for vehicle, and got to take the Airfish GEV by Ape Piaggio for a test run – expect it on the marketplace soon! The Get The Freight Out! system came in for examination.

Travel and Arts
July Travels July Art Reviews
Abandale (closed) Cica Ghost: Another Planet
In the Wild (closed) Terrygold: A Rusted Farm
Strawberry Lake (closed) Astral Dreams Project
Smash Starz Art Corner
Ravenwold (closed) DiXmiX: Bicycles
Cloudbreak (closed) Lin C Art Gallery
Erebos Harbor (closed to public access) Diomita Plaza Gallery: LuAnne Anatine
Ponto Cabana Kayly Iali
Pandora Box farewell

Sansar

The July Sansar release saw the introduction of custom avatars with UI and scripting updates. Linden Lab made a surprise announcement that the number of experiences granted to users was dramatically increased.

The Secret Of Mount Shasta; Inara Pey, July 2018, on FlickrThe Secret Of Mount Shasta – click any image for full size

Sansar Travel

My visits for the month encompassed The Secret of Mount Shasta, Horizon Maze and Ebucezam, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Linden Lab

The Second Life 15th anniversary celebrations included another series of Meet the Lindens talks featuring Keira and Patch, Grumpity and Oz, Xiola and Brett and Ebbe Altberg, all of which I attempted to summarise (with audio extracts) under a general heading.

Space and Astronomy

At the start of July, the Martian dust storm reached global proportions, and I looked at asteroids and attempts to study them. The Parker solar probe was readied for launch and I revisited the Chinese space programme. Rockets and a temperate exoplanet also occupied my writings, the UK announced its first spaceport location, while evidence of a subsurface lake on Mars grabbed the headlines. NASA got ready to turn 60, and many were treated to the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century.

August

Second Life

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer announced their 2018 season, while the American Cancer Society announced announced a major overhaul of how it will go about fund-raising from 2019 onwards and sought ideas from supporters. I got to tour some of the new Themed Learning Islands designed to help bring new users with specific interests into Second Life. Firestorm launched a fund-raiser of their own to help cover technical and licensing costs.

Tech and Viewers

Linden Lab issued the Estate Access Management viewer to enhance the estate access management tools available to region holders and their estate managers within the viewer. A new version of the Second Life bug tracker (Jira) was launched.

The Estate Access Management viewer offers greater access control to regions for estate managers
My Second Life

After several weeks of work, the re-vamped Holly Kai Park, featuring a brand-new gallery space, neared completion.

Travel and Art
August Travels August Art Reviews
Black Kite G.B.T.H. – Mistero Hifeng
Chakryn Forest Club LA and Gallery: Carolyn Phoenix
Summer Wind InterstallART: Simply Spiritual
Kekeland – Bardeco La Maison d’Aneli: Barbara Borromeo and Cherry Manga
Bellefleurs and the House Sakura Paula Cloudpainter
Athenaeum Cica Ghost: Daydream
Missing Melody Nitroglobus: Hypnopomia
Peace of Mind LEA: Ethereal Shapes
DiXmiX: Retrospective
Lin C Art Gallery: Sisi Biedermann
La Maison d’Aneli: Cullum Writer, Aneli Abeyanti and Megan Prumier
The Rose Gallery
DaphneArts: Confinement

Sansar

With the first anniversary of the Public Creator Beta reached on July 31st, I offered some personal thoughts on Sansar. The Lab gave some indication of plans for the platform’s Edit Mode and the planned permissions system. The end of August brought the monthly update, known only by its release number, but which included a lot of information.

Sansar Travel

I visited the Roddenberry Nexus for some Star Trek and Wurfi’s Little Gallery.

Linden Lab

The Lab announced a further Town Hall with Ebbe Linden, to take place in September.

Other Virtual Worlds

High Fidelity announced the ability for users to earn and exchange HFC for USD

Space and Astronomy

The “Commercial Nine” – the first astronauts to fly aboard the US commercial vehicles designed to carry crews to / from the International Space station were announced, although there were concerns about the launch schedule The Parker Solar Probe launched. A study was published on the availability of water on the Moon.

An artist’s impression of the Parker Solar Probe swinging around the Sun at a distance of 6.2 million km (3.85 million mi) . Credit: NASA

September

Second Life

RFL of SL announced an expanded Making Strides Against Breast Cancer season. I provided a summary with audio of the 2nd Town Hall with Ebbe Altberg, and also dropped in on Les Fest 2018, A Spoonful of Sugar 2018, Rock Your Rack and the 2018 Hair Fair.

Linden Lab released the new sign-up process and new user experience for Second Life. The Governance User Group resumed in-world meetings, and Dog Food Days were launched for members of the SL teams. Team Diabetes of Second Life announced their 2018 season.

My Second Life

I got to try the Culprit Sonata Bento piano.

Travel and Art
September Travels September Art Reviews
Eclectica: A New Dawn (closed) Gates of Oria
Destiny Gardens (closed) National Museum of Caledon: Phrynne
The Cat Museum Silas Merlin – Carnival of the Arts
Sea Monsters (closed) LEA: Astral Dreams Project
Lost Unicorn Club LA and Gallery: Lyra Romanas and Io Bechir
Storybook Forest Cica Ghost: The Girl Who Cried Wolf
Savor Serenity Solo Arte
Ashemi Reprise Holly Kai Gallery: LuAnne Anatine
Tagus Enchanted Forest ArtCare Gallery
Little Havana and Voodoo In My Blood Rainbow Painters
Zone One DiXmiX: Maloe Vansant, Isa Messioptra and Harbor Galaxy
Florence Bay The Galleries Museum
Frog Hollow LEA: DC Spensley Retrospective
Deadpool Reborn

Sansar

The R25 release came out, bringing with it the in-client store, shopping cart for the web store, avatar and Look Book updates and the ability to gift Sansar dollars. I re-visited the Smithsonian American Arts Museum to see the upper floor expansion.

Linden Lab

Linden Lab switched to using Stellar Connect to provide Second Life first-line support.

Other Virtual Worlds

High Fidelity announced their second load test on the road to One Billion in VR, and set a new concurrency record for the platform. The event proved so popular, High Fidelity then put out a call for paid help with future load tests.

VR and AR

Facebook announced the Oculus Quest.

Space and Astronomy

Following the dust storm on Mars, NASA launched an attempt to re-connect with the rover Opportunity and a Soyuz space vehicle suffered at the ISS. I focused on the potential of the space elevator while NASA launched a mission to observe Earth’s changing ice patterns. SpaceX announced a new private mission around the Moon and Spock’s “homeworld” was discovered.

October

Second Life

EEP, the Environmental Enhancement Project reached a test release status on Aditi, the Beta Grid. Linden Lab blocked an Android client (IM To Secondlife) due to “serious TPV policy violations”. Linden Realms was re-launched following a total makeover. Wish Lists and Favourites arrived on the SL Marketplace.

Tech and Viewers

Second Life suffered another large-scale DDoS attack.

Shug Maitland kept an eye on the ups and downs of log-ins during the DDOS attack via https://etitsup.com/slstats/ through Sunday, October 28th, 2018 and into the early hours of Monday, October 29th, sending me this above capture
My Second Life
Travel and Art
October Travels October Art Reviews
SilentRane (closed) Barry Richez
Calas Galadhon’s MAZE (Halloween only) Rofina Bronet
Malaika Park Nitroglobus: Monique Beebe
Pendle Hill The G.T.B.H. Project: Artefatos
Nowhere Else DiXmiX Gallery: Aloisio Congrejo
Black Bayou Lake (closed) Club LA and Gallery: oYo
Tokyo Street Subway Entrance Anibrm Jung
On The Other Side Lin C Art Gallery: Janine Portal
World of Soap DiXmiX Gallery: CapCat Ragu and Meiló
Winter Moon Artful Expressions: GiulianaNicol
The Peak Black Label Gallery: Blip Mumfuzz
Cold Ash Nitroglobus Roof Gallery AretevanCyrene
La Frontera DiXmiX: Nel4481
{Glenrosa} (closed) Holly Kai Park: Milly Sharple
Meadow Rose JadeYu Fhang

Sansar

October saw Release 26 (R26), also called the Thumbs Up release, which included the first release of Sansar’s long-awaited permissions system. Following initial feedback, this saw some revisions. The Lab announced Sansar would be expanding to Steam before the end of the year.

Linden Lab

Jason Ghoulston, Product Manager for Sansar and responsible for the formation of the Lab’s Sansar Studios, departed the company,

Other Virtual Worlds

High Fidelity announced their first VR festival, to be held in November.

Space and Astronomy

NASA published its latest roadmap for returning to the Moon and China’s space programme got another examination. Astronomers discovered the first exomoon. A Crewed Soyuz booster suffered a mid-flight abort. Bepi-Columbo lifted-off on a mission to Mercury. I offered a quick round-up on news from Mars.

November

Second Life

Animesh as officially released, grid-wide. The November town hall meeting featured Oz, Grumpity and Patch Linden taking questions, and I produced a summary with audio.

Tech and Viewers

November saw further updates to the Marketplace, including new categories, with one for Animesh / animated objects. It was also confirmed that January 2019 will see the final deprecation and removal of all UDP asset fetching messaging from the viewer. In short: if you’re using a viewer that doesn’t use HTTP for asset fetching, you’ll not see avatars correctly.

Firestorm put out a call for volunteers, and was a victim of a fake account attempt to obtain user details. Kokua caught up with the official viewer Animesh release.

VWBPE announced a call for paper for the 2019 conference and news came that a Second Life machinima had probably achieved a world first.

A restructuring of the Linden Endowment for the Arts, set to start in 2019, was announced.

My Second Life

Ape allowed me to try out her Roadrunner electric scooter – and I find it’s a lot of fun. I also wrote about kitbashing in Second Life.

Travel and Art
November Travels November Art Reviews
Ocho Tango Men in Focus Gallery
Broken Dreams Project La Maison d’Aneli: Cybele Moon, Anadonne, Barret Darkfold, Nevereux, Rikku Yalin
Soul2Soul Highlands Vintage Art
Masters Amusement Park Cica Ghost: Rust
Somewhere in Time Paola Mills: Behind the Avatar
Magritte Blue Orange Gallery
Dagger Bay Sisi Biedermann
Snow Falls The Vordun Gallery
Lutz City Monroe Snook
Let It Snow! 2Lei: No Violence
Cherished DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg
Pfaffenthal 1867 Rainbow Painter’s Gallery
Winter’s Hollow
Isle of May
Tranquil Bear Winter Resort
R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S
Calas Midnight Clear

Sansar

More feedback is given on the expansion to Steam. The Look at Me release arrives, with a new client UI, new VR capabilities and new options in general. Linden Lab also announces a new event / series involving well-known comedians coming to VR. And with Pfeffenthal closing in Second Life, I look at their new project in Sansar.

Linden Lab

With controversy surrounding recent DMCA actions and speculation around about them LL issued a statement on creator rights and IP protection.

Other Virtual Worlds

While not exactly a virtual world, Flickr is popular with Second Life users, and news of changes caused some upset. I also offered my own thoughts on things, while Flickr issued a clarification on free accounts with images uploaded under a Creative Commons license.

Space and Astronomy

November was the month to say goodbye to the Kepler Observatory. ‘Oumuamua gets the first of two mentions in November Space Sunday articles, and SpaceX announce BFS testing plans.  ‘Oumuamua gets its second mention for the month, alongside more on exoplanets. NASA’s insight mission arrives on Mars.

December

Second Life

Linden Lab offered their own look at the last 12 months for Second Life. I offered my own look at the key SL updates through the year.

Team Diabetes of Second Life ran their Winter Showcase and RFL of SL their Christmas Expo. Firestorm launched a Pets for New Residents drive. There was some apparently sad news concerning ACS and RFL of SL, which quickly got turned around, together with additional good news. Survivors of Suicide also had a winter market. Harambee Charity Market returned to raise more funds for the IKSDP schools project.

Tech and Viewers

Firestorm 6.0.1 was released as an “early access” update, and Kokua updated.

My Second Life

I celebrated 12 years in Second Life and made some small end-of-year changes to Isla Pey, and to this blog. I also picked up two ‘planes during the month: the CLSA Stampe SV.4 for L$10 (now L$15), and the TBM Kronos V6. I also caught up one vehicle product review, looking at the aR Wild Goose and Piaggio Tracky.

The CLSA Stampe SV.4, one of two ‘planes I found hard to resist
Travel and Art
December Travels December Art Reviews
The Forest – Winter Wonderland Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani and Wintergeist
Mesmeric Cove DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier
Hollyee and Winter Dream Bryn Oh: Jane and Eloise
Bay of Dreams Cica Ghost: Lullaby
Junbug (Monet’s Garden) Ribong Gallery
Wild Edge La Maison d’Aneli Gallery
Nevgilde Paris Metro Art Gallery: Cybele Moon
Zimminyville MC Grafite
[Valium] Nitroglobus Roof Gallery
:nostos:deer: Diotima Art Gallery
Ponto Cabana DiXmiX Gallery: Neveraux

Sansar

Sansar launched on Steam, and was followed with the final release for 2018. I offered some thoughts on Sansar at the year’s end.

Sansar on Steam. Courtesy of Linden Lab

AR and VR

I opened the first part of a series offering a personal look at AR and VR.

Space and Astronomy

NASA’s Mars InSight mission took up a lot of my month, with a look at the lander’s arrival, the opportunity to hear the sound of the Martian wind, and the start of initial operations – a piece which also looked at the latest success for Virgin Galactic. When 2019 being the 50 anniversary of Apollo 11, I recalled the momentous Apollo 8 mission, then looked ahead to New Horizon’s encounter with Ultima Thule.

2018 in review – part 1: January to June

The end of another year is approaching, bringing with it a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to offer a summary of the year as recorded in this blog, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us. And so it is for 2018, starting with January through June.

July to December is available here.

Note that this summary isn’t supposed to document everything that happened through the year, but is intended to be a highlight some of the more notable events reported on through these pages. In addition, and for a more detailed look at the various technical and Lab-driven updates to Second Life, please refer to A look at Second Life updates in 2018.

January

Second Life

I started the year with a look at Tyche Shepherd’s end-of-year Grid Survey report for 2017, which saw the grid contract by 4.0%. R. Crap Mariner joined the blog as a guest writer, with a regular series through the first half of the year covering dance in Second Life.

Tech and Viewers

Catznip was the first major viewer release for 2018, with the arrival of the shopping-focused R12. Firestorm issued version 5.0.11.53634, with lots of content creation goodies. Linden Lab released the 64-bit version of the official viewer, together with an update on plans for Linux. As the Alex Ivy release saw Linux removed as a viewer download option, the Lab re-issued their last stable Linux viewer version

My Second Life

I took to the air in the CLSA Fairey Gannet, a bargain for military flyers at just L$10.  brightened the skies of my Second Life with Stevie Davros’ clouds and skies.

We don’t (yet) have EEP, but Stevie Davros’ Windlight clouds and skies provide a means of being funky in your viewer
Travel and Arts
January Travels January Art Reviews
Brand New Colony (closed) The Listening Room
La Vie (closed) Cica Ghost Bird People
R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. Gem Preiz – Sapiens
Ivy Falls Gallery Cecile
Thor’s Land MetaLES closure
Oh Deer (closed) Dreamer’s Feelings
Neverfar (closed to public access) Bryn Oh: Lady Carmagnolle / 26 Tines
Flying Coyote River MOSP
Les Reves Perdus Nitroglobus: Cold Frog

Sansar

Linden Lab launched the Sansar Top 5, a video review of popular experiences on the platform, and took the platform to the 2018 CES alongside Intel.  With the announcement that 2018 work would start to focus on user acquisition, I had a few thoughts.

Sansar Travel

My visits for the month encompassed Whystler’s The Bridge Room and Whyst Garden; Aech’s Garage; C3rb3rus’s 2077; and Anu’s Copper Valley.

Linden Lab

In something of a shock announcement, the Lab’s Director of Global Communications, Peter Gray, announced he was leaving for pastures new.

Space and Astronomy

I marked the sad occasion of the passing of John Young; looked at the ups and downs of China’s space programme – together with the first of many pieces on exoplanets; examined lunar lava tubes and commercial gamesmanship; and looked towards the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy while also returning to TRAPPIST-1.

February

Second Life

February marked the annual Mole Day event in Bay City, recognising the work of the LPDW – the Linden Department of Public Works, and the annual One Billion Rising event, which I previewed.

Tech and Viewers

Second Life had its first major DDoS attack for 2018 and I reviewed the latest iteration of the 360-snapshot viewer.

Travel and Arts
February Travels February Art Reviews
Cece’s Secret (closed) Club LA and Gallery
Meraki Islands DiXmiX: Titus, Gaus and Burk
Kisaragi Town Kimmy LittleBoots
Kamigami, Pandora Resort (closed) Cica’s 50 Cats
Realm Of Light DaphneArts: Je n’aime pas
Sanctuary Giovanna Cerise – From Worlds to the World
Soul2Soul River / Soul2Soul Bay The Art Garden Gallery
Chamonix City DiXmiX: Melusina Parkin
Cuivieenen
Bay of Dreams
Sansar

The Find and Connect release deployed, focusing on making it easier to find others in Sansar, together with assorted content creation and avatar updates and communication improvements were outlined.

Sansar Travel

I only visited a single experience during February: Eternity by C3rb3rus.

Linden Lab

Bjørn Laurin, formerly the Vice President of Product at Linden Lab, departed the company to join HTC Vive.

High Fidelity

I caught up with HiFi’s commerce plans, including the HFC and wallet,

Space and Astronomy

The hunt for exoplanets took a turn with the first discovery of planets in another galaxy, while it was suggested Russia might enter the space tourism market; the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched while the USA indicated it wants to cease ISS operations at the end of 2025; I caught up with rover operations on Mars then reviewed NASA’s 2019 budget and SpaceX’s attempt to catch part of a Falcon 9 in a giant sea-going net.

Two from one: the moment at which two Falcon 9 cores are about to touch-down at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station following the February 6th, 2018 launch of Falcon Heavy. Credit: SpaceX

Continue reading “2018 in review – part 1: January to June”

2017 in review part 2

The Mill; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrThe Mill, December 2017 – blog post

The end of the year is once more approaching, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to look back over the articles and coverage of the year’s events I’ve managed to write-up, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To keep things digestible, I’ve broken this year’s review into two parts. This one covers July through December. January through June can be found here, and a look at SL’s technical developments through the years is available here.

July

Second Life

The month opened with Jayjay Zifanwe contacting me to give me the (then) exclusive news that UWA’s regions would be remaining in Second Life for a further two years, albeit it on a reduced scale, rather than closing as anticipated. A celebratory Art of the Artists machinina challenge followed the announcement. The lab launched their “Bento equipped” starter avatars, and issued updates to the Terms of Service, while some purchase notifications were also updated. Nicky Perian announced he would be retiring from Kokua development in October 2017 to enjoy a well-earned rest, in the hope that someone else would take up the reins.

Sansar

The end of July saw the Creator Beta launch, with the platform opening to anyone wishing to join. The run-up through the month was marking with an increase in Preview invitations, plus profile videos featuring Ria, Blueberry and London-based Unit 9, all of which I reviewed and added some thoughts around vis Sansar’s reach and marketing. With the Public Beta openI did a quick getting started guide.

VR and AR

CastAR sadly closed and AltspaceVR gave notice they would be closing. On a brighter note, it was revealed how Google had been re-inventing Glass over the last two years.

Space and Astronomy

July 2017 marked 20 years of continuously studying Mars from both the surface of the planet and from orbit, and also marked the anniversary of the first lunar landing. Remarkable images of Betelgeuse were revealed, and further traction was gained for NASA’s Deep Space Gateway while Elon Musk walked back some expectations around the first flight of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

Voyager mission: 40 years on. Credit: NASA/JPL

Personal

Wouldn’t you just know it – I revised the island home again!

Travel and Arts

July Travels July Art Reviews
Stony Hill Vineyard Artful Expressions: Cecilia Mode, Lawrence Pryce, Rosy Hanry Jarom
Gale Storm Retreat Wintergeist: Pieces of a Whole
Collins Land Solo Arte: Terrygold’s Reflected on Black
Ash Falls Karma Avedon: One Tree Hill
Welcome to Somewhere Commonwealth Village: Inara Pey
Follow Your Bliss Commune Utopia: Cybele Moon
Solo Arte: Boudicca Amat and Inara Pey
MetaLES: Harbor Galaxy
Serena Arts: aldiladeisogni – Picture of Oh
Bailywick Gallery: August 2017

August

Second Life

It’s a quiet month for me, reporting-wise, the focus being on my weekly series of SL user group meeting reports, although Bay City does announce the 2017 Hot City Nights event, which takes place towards the end of the month.

Sansar

With the Public Beta open, I offer some initial hints’n’tips and suggestions of places to visit, following by a more detailed look at the Runtime Desktop Mode. I also look at what the media is saying, and offer my own thoughts on the opening.  Three visits to Sansar experiences launch my Exploring Sansar series, while also taking a look at some of the Creator Challenge winners before starting my series of reports on Sansar Product Meetings.  Keeping with the spirit of competitions, the Lab co-sponsors an avatar design competition, and Bjorn and Widely Linden discuss the new platform (with audio), while there’s a further official Creator Profile video.

Secrets of the World Whale; Inara Pey, August 2017, on Flickr Sansar: Secrets of the World Whaleblog post

VR and AR

AltspaceVR announces a reprieve from closure may be in the wind, and there’s a look at VR and AR in the wake of Sansar’s public Creator Beta while High Fidelity reveals currency and IP protection plans.

Space and Astronomy

There’s another anniversary to be celebrated – this one marking 40 years of the Voyager mission. Curiosity celebrates five years of Mars surface operations, and exoplanets once more step into the spotlight, while the 2017 total solar eclipse is tracked across America.

Travel and Arts

August SL Travels August SL Art Reviews August Sansar
Banana Bay Battle of the Little Liars Seven Wonders
Wimberly (2) Cica Ghost: Future LOOT Interactive
Yasminia Dathúil: Welcome to My Brain Secrets of the World Whale
Cocoon Split Screen: Creator Challenge winners
Fine Art Gallery and Jungle No Life Without Art
Yamagata Club LA and Gallery: Burke Bode and Twain Orfan
Les Reves Perdus  Anibrm Jung – Art by Nature
Long Journey Kultivate’s Black and White
De*cid*u*ous Nitroglobus: Marie (mariajo60)
Cica Ghost: Fairy Tale

Continue reading “2017 in review part 2”

2017 in review – part 1

It's A New Dawn, Lemon Beach; Inara Pey, January 2017, on FlickrIt’s A New Dawn, Lemon Beach – our first 2017 Exploring Second Life destination

The end of the year is once more approaching, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to look back over the articles and coverage of the year’s events I’ve managed to write-up, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To keep things digestible, I’ve broken this year’s review into two parts. This one covers January through June, and July to December will be along later in the week, and I have a review Second Life’s technical enhancements through 2017 available here.

January

Second Life

The year started with a look at Tyche Shepherd’s 2016 end-of-year grid survey summary. This was followed by a behind-the-scenes look at the Bento project, with an article linked to a piece written for Kultivate Magazine. The Horizons project land sale reached its mid-point, and I offered a summary of sales to date. The Second Life Place Pages beta launched,  while there was the usual weekly SL Project Updates from assorted meetings and Spoonful of Sugar announced their 2017 fund-raiser for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders. January also saw me note the fact that the Lab would, through 2017, be requiring people to verify their e-mail addresses if they wanted to keep receiving SL-related e-mails and things like off-line IMs being forwards to their e-mail.

Sansar

Sansar opened the year with a Creator Profile video featuring Loz Hyde, on which I offered some thoughts, in general and concerning monetisation. The latter also came in for a little thought when I considered Ben Lang’s piece on Sansar for Road to VR.

Space and Astronomy

I kicked-off my Space Sunday reports with a look at the key events for 2017. January then became a period of remembrance and recalling great missions – including the Huygens Lander, marking the passing of Gene Cernan, the last Apollo astronaut to walk on the Moon, and marking both NASA’s Day of Remembrance and Opportunity’s 13th anniversary.

Artist's concept of Cassini's final orbits between the innermost rings and Saturn's cloud tops (see below). Credit: NASA
2017 would mark NASA / ESAs Cassini Mission’s Grand Finale, repeatedly diving between the innermost rings and Saturn’s cloud tops before finally burning up in the planet’s upper atmosphere in September. Credit: NASA

Personal

I started on the first of my fiddling around with the island home sessions for 2017.

Travel and Arts

January Travels January Art Reviews
A New Dawn The art of Grazietta Blauvelt in Second Life
Flotsam and Blake Deeps Lucid Dreams with Miles Cantelou in Second Life
Nagare no Shimajima Gallery 23 in Second Life
The Sagan Planetarium Dathúil: visions of desire
ragVR: imagination and expression The Forest Beyond- Ceakay Ballyhoo
Hell’s Heaven No Frontiers – Gem Preiz
An Uncertain Destiny DiXmiX: Mistero Hifeng and William Weaver
Once Upon a Fairy Tale Cica Ghost: Burning
Devin DaphneArts: Celebrating Poe
Whimberly MetaLES; Illogism
Sol Farm Elo (Elorac Paule): Ray of Light
Elin Egoyan: Lide is a Journey
The Edge Gallery: February 2017
Venus Adored: Light Reflections

February

Second Life

Linden Lab spoke out against Donald Trump’s Executive Orders on US immigration. A new maintenance viewer with inventory management improvements surfaced. One Billion Rising put out a late call for volunteers, with the event taking place mid-month; the organisers of the 2017 Virtual Worlds Best Practice in Education also put out a call for volunteers. The Founder of the East River Community, Indigo Mertel, put out a plea for help to secure the community’s future. Michael Linden of LDPW fame, departed the Lab.

Hobbiton, Dragon Island; Inara Pey, February 2017, on FlickrHobbiton – a visit for February 2017

The second round of Skill Gaming applications, launched in January (but which I previewed in December 2016), closed after a run of a month. The Lab offered their traditional Valentine’s Day celebration, and I gave a final round-up of the Horizons land auctions. There was the announcement of a new Community Platform for Second Life, which took a little longer than planned to get up-and-running, and MadPea held an International Food Fair to raise money for Feed A Smile / Live and Learn Kenya. The final UWA art show – Transformations launched with a call for entries, and also among the event announcement / calls came the first for SL14B – which was directed towards infrastructure builders.

February also saw ALS Awareness Week take place, and an appeal went out on behalf of Ceredwin’s Cauldron creator Elicio Ember, who faced a severe family set-back, and the RFL Home and Garden Expo was announced.

Space and Astronomy

The focus for the month was very much on the discovery of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a red dwarf star 39 light years away, which I covered in two posts here and here.

Personal

February saw Holly Kai Park overhauled  – notably around Caitinara Bar, which reopened in time for a celebration of the Oscars. The Park’s Pavilion also played host to an event in support for Feed A Smile. In addition, Caitlyn and I also returns to the greens and golfing.

Travel and Arts

February Travels February Art Reviews
Natural Falls Hills (Hillany Scofield): The Recreation
Anduril Artful Expressions: Blip and Nekonuko
NonStop DiXmiX: Angie Manners
Hobbiton Cica Ghost: Frogs
Lost World MetaLES: The Haul
Shot of Tequila Astral Dreams: Mistero Hifeng
Shareta Osumai Tea Garden Solo Arte: CioTToLiNa Zue
History of the Telephone The Gardens by the Bay
AERO Golf Club The Photo Game
Molly Mirassou: Studio M
Nightroglobus: Monique Beebe
InterstellART: Fossil Fractals
Methias Kira: The Architect’s Playground
Venus Adored: Light Reflections

March

Second Life

The VWBPE social calendar was announced together with the Above the Book series, new for 2017. The event itself kicked-off at the end of at the month. I was honoured to be able to announce Filling the Cauldron in aid of Elicio Ember and his family, and the 2017 RFL kick-off weekend took place. The Lab revamped the Second Life Home Page and the 2017 Fantasy Faire regions were announced, and blogger applications opened. The new SL community platform launched, and with the help of Tommy and Corky Linden, I looked at raising abuse reports. The 2017 Sci-Fi convention beamed-in to SL, while SL’s monthly process credit limits were revised. With changes being made to SL’s asset fetching, I took time to look back over the HTTP project and SL’s use of CDNs.

2017 SL Science Fiction Convention -“Water”

Space and Astronomy

March saw Elon Musk announce his lunar ambitions, I looked at options for exploring the icy worlds of the solar system, and the question of when is a planet not a planet – and how many might be in the solar system before catching up with Mars news.

VR / AR

I offered a quick catch-up on highlights from the worlds of VR and AR.

Personal

I became enamoured of the composite designs by Morgan Sim Designs, some of which found their way onto the island home (and can still be found there). I also revamped the Holly Kai Park website.

Travel and Arts

March Travels March Art Reviews
Long Journey Cica Ghost: Under the Sea
Calas Skate-on-rama Artful Expressions: Maxie and Cyoko
NorderNey Dathúil: Private Sphere
Spring Spirit Whitechapel Victorian London
Field of Dreams / L’Intangible Split Screen: Bleeding Books
The Heart of the Sea DaphneArts: The Journey
Storybrooke Gardens MetaLES: Wild Lost Line
PeTOu Art Is… Rhythm
Orcadi Island The Photo Game 2
 Mystical Fae Forest Journey of Life
Second Life 2009-2017
The Way I Feel
Methias Kira: The Architect’s Playground

Continue reading “2017 in review – part 1”

2016: a look back at Second Life and more – part 2

A look back through this blog's 2016 coverage
A look back through this blog’s 2016 coverage

The end of the year is once more approaching, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to look back over the articles and coverage of the year’s events I’ve managed to write-up, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To keep things digestible, I’ve broken this year’s review into two parts. This one covers July to December. You can find January to June here.

July

Holy Kai Park got a complete make-over during July and August
Holy Kai Park got a complete makeover

Linden Lab released an update to the Oculus Rift project viewer. A I subsequently reported (see the article updates), people found it suffered significant issues, and appeared to be a step backwards.  The JIRA raised for the viewer quickly grew. With a week, the Lab announced they were suspending work on Oculus Rift support in the viewer.  CTRL-ALT-Studio offered to bridge the gap, but only on an interim basis.

Caledonia presented the penultimate part of her series on promoting Second Life events, and Draxtor delved into games in Second Life, through the work of Sergio Delacruz. Meanwhile, I received an invitation to find out more about the Helping Haven Community Gateway, before beaming aboard an avatar-sized replica of the original Starship Enterprise, courtesy of Cathy Foil.

Lumiya 3.0 arrived, with a host of goodies, including a new user interface. Rock Your Rack in support of the US National Breast Cancer Foundation was announced, as was the second fund-raising season for Team Diabetes of SL, while the 5th annual Shivers Unleashed music festival took place. The big news for the month, events-wise, was that PULSE SL, in support of the victims and families of those lost in the Orlando nightclub shooting had raised a staggering L$5.5 million.

Sansar

Ed Baig from USA Today presented a video spot about project Sansar. A little later, and as I reported, he later gave a matching write-up on the platform. Latter in the month, I looked at articles on Sansar from THE and Techcrunch.

Personal

I completed a full redesign of Holly Kai Park, which included the Tiered Garden Wall product by Alex Bader, which was also put to use at home. I finally caught the stunning and award-winning animation The Tyger, by Radheya Jegatheva, son of SL’s own Jayay Zifanwe, on YouTube.

August Travels August Art Reviews
Hide and Seek in Second Life Cica’s Them in Second Life
The Rains of Castamere  in Second Life Bailywick Gallery: images by the sea in Second Life
Mystical Eclectica in Second Life Behind the Curtain in Second Life
Getting prehistoric in Second Life Kultivate summer art show in Second Life
Nouvelles Adventures in Second Life Storm Septimus: Invictus in Second Life
A pocket planetarium in Second Life I New Fractal Insanity in Second Life
West of the Rain in Second Life Wildstar Beaumont’s Sailing in Second Life
Binemust in Second Life Rain songs and cipherscapes in Second Life
Byrd Island in Second Life A visit to Cica’s Library in Second Life
A Chinese Garden in Second Life Immaculate perceptions and reflections in Second Life
 Arranmore in Second Life Peace is a Choice: expressions of art in Second Life
 Astralia in Second Life
 Visiting Crystal Gardens in Second Life

August

Windlight announced a re-branding to Kultivate, and the Lab blogged about recent SL updates and I added some additional info and links to more in-depth coverage in this blog, which included a look at the new Gaming Islands, designed to introduce users to Skill Gaming in SL.

Firestorm updated with Jelly Dolls (or Avatar Complexity to give the formal name for the capability), and I revisited Hitomi Tiponi’s work producing the Starlight UI Skins and goodies for the official viewer from the Lab. The latter announced the new Marketplace search, so long in beta, was finally live. I also picked up on Strawberry Singh’s request to highlight the issue of SL Marketplace full permissions goods scams.

Thanks to bots discovering it, the SL wiki went into lock-down for the second time in recent years, and while the Lab indicated they hoped to have things sorted “soon”, it remains locked as we reach the end of the year. More woes hit SL in August, and April Linden explained why.

Sansar

I produced the second in my Sansar Summaries, rounding-up all the news and information on the platform I’d been able to cull from the Lab, the media and other sources. August saw the Lab announce the first batch of Sansar Creator Preview invitations had been issued. However, what interested me more was the announcement indicated that “Sansar” was now officially the platform’s title – the “project” having been dropped.

July Travels July Art Reviews
A walk through Legacy Ridge in Second Life Mac Kanashimi’s Snarl in Second Life
All the fun of the fair in Second Life Inked art and bodies in Second Life
When Pink Floyd eats your sim in Second Life All_Most Real in Second Life
Bridgewood Barrow: a cosy corner of Second Life Beautiful Bizarre: art and emotions in Second Life
Exploring Hermoupolis Village in Second Life Art, women and war in Second Life
A return to Hestium in Second Life Giovanna’s Last Harbour in Second Life
Of time in Elysium City in Second Life Creative Inhalations in Second Life
A Beautiful Four Seasons in Second Life The Vordun: a new art experience in Second Life
Preiddeu Asswn: immersive education in Second Life Mandala Art in Second Life
The Magnificent Artistry of Peter Vos in Second Life
Giovanna’s Soul of Colours: a Magic Flute in Second Life
A Watercolour Wander in Second Life
Cotswold Gallery in Second Life

Continue reading “2016: a look back at Second Life and more – part 2”

2016: a look back at Second Life and more – part 1

A look back through this blog's 2016 coverage
A look back through this blog’s 2016 coverage

The end of the year is once more approaching, which is often a time of reflection as we look back over the old before pausing to await the arrival of the new. It’s become something of a tradition in these pages for me to look back over the the articles and coverage of the year’s events I’ve managed to write-up, and offer a chance to revisit the ups and downs and the good and the bad the last twelve months have brought us.

To keep things digestible, I’ve broken this year’s review into two parts. This one covers January through June, and July to December can be found here.

January

Telrunya - Forest of Dreams; Inara Pey, January 2016, on Flickr Telrunya – Forest of Dreams – one of my first region visits for the 2016 Exploring Second Life series

The year started with a photo contest from Kultivate Magazine and a celebration of the 100th episode of the Drax Files Radio Hour (if you include the re-runs!), which included a chat with Oz and Troy Linden about the (then) still in development Project Bento. When Things Went Wrong with the grid rather badly over a weekend, April Linden gave an excellent a blog post explaining what had happened and why, which as I noted, marked a welcome continuance of communications on matters like this from the Lab.

Second Life’s first press appearance for the year came via an article on published UCI News, the on-line newsletter of the University of California, Irvine, which explored the work of Tom Boellstorff, a professor of anthropology at the university. The article particular examined Tom’s work in SL around Parkinson’s Disease.

In mid-January, VWBPE 2016 put out a call for papers, while I recalled a Starry Night in Second Life. Then, in the latter half of the month, Lab Chat returned with Ebbe Altberg taking questions on the Lab, Second Life and Sansar, and I provided the transcript and audio.

January also saw Caledonia Skytower joined me as a Guest Writer, with the first of her hugely popular series, If you just build it, they might not come, on promoting events in Second Life. The first month of the year also saw the Linden Department of Public Works Moles honoured in Bay City.

Sansar

I offered some thoughts on Wearable’s coverage of Sansar, and the platform also formed a focus of the 2nd Lab Chat event (see the link above).

Other Worlds and AR/VR/MR

Stephen Wolfram became the latest high-profile person to join High Fidelity’s advisory board, while the Oculus Rift VR headset became available for pre-order, with a price which shocked a lot of people, prompting me to ask, At what price VR? Then HTC announced upcoming Vive pre-ordering whilst responding to talk of a split within the company.

Personal

I was delighted to be invited to exhibit at the Art on Roofs Gallery, Second Life (see Through a Blogger’s Eyes in the January Art Reviews, below. I also made the acquaintance of artist Silas Merlin, courtesy of Kayly Iali (see The pastel world of Silas Merlin in Second Life, below), which I’m happy to say grew into a friendship. Timekiller was the fist major event of 2016 I managed to get along to, and emboldened by recent exhibitions I opened a small studio gallery.

January Travels January Art Reviews
A journey through Nightfall Images and sculptures at The Living Room
Let it Snow! Through a Blogger’s Eyes in Second Life
Discovering The Keys in Second Life Windlight Fellows January-February 2016
A dreamer’s forest in Second Life The pastel world of Silas Merlin in Second Life
A medieval meander in Second Life Bananas, trumpets, trailblazers and cacti
Stepping through the Gates of Memories in Second Life Cica’s Beginners in Second Life
Return to an enchanted Cauldron in Second Life Dutch Masters at Holly Kai Garden
High Water in Second Life Seanchai Library’s Crazy Eights in Second Life

February

The cost of experience ownership in Sansar still has yet to be determined, and will be influenced by other factors - and may be pitched on an "experimental" based when initially announced
New images of Sansar made their debut in February 2016

The 2016 events season started to ramp up in February. The 2016 RFL of SL team registrations opened, and the Home and Garden Expo took place later in the month, followed by Paint it Purple at the end of February. One Billion Rising put out a call for volunteers ahead of the February 14th event; BURN2 Burnal Equinox was announced; the Lab, with Isle of Love supported Team Fox and Parkinson’s research with their Valentines event; the ALS Awareness week took place; the VWBPE 2016 schedule was published.

Elsewhere in Second Life, Calas Galadhon re-opened (see the link below), and both Catznip and Achemy viewers updated, the former after a long break. the platform suffered more operational woes, with April Linden once again providing an explanation.  Draxtor Despres gave insight into Project Bento via a World Makers special, and I was able to provide some additional material. Thing got a little tense mid-month with a sudden slew of bannings, many of which were subsequently reversed, although one creator made an urgent plea and the whole situation left me wondering if someone had been a little too eager with the ban hammer.

Cale continued her series on events promotion in Second Life, with parts two and three, and an address by the Dalai Lama to the Mayo Clinic was relayed into Second Life.

Sansar

Further images of Sansar were released, prompting further debate, while comments at the January Lab chat left me pondering on maps and metaphors, to the consternation of some!

Other Worlds

High Fidelity played with 200 avatars in a single location, looked at a commerce project and got into scanning faces. Amazon launched Lumberyard for games developers.

Personal

Caitlyn and I opened Caitinara Bar at Holly Kai Park to help encourage traffic and visitors to the park’s facilities. Anthony Westburn became our headline DJ on Wednesdays, followed by Joy Canadeo on Fridays and (through until late summer) Kess Crystal on Sundays. I also launched into the first phase of 2016’s “lets rebuild the island…again.”

February Travels February Art Reviews
Calas Galadhon re-opens Thea and CioTToLiNa at The Living Room
Experience the Adirondacks in Second Life Terrygold’s Visions in Second Life
Visiting The Village in Second Life Exploring the City in Second Life
Sorrow’s Snow in Second Life Getting some Funky Junk  in Second Life
The Yorkshire Moors in Second Life Within the Shadows of a Dream  in Second Life
Casablanca: a classic movie in Second Life Holly Kai Art at the Park February / March
Free-form role-play in Second Life Wounded Angels in Second Life
 Spellbound by Imesha in Second Life TerpsiCorps ARTWerks; Performance Art in Second Life

Continue reading “2016: a look back at Second Life and more – part 1”