LL say, “celebrate SL10B and win a laptop (but only if you’re a US resident)”

SL10BThe Lab has launched the latest step in their campaign to celebrate SL’s tenth anniversary – and it is an offer certain to delight and frustrate.

“Celebrate SL10B With a Chance to Win a New Alienware 14 Laptop!” reads the headline of a new blog post, which goes on to read in part:

To help celebrate Second Life’s tenth birthday, we’re running a co-promotion with Alienware , the pioneer in specialty high-performance PC gaming systems!

From now until July 17, 2013, Second Life users can enter to win a brand new Alienware 14 laptop! For contest details and to enter today, visit here.

The Alienware 14 has some impressive specs: Intel i7QM processor, 8 or 16Gb of memory, either an NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 750M with 1GB GDDR5 or NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M with 2GB GDDR5, Windows 7 or 8 64-bit, etc. Exactly which model is up for grabs as a prize is unclear from the promotion, but I’d suspect the entry-level model might be a safe bet.

alienware

HOWEVER, before you start rubbing your hands in glee at the prospect of winning a new laptop, be advised that if you’re outside the US, you’re stuffed. You’re not eligible to enter.

There are potentially some very good reasons why the offer is limited to US residents only. For one thing, running a truly international competition with such an attractive prize with a third-party is going to be something of a logistical load to carry, even allowing for any legal / technical issues involved. It’s also likely that Alienware / Dell themselves limited the scope of the competition so that they are not hit with and headache in running it (and lets face it, “country specific” competitions aren’t actually that unusual for multi-nationals to run). But, the fact remains that in going this route, rather than attempting to develop a competition which is inclusive of all their users, the Lab is again going to be perceived as thumbing its nose at its overseas users.

Even so, the fact remains that, with the number of recent “US-only” promotions the Lab has run in recent months (and remembering that ant “US-only” limitations placed on them may not be LL’s fault, but rather stipulations placed on the offers due to technical or other reasons), it would be nice to see if the Lab could come up with opportunities to win “valuable” prizes and participate promotional offers which are both reflective of and inclusive of their international user base.

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Linden Lab issue press release celebrating 10 years of SL

LL logoThursday June 20th. Linden Lab has issued a press release ahead of the official 10th Anniversary of Second Life (June 23rd, 2013).

The press release, which is accompanied by a large-format infographic, opens:

Since Second Life first opened to the public in 2003, users have spent the equivalent of more than 217,266 years in the virtual world, which has seen nearly 36 million registrations to date. To mark the tenth anniversary, Linden Lab has published an infographic highlighting these and other facts about Second Life’s history and the current state of the virtual world which is available here: http://lindenlab.com/releases/infographic-10-years-of-second-life. [see below]

Throughout the month of June, Linden Lab has been celebrating Second Life’s tenth ‘birthday’ (SL10B) with special surprises for the virtual world’s users, including limited-edition virtual gifts, contests, and inworld activities. Second Life users are also organizing a number of special events themselves, including a community celebration featuring art exhibitions, parties, and more. Users are urged to keep an eye on the official Second Life blog and the SL10B category of the Destination Guide, which highlights more than 2,400 locations and events in total for Second Life users to explore.

The piece goes on to include a quote from Rod Humble and to highlight the fact that he recently appeared on Draxtor Despres’ The Drax Files, complete with a link to the episode.

The infographic highlights some of the significant “high level” numbers relating to the platform’s first decade of use, which should hopefully make eyebrow-raising reading for the uninitiated among the press and (one would hope) those who have long since considered Second Life to have either “failed” or “dead”.

SL10B_Infographic

For those of us who use Second Life daily, some of the figure may appear to be light on substance (how many of the 400,000 monthly sign-ups are new users who become retained users, for example/). Given this, it is likely that some / all of the figures will be questioned, mulled-over, debated and questioned by users – and rightly so.

However as a tool for reaching out to the press at large and reminding them that Second Life is very much at the centre of the Lab’s thinking and is still alive, kicking and vibrant (why else would we all be here otherwise?), the infographic will hopefully act as a firm dig-in-the-ribs for those in the media who are otherwise quick to dismiss the platform as being little more than history long past.

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With thanks to Pete Linden, Linden Lab.

SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Thursday 20th June

SL10BCC is well underway, with lots to see and do. Given the size of the event, trying to review everything on offer simply isn’t feasible, and some hardware issues at my end mean that I’m not in a position to do the kind of “region round-ups” I did last year.

So instead, I’m offering some personal picks from what’s on display by way of suggestions as possible stop-off points in your explorations.

Main Installations – The Lake Stage

The Lake Stage
The Lake Stage

Kazuhiro Aridian’s mesh creation for the Lake stage has to be seen to be appreciated. A work of art unto itself, it’s a fabulous build; one which reminds me, probably due to the mushroom stage and spreading canopies of leaves above, of the equally remarkable Lake Stage from SL9B in 2012. In some respects I don’t think this is entirely coincidental – Kaz Aridian was responsible for the SL9B Lake Stage as well. So, if the echoes are intentional (and not a product of my dotty little mind), I’d say it’s a very subtle and creative way of reflecting the “looking back” part of this year’s theme.

The Lake Stage
The Lake Stage

And even if the similarity is down to my imagination working overtime, no matter. This is not one to be missed, so make sure you do stop-off on your rounds and take a good look – it’s well worth the time.

Boudicca Amat – Thank you Second Life

We all have a story to tell about our life and times in Second Life – what brought us here, what we discovered, the friends we made, the discoveries shared, why we keep logging back in (some of us daily!), and so on.

Thank You Second Life
Thank You Second Life

In this piece, Boudicca Amat tells her own story – and in doing so, looks back over SL’s past in a very personal way. It’s an intimate piece, presented in a very simple format which is perfectly suited to what she has to say and present. Work your way around the framed texts downstairs and upstairs, interspersed with pictures and some wonderful models and follow Boudica on her voyage of discovery and involvement in SL creativity and business. Her tale will be familiar to many who have been in-world for any length of time, which only increases the intimacy of her sharing it.

Serafin Galli – Safe Waters Foundation

I actually included Serafin Galli’s Safe Waters Foundation in my coverage of SL9B in 2012. Her piece then made full use of the space available both above and below the water to provide a lovely exhibit piece which admirably promoted her merfolk community without simply being a blatant ad.

Safe Waters Foundation
Safe Waters Foundation

She’s done the same this year as well. What’s more, she’s done so in a fresh and inviting way – which is why I point to her piece as worth visiting. Serafin demonstrates that with 12 months in which to plan and build, it is possible to avoid pulling out the same pieces over again, complete with the same message, and come up with something original which is going to appeal to visitors old and new.

Just don’t forget to dive in and take a look underwater as well!

Continue reading “SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Thursday 20th June”

SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Wednesday 19th June

SL10BCC is well underway, with lots to see and do. Given the size of the event, trying to review everything on offer simply isn’t feasible, and some hardware issues at my end mean that I’m not in a position to do the kind of “region round-ups” I did last year.

So instead, I’m offering some personal picks from what’s on display by way of suggestions as possible stop-off points in your explorations.

Botgirl Questi and Whiskey Monday – Single Frame Stories

Around a year ago, Botgirl Questi and Whiskey Monday started a collaboration, “Single Frame Stories”. As a weekly challenge, participants are given a word or prompt and asked to submit a single image with an optional text element of up to 140 characters, which acts as a narrative to the themed word / phrase. The image can be a photo, screen shot, drawing or painting and the text either integrated into the image or form a caption or title.

Single Frame Stories
Single Frame Stories at SL10BCC

For SL10B, participants were asked to submit single frame stories on creativity, community and identity in Second Life. This exhibit showcases those entries, and does so simply and stylishly in a way with amplifies the maxim, “less is more” and which presents  a thought-provoking and a powerful demonstration of the creative talent flowing through Second Life.

A Single Frame Story on the theme of “Creativity” by Meandra from the SFS exhibit and website

Commenting on the exhibit, Botgirl and Whiskey state, “This SL10B exhibit is a natural extension of the weekly challenge. It takes the project full circle, from Second Life to the Web and back again.”

Bear Silvershade – Journey

Staying with art and photography, my next choice for today is Journey, an exhibition of Bear Silvershade’s SL photography covering his work from his first arrival in SL through to the present day.

A photojournalist in RL, Bear has developed a very distinctive and eye-catching style over the years, which at present is represented primarily through his monochrome series, Journey of the Lonely Man which presents places and scenes in Second Life in black-and-white and in a manner which strongly emphasises the “film noir” aesthetic.

A black and white homage to Bear Silvershade's Journey exhibit at SL10BCC seemed appropriate...
A black and white homage to Bear Silvershade’s Journey exhibit at SL10BCC seemed appropriate…

I admit to being an unabashed fan of Bear’s work, although I envy him coming up with the black-and-white approach to documenting SL in an ongoing series, having just dabbled a finger into such waters (and while not in any way comparing myself to his level of artistry) I find it presents a fascinating way to showcase SL in a very understated way.  His gallery at SL10BCC is also beautifully understated, offering a clean, minimalistic approach which focuses the eye and the mind on the work it presents.

If SL photography is your thing, and you’ve not seen Bear’s work before, this one is highly recommended. And whether you already enjoy Bear’s work or are new to is, be sure to pop over to Mesmerize and see the work of his partner, Derry McMahon, who has recently entered the world of SL photography, and is already making a name for herself – deservedly so.

Continue reading “SL10BCC: My picks of the day – Wednesday 19th June”

SL10BBCC: My picks of the day – Tuesday 18th

SL10BCC is well underway, with lots to see and do. Given the size of the event, trying to review everything on offer simply isn’t feasible, and some hardware issues at my end mean that I’m not in a position to do the kind of “region round-ups” I did last year.

So instead, I’m going to offer some personal picks from what’s on display by way of suggestions as possible stop-off points in your explorations.

Main Installations – A’stra Stage

Also referred to as the main stage or live stage, A’stra is the astonishing and brilliant set-piece by Grendel’s Toady Nakamura and Flea Bussy. And while it may seem like I’ve flogged it to death in these pages already (or that I’m possibly on Grendel’s payroll!), the fact of the matter is that A’stra is thoroughly deserving of attention – and careful exploration!

A'stra (live) stage detail
A’stra (live) stage detail

There really is a lot to see here. Some of it touches on whimsy, some of it is intended to raise a smile, some of it touches on th history of Second Life – and all of it comes together in the most marvellous way as one of the most outstanding builds I’ve seen in SL. A’stra is not just a place where you can enjoy music through the week – it’s a place to be savoured.

Just be warned – once you do start exploring, around, over and inside A’stra, you’re liable to keeping coming back to to see what else you can find! I confess, I’ve yet to discover the UFO …

"The artist"
“The artist” and thr A’stra (live) stage

Gwark Allen – Space and Time Telescope

I’m not a fan of huge towers at events and exhibitions in-world. Having too-high a build height tends to encourage what seems to be a “war of the towers” – who can go the highest in order to dominate the skyline, which tends to leave me going “ugh!” rather a lot and wishing organisers would say, “Sorry, nothing over 25 metres”.

However, every so often in wandering something like SL10BCC, you come across something which proves to be the exception and which clearly demonstrates that building up can be done with style, grace and meaning – and which offers a fascinating take on the theme of “Looking Back”. Gwark Allen’s Space and Time Telescope does both absolutely perfectly.

The Space and Time Telescope at SL10BCC
The Space and Time Telescope at SL10BCC

Resembling Seattle’s Space Needle (to my eyes at least), the Space Time Telescope soars majestically overhead, an elegant tower topped by a golden telescope. The elevator is admittedly a bit of a bumpy ride (hardly surprising, given all that is going on), and will take you to an observation platform where you can look out over the vast expanse of SL10BCC (or at least as far as your graphics card will let you before it starts whimpering…), and sit and chat with friends away from the hue and cry below. Or you can ride to the great telescope itself, sit in the comfy chair (yes! the Comfy Chair!), go to Mouselook and look back through time and space to previous SL birthdays.

Sp
Space and Time Telescope

I really like this build as the imagery involved is very clever as well as very eye-catching. As astronomers know only too well, the best way to get a really clear view of the cosmos is to get as far above as much of the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere as possible – hence the graceful tower. Then, as astronomers also know, to look through a telescope is also to look back in time – the light of the starts they see commenced its journey millions of years ago; so a telescope is a very apt device with which to look back on past SL birthdays…

Continue reading “SL10BBCC: My picks of the day – Tuesday 18th”

LL offer further SL10B gifts – this time in-world

SL10BLinden Lab have offered-up further gifts with which to celebrate SLs tenth birthday – only these are both numbers and time-limited, and only available in-world.

The first items are mesh varsity jackets in the SL colours and bearing the 10th anniversary logo on the front and the Lab’s logo on the left sleeve. These come in male and female styles and a range of sizes (items are no modify / no transfer) and with an Alpha layer base. Also on offer is an “SL10B teddy male” – actually two bears (father and son?) the smaller sitting on the larger one’s head.

The jackets and bears are limited to 1 per avatar, and only available until 23:59:00 SLT on Monday June 17th.

Limited offer SL10B varisty-style jacket available in-world
Limited offer SL10B varisty-style jacket available in-world

To get yours, visit the SL10B gift vendor in-world at SL10BCC (there are others scattered around the regions). If gifts are your thing, keep your eye on the vendor for future offerings…