Friday, August 29, 2014
Due to questions about the accuracy of the information of the person interviewed, this article has been taken down until further notice.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Ice Bucket Challenge" has been going on in real life. In this unusual fundraiser for ALS (Lou Gerigh's Disease), people record themselves announcing they're taking up the challenge and nominate three others to either take it or donate an amount to ALS research, then dump a bucket of ice water on top of their heads. Started on television, it soon went to social media and quickly went viral, inspiring a long list of personalities from politicians to businessmen to musicians and more to record themselves getting the cold water treatment. The event is not without it's critics, calling it gimmicky or a frivolous use of water. But the result has been the ALS Association receiving much more in donations.
It was just a matter of time before the Ice Bucket Challenge came to Second Life. One place where one can take it is the SL Wrestling Community Building in the Alpha Centauri sim. Dropping by on Saturday August 23, Lilian Bombastic (lilian.stoneshield) was there, telling me, "you need to get the bucket near the sign but to be recorded we need to have out staff with the programs here to do it." A few moments later, Curt Bombastic appeared, "Hi Bixyl. Good to see you Again. Welcome to the SL Wrestling Community HQ."
"So the Ice Bucket Challenge has come to Second Life?" I asked. Curt answered, "Yep. Debora Stine Creator of MUSCHI Fashions Created The Bucket and was good enough to put one here at the HQ. So far we've had people from all over come by, from the wrestling community, to the roleplay community, even members of the CFL."
I mentioned the video by Tahisha Fairplay that I found (and would go up on the Newser the following day). Curt laughed, "Oh yes, I recall her. I thought that was cool and she had fun with hers. (laughter) We also added the 'I'm Freezing' animation that people can grab after they ice themselves. But all proceeds go directly to www.alsa.org, so it's been pretty good."
I then asked Curt about any jokes about the event. He answered, "Oh there's been a few ... One person will be coming by later and putting on FRAZZLED hair after she ice's herself. One did it from the Titanic and got thrown into the water. Horses Morriesy instead of getting iced punt-kicked her mascot teddy bear into the sea. There's been some creative ones. As a community, we challenged the CFL Community and so far they've seem to respond in kind .... Its been fun so far."
"This has taken a life of its own. But the SL Wrestling community, oh hell, the SL community in general has really come out for this, so I think that its great. Next Month there are plans to host an ALS Charity Wrestling Event, maybe at APW Arena, or maybe here, still up for debate ... but it'll be a multi fed joint Super Event for ALS."
I asked Curt how fast word seemed to be getting around. He answered, "Definitely. We've had people from the CFL, roleplaying communities, club goers, I saw a Linden here earlier as well ... Word is getting out there."
"Oh? Which Linden was this?" I asked.
"I don't know," Curt answered, "(I saw him) as I was logging out but the dot on the mini map was blue, so I knew it was a Linden. I never caught the name. I've been trying to find out."
Curt then turned his attention to a lady who has written about wrestling a number of times, " By the way, tell Charlotte I'd LOVE to see her come on down and give the Ice Bucket Challenge a try too. She's MORE than welcome." He then laughed out loud, " ... The more the merrier I say. I recently challenged Zarrakan Productions as well. She has an office set up here. And I'd LOVE to see how Camera Kitty (as we call her) responds (laughter) ..... I challenged her last night at a VWE wrestling show ... so we'll see how she does this," he laughed again, "No doubt it'll be pretty good."
"But yeah, this has been a lot of fun so far. We've been advertising outside of the Wrestling community and lots of people have shown up and tried or grabbed the bucket and donated which is GREAT. We Just opened the SL Pro Wrestling Community Headquarters two weeks ago, which I find is a great place here .... a place where we can promote the ENTIRE community to ALL of SL .... and this just helps I admit."
"It certainly draws attention," I commented,
Curt continued, "But its GREAT that the community has come together For a GREAT cause and its been a LOT of fun to do as well."
"Anything else you want to mention about the challenge?" I asked.
Curt thought for a moment, "Ummm ... other than we challenge the SL community to come on down, take the challenge. You can contact Lyra Phoenix on our staff board out front to get it recorded and donate. Let's spread awareness of this and hopefully find a cure for ALS."
Curt told me he might have some more information on the charity event soon. He then told me he had to go, and we told each other goodbye and we went our separate ways.
One can find the SL Wrestling Ice Bucket Challenge at Alpha Centauri (164/173/28).
Thursday, August 21, 2014
By Wesley Regenbogen
Earlier this month, the Full Circle Club hosted one of the last events of the Relay for Life's fundraising season, which officially closes this Sunday August 24.
Wesley Regenbogen: Hi Kammie and Hope.
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Hi there.
Kammie (kamaniya): Hello.
Wesley Regenbogen: So, you are hosting an event today for the Relay For Life in your club called The Full Circle Club. How did you decide to host this event ?
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Well, see, the other owner as well as I have cancer and we truly believe in this event. And I have been battling it for five years.
Kammie (kamaniya): I have family that has had cancer as well.
Wesley Regenbogen: Ah, that's sad to hear. So, it's a personal thing to host this event here in your club in Second Life. Have you raised much by hosting this event yet ?
Kammie (kamaniya): So far (with) our other owner, who is afk at the momen.t we have raised a total of 234,696 L$ so far.ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): And after today we are hoping for the Gold.
Wesley Regenbogen: Linden dollars, right?
Kammie (kamaniya): Yes.
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Yes.
Wesley Regenbogen: Is the ammount given to the Relay For Life directly?
Kammie (kamaniya): Yes
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Yes
Wesley Regenbogen: That's quite a lot for an single event. What other things have you done for the Relay For Life?
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): We have had bands play here.
Wesley Regenbogen: Which bands have played here so far?
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Oh, that is not for a single event.
Kammie (kamaniya): It's not for a single event, sorry. We just started this event. We had other events at a previous club we worked for.
Wesley Regenbogen: Ah, okay.
Kammie (kamaniya): We just had our grand opening for club last night, and this is the first Relay For Life event for us.
Wesley Regenbogen: That's cool. Are there other events during the next days in the club?
Kammie (kamaniya): Yes till the end of August.
Wesley Regenbogen: Cool, so the club has just opened and you host an event, that's nice. Who created this club?
Kammie (kamaniya): We all did together.
Wesley Regenbogen: cool. This club is nicely decorated. I must admit this is a nice club to visit, it's the first time I've visited it.
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Thank you so much, we have worked very hard. Please tell all your friends.Wesley Regenbogen: I will soon. Just one more question. You mentioned there are other events for the Relay For Life in this club. Can you tell me what events are on the calendar?
Kammie (kamaniya): We leave that to our other owner, Christopher410. He's our event coordinator.ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): And dj and host. (He) put part of (his) tips in there as well.
Wesley Regenbogen: Cool. It's nice to see that so many people are donating for the Relay For Life events. I wish you all the best for your events and also wish you luck with your health and hopefully you will get better soon.
ღ ｻσpє Đяєαмѕcape ღ (hope4ever43): Thank you very much.
Kammie (kamaniya): Thank you (smile).
Monday, August 18, 2014
By Bixyl Shuftan
This is the second part of an interview with Prokofy Neva, a longtime resident in Second Life whom is best known for being a sometimes controversial commentator on his "Second Thoughts" blog and various Second Life related forums. In the first part of the interview, he discussed his earlier days on the Grid and his opinions on how conflict and debate shaped it's evolution over time. In the second part, he had a few comments about more recent issues in Second Life, such as content creator rights, the temporary ban of third party currency exchange services, and the announcement of a new grid in development. He also talked some about his idea of "virtuality," and why Second Life truly hasn't succeeded in appealing to the masses with it's version of it.
To read the first part of the interview: Click Here.
To one of Prokofy's earlier comments about Linden Lab, I asked, "You thought they were trying to wreck businesses rather than a case of 'It seemed like a good idea?' "
"Yes," I responded, "many, including my old boss, wondered just what the Lindens are up to."
Prokofy continued, "Instead of saying to their customers with rental communities, 'Advertise in our welcome areas, help us with our new customers,' or saying to clubs and live music venues 'Advertise in our welcome areas and our splash screen, help us with our customers,' they do completely different things to serve their interests which are short-sighted for the world itself. They create special builder and scripter dev groups and throw them out-world business, they put in Linden Homes and give special contracts to certain designers to build for them, so their business is helped even as ours is screwed, because they really don't believe in the user community outside their own very special and trusted friends who are coders/designers. They can't share power with a class alien to them in values. There isn't a parliament or a constitutional court to solve these things through law. There is only warfare."
"So they put in the Linden homes to try to drive people to buy premium accounts which languished, and to guide newbies toward content purchases. In the end, they couldn't completely ruin the low cost newbies rentals business, or I wouldn't be here or others wouldn't be here."
I brought up, "Two controversies in the past year were the third party linden exchanges, and the Terms of Service change in reguards to content creators. Anything to say about those?" (Note, SL Newser is partialy sponsored by the Podex Exchange)
Prokofy answered, "Well to take it backwards, the content creator stuff is in a way standard Silicon Valley legal boilerplate in Instagram or anywhere, and done deliberately so that the platform can retain the ability to first display your content as a technical matter but then also reserve the right to grab it for advertising or ultimately any reason or no reason. And it's about failure to share power even with their own FIC. Qarl nailed it on the forums although he sounds like a whiner."
"But here's how they will solve it, and I don't think it will be pretty. They will create a privileged class that has license to create, but must supply SS number and ID, or passport number let's say. They have a huge problem on their hands of liability themselves. The world is filled with content swiped from the Internet, textures and pictures and ideas." He drew my attention to the floor, "say, look at this rug here I make and sell! It comes from Malevich's painting for example, which is public domain. But not every thing is. So the Lindens already got some lawsuits from real-life furniture makers. They can't share power and give rights to people who may themselves have violated other rights."
"Now to the third party exchanges. My own view is that this was an evil and vile move, and it significantly depressed my interest, involvement, and purchases of content and land in SL. Why? because I couldn't cash out instantly. In the past, I could do business and instantly pay a bill that came up in real-life, instantly buy groceries for my family if my real-life contractors were slow in payments. Now, I have to set it up to wait 5-7 or more business days. So I really mourn that loss. It was also a huge boon to my customers. I don't think any fraud vulnerability justified it because they had given out essentially licenses or risk APIs to people. I don't know what your take on it is."
I mentioned two opinions I kept hearing, "Some thought it was Linden Lab's legal department overracting to the Treasury Department's sudden interest in virtual currency. Others thought it was a simple power grab."
Prokofy answered, "I think the latter quite frankly, because the reality is that the Treasury Dept never defined the currency inworld as taxable. It's a game point, a limited license to use inworld game currency, if you will, like a Mycokerewards.com bottle cap, not true currency. So they can't tax my bucket of Mycokerewards.com bottle caps I turned into a coupon for Olive Restaurant yet. If I turned that into $5 real money, they could tax it if it built up. And everything cashed out of SL they should tax. I personally and other business people have put SL revenue as revenue in my tax return. It's not much after costs but it's something. So maybe they were gun-shy, but I think they just hated the idea that people were getting a revenue stream they didn't have. Any money cashed out through those other services paid THOSE people currency fees, not Lindens. Lindens need a non-land revenue stream model. Their hope was currency exchange fees, subscriptions, and content charges would carry it. But it's like all media that can't live by subscriptions or classified ads alone. All media needs advertising, and buying sims is the equivalent of big advertising revenue for any media property."
I brought up, "After their initial decision, there was a particuarly large outcry from overseas residents. I heard of one entire German community talking about up and leaving."
"Well that's just it," Prokofy told me, "I used to use that European company myself, can't recall its name. It had the option to buy Euros and even bitcoins. I thought it would be a place I could put Euros that I earn in Europe from my RL business which lose so much on transfers here. But it was not to be as they had to close, or rather, I think they sell Lindens but they can't cash them out now or something. No one can provide the cash-out service, correct? That's just it, it hugely retards business progress."
"The Lindens are not here to help your business. They are not here to promote the inworld economy. They are here to run their own business. Their interests and ours do not harmonize. They clash. That is the harsh reality that no one has solved, and won't solve as long as you have those with either a techocommunist view about mass culture or mass free economies in charge, or technolibertarians that only care about their own business and not how their customers make a living."
"Google with its Google buses taking over cities, driving up rents, and not caring how the non-Google people will live. I understand Ebbe is now saying something about making the transition to the new world smooth with regard to land. But sorry, that's not specific. I call for 1:1 transfers of sims or compensation of X pennies on the dollar, to be negotiated. But we don't even know if there will *BE* sims in this new world, sims as we know them."
"so -- right click, SELL LAND for Prokofy, while that lack of clarity and that self-interest on the part of (the) Lindens prevails. And remember, I'm just a tiny self-aware unit in this economy who thinks and blogs, there are hundreds more who don't blog and maybe even don't think about this issue, but they have thousands of dollars at stake not tens or hundreds, and they will act, and that action will influence the outcome."
I followed his comment about the Linden Lab CEO, "Yes, at the third party viewer developer meeting the other day, Ebbe Linden mentioned the development of a next generation virtual world."
"Yes, and it was immediately bruited about as good news that it was closed source," Prokovy commented, "but bad news because no backwards compatibility. None of the things in this room could come with me. Pr let's say I could get their builders to re-rez them as mesh. But what about my outfit? It's made by Osprey Therein, who died in real life. Now there's no way to port it," he frowned, "Sure, I could possibly copybot it or something. But it's not the same."
I sadly nodded, having attended and written about Osprey's funeral.
"Or my Moth King staff Osprey made. Let me show you." Prokovy got it from his inventory, "See the staff?"
"These are very old school clothes," Prokofy told me, "made on that original avatar outfit maker, which is why I like them. Look at what she did with this. Even fur-lined boots, Russian style, all on that old thing. I tend to like the old things better and I only have recently started putting in prim or mesh hair. I think this is prim hair."
"It does look unique," I told him about the outfit.
Prokofy went on, "I don't like mesh. Occasionally I'll find a good house made out of mesh my customers have. I haven't bought them because I can't *see* them half the time-- they don't rez right, even with my computer and new FIOS blazing Internet."
"That's something I've heard from many content creators," I spoke of his dislike of mesh, "and more than one who aren't buying it."
"Well again, to speak of classes," Prokovy commented, "and mind you, I'm certainly not a Marxist and not a European, I'm American and for a more democratic and classless society and upward mobility. But there are classes in SL, and there are those who can see mesh and those who can't. There are entire groups of people living still only with prims not even sculpties, like aboriginals. It's hard to make the world develop uniformly, the 'future is here, only unevenly distributed.' This new world of Ebbe's is definitely one of those futures arriving unevenly distributed. We don't know if we will have graphic cards to view it. We don't know if we will have to buy Oculus Rift headsets to view it, etc."
"So basically, 'It's being developed, that's all we know?' " I asked.
"So basically, it means we are mere spectators at the Renaissance Faire. We're to buy some of the guilds' expensive items and put them in our homes which are under limited control. That is incredibly dull for me. I could watch TV if that were my purpose. I don't want to watch, I want to interact, as an amateur."
"So what I see then is that once again, they can't conceive of how to make a world mass-user friendly, except by their very old formula, which is 'have a privileged class of people or the game devs themselves make content, bring in the rubes.'"
"And when I talk about compensating those of us who were not in that class and still made the world what it is. Lordfly says 'Game designers don't give you free stuff in the next sequel.' To which I can say, this isn't a game, it's a platform. I can also point out what is coming then for those fancy creators, which they themselves don't seem to realize, which is the other Silicon Valley model that goes with the prosumer model: HUGE FEES, like Amazon, where I sell my e-book."
"Sure, I sell my ebook for $2.99 a pop and buy my family groceries. It actually sells everyday, it's about Snowden. But Amazon takes out 30%-70% of every sale, huge cuts."
"Oh, What's the title?" I asked.
" 'Privacy for Me and Not for Thee' - http://www.amazon.com/Privacy-Not-Thee-Invincible-Transparency-ebook/dp/B00I2CJKI6 . So sure, be a seller on Amazon or be a merchant on Third Life -- but pay huge fees then, guys"
"Snowden's certainly sparked no shortage of conversation," I commented.
"Yes, well I know a lot about the Snowden story as Russia is my field of expertise," Prokofy told me. "So I have unique materials there translated from the Russian press. But more importantly, I write about hacker culture, which I learned about in SL. And I have two chapters just on SL in that book. So it might be interesting to you."
"I'm sure it would," I thought out loud.
"What I hope is that there will be an outcry and a debate about how the new world is made," Prokvy expressed, "so that it is not all decided by LL itself. But I see little opportunity for that frankly. If it were Philip doing it, there would be. But it's not. I have a whole theory about virtual worlds in general I've written about."
My next question, "I was going to ask if you felt today's Linden Lab was less interested in
the residents' opinions than the early one."
"Oh no question," Prokofy answered, "Philip was integrated into the world, he did Town Halls, walkabouts, he answered mail. M Linden was more removed, he started by making his name impossible to pull up in search. Then the one before Ebbe, he was completely incommunicado. He didn't have a tweet or a blog hardly the entire time. I honestly don't know what he did all day with this world. He developed LL's OTHER products to be sure, so they could say now they are a game company with multiple products. I don't think those products do terribly well, but then, I don't have a tablet. Like most people, a computer and a phone in the family for each member already strains the budget. (A) tablet -- just too expensive."
"Anyway, Ebbe makes a show of communicating with the swells on Sluniverse.com. Call me when he holds an inworld town meeting with the top land barons. Of course, I may be in the dark, they may have already had secret meetings. Who the hell knows? But let him have meetings with furry or Gor or elves or fairies or whatever communities. All of these people sink money into SL, they pay his bills, what do they think? They aren't on sluniverse.com as creators necessarily, although some of the key power brokers are. In any event, I have tried to write to Ebbe multiple times, no answer, no bear, no nothing. And I am busy in real-life so I can't chase him as I used to other Lindens."
"But here's my concept of virtuality in a nutshell: Virtual worlds as a destination is an obsolete concept and will fail as a new project. The direction of the future is virtualization of reality itself, not destination worlds. Destination worlds will remain niches of course for half a million or 500 million. But not billions like Facebook or Twitter. People don't avatarize and immerse well and the learning curve and technology is too hard. We don't realize that, we're acclimated. Most people can't acclimate. They can't live in the mountains with less oxygen."
"In my real-life jobs, I use Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Google Maps, and other various chat clients. And I live in a virtual world that is the sum total of those tools, it's the virtual world called 'The War in Ukraine.' With the tools, in that virtualized space, I can ... watch the tragedy of the Odessa fire live. I can interview people with Skye standing at a demonstration in Kharkiv. I can chat with my colleagues and translate the news. I can watch Twitter and see a citizen journalist has uploaded a picture of a Russian tank not in Russia, but Ukraine, where it should not be, and find experts who can confirm, yes, that's a Russian tank. I can geolocate that tank using Google Street View even for little towns in Ukraine."
"This *is* the virtual world, not a destination called "Second Life" with a sim called 'Ukraine.' So eventually 3D will enter that space by Facebook or by somebody, Google or Yahoo or whoever, so that we can manage those tools, those images, those chats, those experiences. And not as a destination but as a kind of rolling layer over things. Does that make sense?"
I nodded, "It does."
Prokofy went on, "Somebody in Ukraine can't log on to SL because either Internet is spotty or graphics poor on their laptop, but they can use their cell phone and call on Skype. They can set up a stream, so eventually less heavy virtualization where you can avatarize or project yourself into the interstices of these outworld tools will create worlds of sorts. That's how I see it."
"Also I've written about how the Internet of Things will play out as a virtualized world you control with a console. This is the analogy I think of from my father's business. He was a ceramic engineer. He used to explain that bricks are very heavy, very old fashioned, too expensive to move, to build, to maintain. So going into the brick business was a very heavy, expensive old fashioned thing to do. But if you worked on carrier beads in Xerox machines, they weren't heavy. And people were motivated to buy and move the Xerox machines themselves. So I realize that those of us who made bricks are obsolete in a world that wants carrier beads which have ceramic components for Xerox toner. You may not have realized that what happens with a Xerox copy, ceramic pieces of toner are fused to paper, i.e. toner is a kind of ceramics, if you will."
"But even Xeroxes are going out of style in a world of mobile phones with pictures. On the other hand, the metaphor works both ways. People who make destination worlds are in a sense obsolete too, because people need much more portability. And frankly I don't mean having open source and free content, which is how everyone understands this issue. I think permissions systems can and should be built into every world and every virtuality -- it could have been built into Instagram but wasn't for ideological reasons."
"What I mean by portability is usability in everyday life across various platforms and settings. Google Street view is easy to port, Twitter is easy to port, Skype too. Second Life isn't, even if on a phone. It's about culture and about settings and expectations and not just technology. It's about user control. People join things on mass that have two features, 1) devs provide enough of the bare bones so you don't have to fight the platform to use it, 2) but you can easily generate your user content. Twitter really hits that sweet spot and so does Facebook. SL doesn't."
"Anyway," Prokofy relaxed a bit, "I've bored you with my theories quite a bit, I should get back to work."
"Well, you mentioned where the outfit came from," I brought up, "But one other question about what you're wearing," I directed my attention to an ornimentation he had with a number of country's flags in small cicular disks, "What kind of necklace is that?"
"Oh this is my Peace on Earth hunt necklace found a few years ago," Prokofy informed, "I like it because it has all the countries on it, their flags. It's part of my International Bazaar, which is a project I have where you can get notecards to go to all real-life foreign country sims. It's what I had set up in the infohub for years and years, which sadly I just had to remove because of ridiculous buggy Land Impact issues. But I will get it back. I still maintain the main hall for it with the notecards, so you can go to Russia, China, France, etc. My hope was to encourage exploration. I used to have a discussion group called Council on Virtual Relations to discuss foreign affairs and those sims. But like all things in SL it got griefed, had problems, etc so I had to suspend it."
"Oh, sorry," I told him.
"Well as I noted to you," he went on, "I used to spend a lot more hours on SL. I would average say 4 hours a day. I would make things, explore, think up ways to improve my business, etc. I made a tutorial for new businesses. I would help people in various ways. But since various real-life challenges occured, I had to suspend this and limit myself now to pure customer service, and perhaps occasionally some card updating. I can't say when I will be back to normal as I have a rare illness now and the treatment is worse than the disease. And all my energy has to go into my real-life work to make a living. But I'm sure it will get better in a few months. I certainly understand better now what Osprey went through, what a brave brave and creative soul."
"Sounds like you were both good friends," I expressed.
"No," Prokofy corrected, "I wouldn't say we were such close friends or anything like that. It was more like this, she was a very kind person and even though she was among the oldbies who hated me, she was very kind to me personally. And we got together around the Moth Temple years ago. I was the one who thought up the idea of the Moth Swarms. She then immediately picked it up and made the moth feelers, moth wings, and this kind outfit. Yes I thought it up actually, although people think she did, but we were creative partners, I had the idea, she made it work. So she was a creative partner. We did those moth swarms and other moth things, including the moth lanterns that she made to replace the Linden ones that mysteriously disappeared."
"Then the other area where we collaborated was the Resident Developed Infohubs. I ran two of them and she ran one of them. We made a group of like 10-12 of us doing that, tried to make some uniform content for them like newbie help, and tried to lobby Lindens on their issues. So we did that for several years. Hers was Ambat. I hope they didn't take it down, it's probably still there."
"What I like about SL is that you don't have to be friends with someone, they don't have to be your best buddy, you don't have to share real-life news, etc. But you can meet as minds and souls and make something and share a deep connection and then move on. They could be your enemies, politically or lifestyle wise, but they are shared collaborators in the business of making the world. So I have furry or BDSM tenants, or neighbours who may be antithetical to my world views, let's say. But in SL we could collaborate on some shared interest like 'let's keep the view nice,' 'let's make nice builds,' 'let's help newbies,' 'let's have live music.' And those things can be done without having to even know that person votes Republican or Democrat or whatever, which real life does not enable."
"I don't mean to idealize that shared creative existence as it is frail and can rip and be in tatters soon enough. But it's an interesting basis for community. And that's why I liked the foreign sims idea, or 'international sims' as foreign implies they are foreign to us, but they aren't foreign to themselves. So when the London terrorist attack happened, I could TP and say 'I'm sorry,' Or the Poles lost an entire planeload of leaders -- I could say 'I'm sorry,' or the Egyptians were killed in demonstrations, I could say 'I'm sorry' with a translator. Or just show up to light a candle or buy something or whatever. The virtual world enables things like that which are interesting, not part of real life, but to make them work better."
"Lindens have to establish better governance tools. The thing they care about the least is managing the world as a world society. They do not want to be in the governance business. They want a customer service state and that's it. And you can't blame them. World governance is endless as a proposition, especially with open source cult ideals."
Prokofy chuckled, "Anyway I've babbled on quite a bit. Hope that was interesting."
"It was," I told him, "Thank you for your time."
"Sure," Prokofy bade farewell, "nice to talk to you."
I tipped my hat, and we went our separate ways.
To check up on the latest from Prokovy, he continues to post in his blog "Second Thoughts" (http://3dblogger.typepad.com/second_thoughts/) under the avatar's real-life identity Catherine Fitzpatrick, occasionally a long commentary, sometimes just a picture. He also has a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/Prokofy .
Friday, August 15, 2014
Avina en' Cael (Saria Resident) is someone many in Second Life would find unusual: a female wrestler. A performer at HAWX (Hellcats Angels Wresting X-treme) and the WPWF (Women's Pro Wrestling Federation), she's gone through her share of body-slams. Recently she's been involved with an upcoming WPWF event to help raise funds for Parkinson's research. Charlotte Williams recently interviewed her about the happening.
Avina en' Cael: "Thanks for coming! Welcome to the Asylum." We settle down at the WPWF Commentary Table, with its birds-eye view of the WPWF Ring and Stage Area."
Charlotte smiles, "The Asylum'? So what usually happens here at 'The Asylum?"
Avina en' Cael: "Well, technically its the WPWF arena, but Saturday nights we hold our weekly WPWF Asylum show."
Charlotte nods, "Ok, and tell our readers a little about what WPWF is, what does it stand for?"
Avina en' Cael: "Womens Pro Wrestling Federation, it's the all women wrestling federation run by Tyress Serevi, or 'The Nova' Tyress Serevi as she was known in wrestling, its a once a week hour-ish show, and she was kind enough to lend me the use of her arena for the big charity event."
Charlotte Williams: "Ok, sounds interesting for sure. Can you tell us a little about how wrestling works here in SL?"
Avina en' Cael: "There's two types. There's "Poseball" which is where I got started, before it turned into it's current state, where you basically hop on a poseball, type a huge paragraph describing what you're going to do to the person, and click a menu, and thats how you run the entire match. Or there's HUD wrestling, the actual wrestling that requires a lot of focus and knowledge of everything going on around you in the ring. Which is where you put on a hud, and you move freely in the ring, no poseballs, and you type out everything that you want to do, and it's up to you to line it all up and make it look good.So say I wanted to powerbomb you...I check my gestures (If I don't know them exactly), find the powerbomb trigger, and type it (./powerbomb)."
Charlotte smiles, "Please don't powerbomb me Avina! Ok, I see, and its like a dance of sorts, albeit one which involves kicks and punches?"
Avina en' Cael: "Kicks, punches, slamming heads on corners, throwing your opponent to the concrete...I've seen one person, Ayane, actually use one of our (the entire wrestling community) fans and do a move off his head...craziest thing I've ever seen."
Charlotte laughs, "Wow, sounds crazy indeed, unlike something many people would have seen in SL!"
Avina en' Cael: "Numbers Rossini, who helped build the NexGen system we use, said it best, 'What we do breaks SL, it's not meant to do it, but we make it do it'."
Charlotte Williams: "Would that be an original quote?"
Avina en' Cael: "Pretty close, I cant remember his exact wording, but it was pretty much identical."
Charlotte smiles, "So as you mentioned earlier, you started out on a poseball with your wrestling career, what made you decide to start wrestling in SL? And as a second part to that question, what keeps you coming back to SL to do it?"
Avina en' Cael: "Heh...the poseball thing was literally I needed the money. I don't remember exactly what for, but Ace Nightfire who helped with the Charity event was like 'Hey you know poseball wrestling makes a lot of money sometimes', So I asked Shania Adder if she would train me in it, and with my vast roleplay background, and my father getting me into Professional Wrestling (Note, Professional Wrestling, NOT Sports Entertainment as it is now), it was just natural to me. Then he (Ace) was like 'You should try this HUD system we have, called Nexgen', and I met Stacy Grace at the same time, and they got me started on the HUD stuff, and I found I liked it a lot more than poseball which was turning more into adult oriented, and I outright refused to do that....I'm there to entertain, not get naked."
Avina en'Cael : "As for coming back, I might not be as quick as everyone due to my crappy computer, but I still enjoy it...and being a heel, a bad guy, I love finding new ways to make the fans hate me even more week after week," Avina grins.
Charlotte Williams: "Sounds like an interesting hobby to say the least!"
Avina en'Cael : "So we've got the background story on wrestling in SL and your history in SL, and as you mentioned, we are here to talk about your charity event that is coming up this weekend. Can you tell our readers what the event is and how it came about?"
Avina takes a deep breath, "Well as I mentioned, when I was in the poseball thing, Ace Nightfire was always the DJ. Then we worked together in DCWF, and he always talked to me about a dream he had combining the two, music with SL wrestling. Well, about a year passed, we parted ways, I left DCWF and fed hopped a bit, and we started talking again, and he brought the idea up once more only this time he was trying to go with it. I had run a music venue for awhile, so I had a lot of live music artist contacts, so I was like 'You do the wrestling, I'll do the music, lets make it happen'. Unfortunatetly, our first attempt flopped, we didnt get out of planning stages, then the second, this time, it just sort of all came together finally."
"The event is for Team Fox, who are run by Barbie Alchemy, who runs the SL portion of Michael J Fox Parkinson's Research Society. They, unlike other big name charities, actually give 100% of the proceeds directly to research. Most will pay sim tier first, then CEO's, then staff, bills, etc, THEN about 30% goes to actual research. The MJF charity pays no tier, pays nothing but goes right to research, and I'll give your readers a video to watch which is very inspiring that we'll show Saturday as well."
Charlotte smiles, "Thank you, much appreciated. As we are sitting in a wrestling arena, obviously the event involves wrestling, but I believe it will also incorporate some musical elements. If our readers wish to come along to the event, what can they expect to see?"
Avina en'Cael : "Well, we start at 10 AM sharp up here in the Asylum with a match a long time in the making, Whiskers Savage vs La Gata Loca, its something you just have to see to understand. We'll end it with a never before seen six woman tag team elimination match with a match type I created myself, called the Dragons Dance. After the wrestling wraps at 1 PM SLT we're going to have two singers down below at the main stage. Diana Pearl will be opening up, then we'll have Celia Cruz, who is a live tribute artist to the late real life Celia Cruz.
Charlotte nods, "So its a wrestling show followed by a concert with live singers?"
Avina en'Cael : "Yep. That was the original idea, wrestling and music, and I could be wrong, but I don't believe a charity event has ever featured both in one day. I could be wrong though, I know your We Care is a huge wrestling event too."
Charlotte smiles, "Thank you, we had DJs for We Care last year, but no live singers. As its a charity event, how can people donate or offer their support?"
Avina en'Cael : "They can contact me if they wish to donate an item, and it will be raffled off (If anyone has a raffle system to donate that would be wonderful), or somehow given away for the event. They will get a poster like the ones around the arena and free advertising throughout the show in exchange. I'll personally be donating my entire Dragon Blade set, which go for about 500L$ in world each, all 10 of them to it, Absolute Animations is giving away any move from their vendors."
Charlotte Williams: "And there will be donation kiosks as well?"
Avina en'Cael : "There will be one just to your right, and a couple down below as well. You can also visit their sim, the SL Newser just ran a beautiful article on it, and donate there as well. I really encourage people to read the article the Newser did and visit their sim, it's so beautiful, they have horseback riding, art displays, all kinds of stuff."
Charlotte nods, "That sounds wonderful. You definitely have plenty of ways to donate and support this most worthy of charities. Thank you very much for your time today Avina. Before I go, is there anything else you'd like to add to inform our readers about your event this weekend?
Avina en'Cael : "All tier for the sim is donated by a third party, as well as all expenses, so all donations go right to the charity research. If you're into SL wrestling...we're going to have some amazing matches...I mean Lyra Phoenix vs Tara Titan...that's going to be a hard hitting match, the Dragons Dance is going to be crazy, the music is going to be great...so clear your day out and come enjoy the show. Just be sure to de-script as much as you can, that's VERY important to reduce the lag.
Here are the all important details, so you don't miss a second of the action...
This Saturday 16th August, The Wrestling Charity Event for Team Fox representing Michael J Fox Parkinson's Foundation Fundraiser begins at 10am SLT, at 1pm SLT Diana Pearl and Celia Cruz take to the Synful Desirez Stage for a special live event. If you still want more wrestling, the weekly WPWF show begins from 6pm SLT. The SLURL for all these events is: http://maps.secondlife.
If you have any questions about the event, feel free to contact Avina
(saria Resident in SL) for further information. Enjoy the event and
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
By Bixyl Shuftan
Readers whom remember the old Second Life Newspaper of JamesT Juno and Dana Vanmoer may remember Intlibber Brautigan. He was the head of BNT Holdings, a major sponsor of the paper which at one point controlled over 50 sims. He was also an opinionated figure whom defended the controversial Woodbury University, infamous for harboring a number of suspected griefers, and butted heads with people such as Prokvy Neva.
Things seemed okay from the paper's point of view as his sponsorship included space for an office and a private island for James and Dana. Then in October 2009, disaster struck. Linden Lab seized the sims under his name, including that with the SLN office and James and Dana's home. Aside from Intlibber stating that his company's revenue took a sharp drop due to the real-life economy and projects that failed to "come to fruition in time," Dana called his official statement "an outpouring of spite and blame on others" which she refused to publish in full. Although the paper soon found a new office, it never truly recovered, and the incident was likely a contributing factor to Second Life Newspaper's folding less than a year later.
After that, not much was heard about Intlibber. In July 2011, Krypton Radio claimed he was linked to an account that was banned. After that, nothing for a few years. Then a few days ago, my attention was directed to a post on Facebook by Mike Lorrey. ...
"My IntLibber Brautigan account is now somewhat open in Second Life. Linden Lab has me in a 1 sim prison called ONDW 37, which as you can see in this snapshot, is one of several prison cell sims that class action claimants are given, in order to put their inventory assets up for sale on the SL Marketplace. Claimants have 1 month to get their stuff listed. I am unable to receive visitors in this sim, and cannot communicate with other users in SL. LL has removed all my group memberships, even the groups I created and own, and does not allow me to teleport elsewhere in SL. This is what they think constitutes the terms of their "settlement" of our class action lawsuit. They are also trying to refuse to pay me the 2L$ per square meter for the 53 regions of virtual land I owned before they banned me, despite that being the clear terms of the settlement."
Could he put them in Marketplace? "Yes, thats why they have me in this single sim, to put objects for sale on marketplace via a magic box. My lawyer is still dealing with LL's consistent intransigence at refusing to comply with the letter of the class action settlement agreement which SHOULD have awarded me $1000 per sim for recovery of sim setup fees, PLUS 2 L$ per square meter for 53 sims of land. They are refusing to pay either of these sums, which should total up to around $80,000 USD. I also have around $4500 worth of L$ on my accounts, but they've put a negative 2 million L$ on every account to prevent me from transferring my money to anybody else, and they put a negative $17,000 USD balance on my account dollar side reflecting the fallacious tier charges they placed on my account AFTER they had suspended me (my monthly tier fees never exceeded $10,000 at that time, so this is clearly almost two months of tier, far longer than they allow."
"If they refuse to comply with the settlement we will be forced to ask the judge to sanction them with the award of all my attorneys fees for dragging things out and causing these problems, and have the settlement set aside so we can demand the reconsideration of the economic loss class of the suit which she had closed because the lawyers pushing the class action "lost" or otherwise misplaced my claims, faxes, and letters urging them to make me a named party in the case, since I showed the largest economic losses of all claimants."
"I'm selling my stuff because the settlement gives you the option of either selling your stuff on marketplace, or else receiving a mere $15 compensation for all of the content on all of your accounts. I had 200 accounts, about 15 of which had money and content, and had invested well over $50,000 in various content development projects."
When asked why he got banned, "LL seized all my sims after engaging in a campaign of blocking my ability to trade L$ for USD to pay bills, and lobbying my customers to move out of my sims, all because I defended those whose rights were infringed: ad farmers, woodbury university, private property owners, and my investors."
When asked what else he was doing online, "In what time period ... In the past year I've been working on a new business plan that is confidential but will have some information about that disclosed at a later date, provided this settlement is equitably paid to me so we can seed the revival of BNT with the settlement money."
When asked what is he selling on SL Marketplace, "TONS of stuff. I used to build buildings for clients, script stuff, etc. I made a scripted set of HUD combat flight instruments like an F-15 eagles heads up display, among a number of other things. I developed the Major League Combat first person shooter combat sim, I developed the Teller Motorsports Park racing sim.... seriously its odd that so many people believed the lies told by certain Lindens and their groupies that I wasn't a creative person in SL."
And so, the land baron whom once had over fifty sims is now confined to a small tiny space isolated from the rest of the Grid. It seems Intilibber is in the process of writing his final chapter in Second Life, or is he? As he has been accused of using alts to get around his ban from Second Life, it's possible he may pop up once again sometime in the future.
Friday, August 1, 2014
By Bixyl Shuftan
Every community in Second Life has a history, and this includes the Sunweavers. Living in the sims Sunweaver Isle, Sunweaver Bay, Sunweaver Space, Sunlight Bay, HV Community, and Pacific Waters, the "Sunnies" as they are sometimes called go back several years. They've been the home of some noted persons in Second Life, such as Artistic Fimicloud, Lomgren Smalls, and Alleara Snoodle. Also the Second Life Newser's office is in the Sunweaver sim of HV Community.
Recently the Sunweaver leader Rita Mariner and I met up to talk about the history of the group.We met up in the Southwest corner of the Sunweaver Estates in the sim of Sunweaver Bay, on top of the tall apartment building in the sim.
"So, how did the idea for the Sunweavers come about?" I asked Rita.
"And whom was the core group?" I asked.
Rita replied,"Jenni Greenfield, Dusk Griswold, Shockwave Yareach, Windy Lurra, Brolly Field, Robin Hyacinth, and me." She handed over a couple images of the group, "Not the best pic, all I have." Then came one of an area, "One of the Sunweaver's First creations, Sunweaver Park. The group lived on one side of the road, in MUD, we used the land on the other side as a park to get creative and built a park."
It was about this time we were joined by one of the Sunweaver Estates' residents, Becky "Sha" Shamen, after some friendly greetings, she stuck around to listen, "loves the community."
Rita continued, "Anyways, while we lived in MUD, we were having fun calling ourselves 'MUD's Women,' spoofing the Star Trek episode."
"So all girls, except for Shockwave?" I asked.
"Pretty much," Rita answered, "One of the early conditions I put on the Sunweavers to set us apart from other groups, was we did bellydancing, therefore, we all needed to get at least, one set of decent silks, preferably EROS silks, even though, at the time, they were pricey. ... We would then showup at various dance clubs, in our silks and dance, getting a lot of praise, those silks were very nice. But when EROS stopped selling the silks, I dropped the requirement."
"What year was this?" I asked.
"2007," Rita answered," Long time ago. Once we maxed out on how much Land we could get in MUD. I started looking elsewhere. I settled on POCKWOCK, and slowly started to buy up land there. Once we had a decent amout of land there, we created Club Cutlass and Club Zero Gravity. Shockwave had a blast creating the scripts for Zero G," Rita described the space club then, "you could dance on the walls, the ceiling, float in the air and still dance."
I asked, "They looked much different then, did they not?"
"Yes," she answered, "we built our first shopping area there, airfield, pirate ships, fort, etc. secret tunnels, we had fun."
"Mostly secret escape or entrance," Rita answered, "Just for fun. We liked to get creative. ... I almost owned the entire sim, but there were a few holdouts, and they wanted ridiculous amounts of lindens for their land. Of course all of this was taking place just prior to LL pulling the plug on gambling."
"So after the gambling ban, land was cheaper?" I asked.
"Land prices dropped into (the) trashcan," Rita answered, "Casinos no longer were profitable and people were bailing out of SL so fast, they didn't care. That's why today it's hard to get renters, (the) aftermath of the land boom and bust."
"At that time I decided it was about time to get a private estate. They weren't cheap. (But) the idea of having total control over it and no neighbors with banlines and PORN everywhere appealed to us. Sunweaver Isle was our first estate."
"How fast did the community grow?" I asked
"Once that was filled up, we had alot of demand for another," Rita answered, "so soon we added Sunweaver Cove. Still more demand, but for public sims. I then added sunweaver Air, Sunweaver Space, Cape suzette and Buccaneer Bay. I had enough renters to at least keep the bleeding from my checking account manageable. (I) Never had enough to break even. Then when LL decided to add the Homesteads I had several folks approach me about getting one."
"How did that go?" I asked.
Rita answered, "I said, 'you pay for them, tell me where you want it. I'll order it.' So I had three different people order them. That worked out fine, until LL changed the rules on them. Raised the tier and limited the use. People started dumping them."
"Did any of the Sunweaver homesteads close?" I asked.
"Only one," Rita answered, "I gave up one Homestead."
"I recall the Sunweavers have included some creative people whom were known elsewhere," I brought up, "such as Lomgren Smalls and Alleara Snoodle."
"Yes, Alleara is still around," Rita told, "but as for Lomgren, not sure what has happened to him. I guess real life got him."
"And Artistic Fimicloud," I also brought up.
"Yes, we still remember Fimi," Rita reflected, "she is one of the inspirations for why we Rally in the RFL. She used to have a nice treehouse on Sunweaver Cove, across from Tremi. We had hoped to put the treehouse back up on Sunweaver Bay, but not sure who has it."
Rita handed me a few pictures. I noticed one in particular, "Oh yes, I recognize your house."
"The house next to mine was a co-worker and friend," she told me, "He was a skunk on SL."
"Is he still around?" I asked.
"No," Rita answered, "he passed away a few years ago."
"Oh, sorry." I told her.
"Eugene Chandrayaan (was his) SL name," Rita told me, "(his) profile has been wiped."
"Dusk brought me here," Rita informed, "and when I was going to Furry Cons alot, I use to let folks on SL know and we had Sunweaver Parties."
"How many from Second Life, and the Sunweavers, would you meet there?" I asked Rita.
"Varies," Rita answered, "I have had anywhere between 5-10 showup, say Hi and then some of us would go out to dinner. Met Kaarla, Twilight, Shockwave, Zorro, Fyremane, Lomgren, Dusk, probably many others whose names I have slipped my mind."
"You mentioned Dusk brought you here?" I told her, "How did that come about and how were your days before the Sunweavers?"
"I knew Dusk from meeting her at the Warner Bros Store, In Chicago," Rita answered, "I had driven up there to meet the voice over actors for the Animanics. During over chats, Dusk invited me to try out SL, It was a stepup from E-Muck. a Muck with PICTURES!"
"I started out in Nueltin. I had to borrow the Lindens from Dusk and Twilight to buy my first land, house, etc. Since I was on probation, with LL. for the first 30 days. My land was out in the bay, so I floated my house. It was the same house I still have, by the way."
"Oh really? How did you come up with the design?" I asked.
"I didn't," Rita answered, "I bought it. I like it, the inside is an open layout, so you can install walls and stuff as you like. The idea for the Group didn't come about till we needed it for Land Purchases. Then I thought about it. Sunweavers came out from that and we decided to have fun with it too."
Rita thought for a moment, "I think it was members of the sunweavers that mentioned it. Probably Dusk, so I joined up. Being both a survivor and caregiver, I fit right in."
"What year was this?" I asked.
"2009," Rita answered, " I keep all my stuff in folders, and 2009 is the earliest RFL stuff I have."
I continued, "As I recall, quite a number of Sunweavers joined up with the Redheads."
"Yes, The Redheads was a great team," Rita added, "lots of us were in it. Pity that it had to disband, but I understand why and I support Sabine's decision."
I nodded, "What were some of your favorite events that it held?"
"Heck, I don't remember that far back. You would have to ask Dusk."
"Yes," Rita answered, "Someone needed too. Pity that I haven't been able to attract all of the old Redheads back."
Becky Shamen, whom was nearby, commented, " ...and somebody...ahem...made clothes for the new team (smile)."
Rita briefly glanced over, then commented, "Yes, we have to thank Becky here for the classy Team Clothes she made for us."
"One group that often gets mentioned in the same sentence as the Sunweavers are the Angels" I brought up, "Do you consider yourselves the same community in Second Life, or two close ones?"
"Two close groups," Rita answered, "Nydia created the Angels for her own purposes, as I created the Sunweavers for mine." There was a slight typo, followed by an odd gesture, "Oops. Darn caps lock, didn't even notice until after (hitting the 'Enter' key)." Rita laughed, "I guess I was too busy staring at Sha's chest."
After a few jokes and snickers between the three of us, Rita got back on track, "but the Sunweavers are family. We look out for each other, help each other, care for each other. Like right now, several of us are working to get Jenni's PC working again."
"It's been having trouble?" I asked.
"It died, or at least the video card part," Rita answered, "but nothing we sent her as far as cards, worked. Her PC is just so OLD! I looked at my PC, the motherboard is $22, the processor $14! My PC was bought in 2006, Gateway GM5076E. One is a Dell, the other a HP."
"Besides the Relay," I brought up, "recently the Sunweavers have recently gotten a place in the InWorldz grid."
I chuckled, "Oh yes, your everyday avatar is a purple kani ... was there a special reason for this look?"
Rita answered, "When I saw the Kani bunny I loved the look. And since I am not a lover of PINK, I chose purple for me, just to be different. I have several other colors too, I can put on if needed. I wear pink, only on special occassions. ... I don't mind Pink on others, just doesn't work for me."
Rita then turned to another subject, her squad of alts, "As for the Sawyers, when I decided to create them, I went totally Black for them."
"Oh yes the Sawyers, Why were they made?" I asked.
"Primarily to help out on Tiny Empires and Tiny Empires 3000," Rita answered, "To give folks with no subjects or subordinates someone."
"I've noticed there's often a few around at Cutlass parties," I commented.
"And dressed in theme, I've noticed," I recalled.
"Oh, each sawyer represents a major investment in time and Lindens." Rita informed.
I commented, "I've noticed a few different avatars among them, bunny, bat, pony ..."
"Each Sawyer has a Kani, EP Pony, Felis," she told me, "plus I am trying to find them a unique avatar for themselves, but it needs to be available, in black. Plus I send them out for clothes shopping too."
Becky, who was still nearby, wryly remarked with a grin, "I think Rita likes the smell of burning money."
Rita laughed, "They burn 5-6,000 (Lindens) in clothes. So by the time I am done with each Sawyer with avatars, AO, clothes, etc, I have 20,000 lindens in them. Also the Tiny Empire HUDS they aren't cheap, when you get the compacts and fed hud, plus bookkeeping add-on. So my Sawyers are a major investment. And a couple of them have already been claimed," she laughed again, "Momma Gil has Claimed Sawyer 017, and Brandi has claimed Sawyer21."
"So when they're claimed, what happens," I asked.
"In a way, they are like their pets and/or sister/cousins," she answered, "Sawyer21 is my mouse and looks like Brandi."
"I imagine the Sawyers must mean quite a bit of multitasking," I commented, "and computer power.
"I have two desktops running," Rita explained.
"And the newer one handles the most?" I asked.
"Both desktops are roughly the same," she stated, "one has a little more RAM than the other. I bought the second one off eBay for $600."
Rita brought up a slideviewer show she was working on, "I try to talk those Sunnies who haven't contributed a photo of themselves, to do so. So I can put them in the slideviewers."
Becky brought up another issue, "You recently mentioned another trolly line. Albert and I were hoping for a road that connected the estate sims."
Rita answered her, "I would have to check with landowners about putting a bridge across the sims to their land."
"Most have cars or bikes," Becky expressed, "It would be fun to drive between all the sims."
"I will have to check with Nydia too," Rita stated, "She might build a road, don't know. ... they don't have the extra prims for a road."
After that, Rita got a call, "Well, Jeremiah needs my help, she is moving to here." She then gave her farewell, and we went our separate ways.
If you want to meet up with the Sunweavers, drop by one of their parties at Club Cutlass on Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday at 6PM, Sunweaver Space (176/62/125). If you want to live at the Sunweaver Estates, contact Rita, Shockwave Yareach, Dusk Griswold, or Nydia Tungsten for information.
Image credit: Rita Mariner, Artistic Fimicloud