Look! I have a Facebook Page! (and you can have on too!)

Once upon a time, it used to be quite simple to have a Facebook page for your avatar, if you wanted one. It was simply a matter of setting up a profile page just as you would for any person. However, somewhere along the way to global domination, Mr. Zuckerberg and his gang decided to get a bit snippy and began weeding out what they deemed “fake” facebook profile pages. We avatars somehow became labelled “undesirable”. Folks in the virtual world are of little interest when you are trying to enslave the entire globe in the real world.

A simple work around is to create a “Facebook Page” instead of a profile. This is the method artists and businesses use to get themselves out there and hoping for your almighty” “like” recommendation. It goes a little something like this:

1. Go to http://facebook.com/pages/create.php and login to a facebook account. If you don’t have one, you will be asked to create one. You’ll probably have to use your RL account to create it. If privacy is an issue, you are safe because no one know that you are the owner of the page your creating.

2.  Select an appropriate topic and category for your avatar or business that you want the page to represent.Considering myself to be multi-talented, I went with the appropriately vague “artist” category.

3. Add as much or as little information as you want. Throw in some pictures and tell everyone how wonderful you are. You really can do a lot with this page. You can add videos and images. You can share articles. If you have a blog, like me, you can connect your blog to your new page so that any posts you public to your blog show up on your Facebook page as well.

I say this is pretty simple, but I need to credit Strawberry Singh for even mentioning that it is possible and showing the way in her blog. If you have never visited her blog, I highly recommend you do. In the meantime, you now have a way to find yourself a home on Facebook with the rest of the minions and while you are there, don’t forget to stop by my page and hit the “like” button!

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Dolphin Viewer is making a splash

I wanted to give some praise to a viewer that has recently become my “go to” viewer when logging into Second life. The Dolphin viewer has been a pleasant surprise to me, and quite a few others based on some posts I have been reading.

I know what you are saying.”But Karma, were you not just posting about how the Exodus viewer was ‘making a big splash’? Before that, wasn’t it Kirstin’s viewer?” Well yes. It was. Thanks for noticing. However, Kirstin’s is gone and Exodus development appears to be on hiatus. Fact is, there are a lot of new viewers out there being developed by some really smart people and I like to try them out, so please don’t interrupt me again. Plus it isa great headline. “Big Splash” …”Dolphin”, get it?

Dolphin is V3 based and incorporates some great features into a very sturdy package. My favorite feature is the “machinema toolbar” that takes a lot of great graphic settings and puts them at your fingertips. It is awesome for photography work or filming. The viewer also offers RLV and some great touches to the mapping system. A big selling point on this viewer, and why I tend to always go back to it, is its reliability. As viewer’s go, this thing is a tank. Even with ultra settings, it is hard for me to crash this viewer.

As of this posting, the viewer is considered the second most reliable in Second Life, just behind Firestorm based on crash rate. Combine that with the great graphics and high FPS and you have yourself a winner. There are some other great viewer I will be talking about in the future, but you owe it to yourself to give Dolphin a try.

Try the Dolphin Viewer here

Can SL break the bonds that RL sometimes places on us?

Meet my long time friend, Rick Aurotharius.

In Second Life, Rick is not very hard to miss. He is the ladies man with long flowing hair, chiseled and defined abs, and a keen way of being wicked and flirty, yet sweet anda gentleman at the same time. You can usually find him DJing at some of the better clubs in SL, spinning the latest metal or dance hits, or even rockin’ out some country music. There is almost always at least one attractive young lady nearby when Rick is around.

Rick Aurotharius also has cancer.

It is no secret really. Rick notes right there in his profile that he is a 60 year old guy battling stage 4 rectal cancer. He doesn’t mention that he has been fighting for a long time now, including a long stay in a nursing home. You can bet that while there, one true asset was his computer that let him come in to SL and do what he loves doing. He was kind enough to give me permission to discuss his illness in this posts, because that is the kind of guy he is.

Rick is not alone. I have a good friend in Second Life who is wracked by headaches and constant fatigue and is currently trying with the help of neurologists to find the cause of an ailment that has severely limited what she can do in real life. In Second Life, she has no such limitations.

The use of Second Life as a coping mechanism for real life medical limitations has been an interest of mine that blossomed with a real life experience of mine when, due to some poor behavior in my youth, I landed in a hospital facing not one, but two very invasive surgeries. All went well but the recovery left me severely limited for longer than I expected. Things all of us normally took for granted such as riding a bike, going for a walk or just hanging out in a social setting with friends, suddenly were taken away. In a word, it kind of sucked.Second Life was my way around my restrictions that health had placed on me.

At about that same time, I was given a notecard  from a friend in world. It has circulated a bit, maybe you have even read it yourself. It is an account of someone who meets an interesting man who is fascinated with sailing in Second Life. After initially perceiving a slow response from this person as a lack of interest, the writer of the notem who was using voice, discovered that the man was deaf. A lover of sailing in real life for years, the man now enjoyed sailing in Second Life.

I truly feel that one of the real missed benefits of Second Life is its ability to assist those who are coping with illness or handicap in real life. We hear and read a lot in  the media these days about the dangers of too much logged onto the net, buried in Facebook or texting  and video games. Some of the concern is surely warranted, but I have often wondered, and perhaps one day we will see, if Second Life could not be a tool used by physical therapists or even psychologists in treating real life handicaps.

SL resident Sw1tch Nirvana releases CD with in-world release event

Musician and SL resident Sw1tch Nirvana has released his first CD and is using SL to launch his music with an in-world “CD Release Party” at the club Pandamonia.

Switch’s release, entitled “Into The Mountains Of Madness” is currently available through Nirvana’s Reverbnation website. The release is available in both digital format and compact disk. Nirvan (aka Peter Natale) began playing music at the young age of 8, picking up an electric bass before switching to guitar as a teen, but that was just the beginning.

“I played loads of classic rock covers until I was about 18, then the guitar came along…thrash, heavy metal, death metal,” says Nirvana. “Then, at (age) 20, I got shown two turntables and a mixer. It was all over.”

Nirvana’s electronic music features an electro, house sound. The music reflect his influences that include BT, Deadmau5, Porter Robinson and Skrillex among others. The new release, according to Nirvana, was inspired by what was going on in his life.The entire process took about 10 months to come together. Nirvana says he feels that music, especially electronic music, has the power to touch people in various ways.

“Music is the natural healer, I think we can all benefit from it in some way,” said Nirvana. “whether it be for stress relief,  emotions we can’t say for ourselves, or just plain fun. It’s beautiful …and I’ve never been so proud of anything I’ve done like being an electronic musician.  I feel I actually connect on a different level with people more than with any other kind of music. “

As a resident of SL, Nirvana has discovered, like many other artist, that SL is a great platform to promote their RL artistic work. Switch is among many artist who have both influenced by the virtual world, and who have used to to promote their work.He says their is a huge benefit to working with SL.

“I see a huge benefit. People all over the world can experience the music you make from your own home, and be half way across the world,” he said “It’s really amazing!”

On Wednesday, March 28, Switch will perform at Pandamonia, a large venue located on the Retropolis sim.  Retropolis was recently featured on Treet.Tv’s “Designing Worlds” program. The event starts at 7 SLT with a short set by Missy Ember, followed by a performance from Nirvana that will include the tracks form his latest release.

Sw1tch Nirvana @ Reverbnation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/sw1tch

Pandamonia @ Retropolis Sim:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dream%20Reliance/173/180/2729

New mesh done by some old hands

Karma has been out shopping.

I have been checking out some of the new mesh offerings in Second Life with mixed results. I am not one of those folks who thinks mesh will change the face of Second Life as we now it, nor I am one of these who believes mesh is a curse upon all that is holy.

Some of what I have seen is fantastic. Some of it…uhm…not so much. A lot of what I call “hard goods” such as houses, structures and vehicles are where mesh really looks and functions well. However, presumably because this is where the money is, designers immediately started applying mesh to clothing. In many cases, this is probably the most difficult and least beneficial use of mesh. It can be a hard fit. Since mesh can not be adjusted, if it isn’t perfect out of the box, it is NEVER going to be perfect.  Being an avi of realistic proportion (as in not 7 feet tall) this makes mesh tricky at best for me. Often the smallest size provided by a designer fits me with all the style of a pillow case.

One thing thing that is becoming clear to me is that, designers who have established themselves with sculpts and textures, are producing the best mesh products as well. If you’re a good designer – well, then you are a good designer.

Some of the mesh products I have found that I really like are my new steampunk leather jacket “Ruth” from Dirty Lynx, and my new Magician’s Hat from Wasabi Pills. Both stores have long been a staple of mine and their designers have been establishing themselves long before mesh rolled in. Dirty Lynx was one of the first stores i ever visited in SL and to this day I think the textures in their clothing is still some of the best on the market. Wasabi Pills has always created well done hair style with just a bit of whimsy without being over the top.

So, if you are wanting to try out some new mesh products, my advice it to simply look at see what your old tried and true favorite designers of non-mesh clothing are doing. Chances are, they are creating something good.

Dirty Lynx

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bytegang/130/208/32

Wasabi Pills

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Coraline/206/135/53

Advanced Experience Tools Preview

Hey there! While I am out enjoying some much needed RL spring weather (and cheering on the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA basketball tournament!) I thought I would share some new development tools that LL is working on. Along with the pathfinding tool I blogged on earlier,  LL is also working on  what thay call “Advance Experience Tools”. Go Cats!

More info from the SL blogs here:

Advanced Experience Tools Preview.

What does where we are going in Second Life say about us?

So there I was, slumming and looking about online when I stumbled upon a list of the top 25 most visited sims in Second Life. I learned that these monthly figures are often posted by the folks over at New World Notes. (A great read if you really want to know what’s going on behind the scenes in Second Life.) This list was interesting and, for me, a bit depressing:Image

Never one to miss the obvious,  my first thought as a I looked through the list of sims was, “Wow! Is everyone really THAT horny?” I mean, let’s look at the very top, right below our number one destination of London City. In second place, and by second place I mean the SECOND MOST VISITED SIM IN ALL OF THE WHOLE FRIGGIN’ GRID, we have “Sexy Nude Beach“. Now, color me a skeptic, but the name itself sort of makes you wonder about the creativity you will find on this sim.

“Hey, this is a really sexy nude beach. What are we going to call it?”

“How about Sexy Nude Beach?”

“Works for me!”

Don’t laugh. Why do you think THEY are number two and the folks down at plain old Nude Beach are number 22? It does manage to get way more descriptive as you journey down from the top of the list. Bukkake Bliss Island anyone? …anyone? The list goes on with Escort Oasis, Chained Desires and Bondage Ranch, with the forementiond Nude Beach bringing up the rear. With places like Sexy Nude Beach and Bondage Ranch doing so well, I am a bit shocked that Escort Oasis can stay in business. Like mom always said, why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free? (If only I knew back then that she was not encouraging me to be a dairy farmer.)

What really makes me sad is what you will NOT find on the list. Instead of naming my favorite sims, let me ask you to think of three or four of yours. Think of those places that you visited that just totally blew you away with what they where able to achieve. Those places that show what you are truly capable of producing in Second Life. Now, how many of the places that you thought of are on this list?

Is everyone really just coming here to get laid? I mean,are we all taking the time to log in, create an avitar, learn how to move and work a viewer, then listen to somone bitch that you are using the wrong viewer and ultimately learning that the two most important letters in SL are “A” and “O”  …all done just to get our rocks off?

Now, don’t call me prude. Karma loves a good romp on a well made set of poseballs as much as anyone. There is a reason the folks down at Xcite customer service know me on a first name basis! On the other hand, Second Life is about so much more than what this list shows.

As much as they hate us, and they clearly do, the folks at Linden Labs have basically given us a world that is a blank slate and have provided us with a set of tools …and left the rest up to us. A lot of folks have taken that challenge and put their hearts and minds into creating some truly amazing places. Inside those spectacular worlds we can meet people, fly a spaceship through the stars, pilot a sailboat at sunset, dance on a floating palace in a purple sky, be harassed by vampires. It makes me sad to think about what people are missing out on. Then again, to each his own. If somone is going to find their true bliss at Bukaki Bliss, who am I to deny them that joy? I just think they might be missing out on the real bliss that lies in the sims that, sadly, you will not find on this list. Clearly the method with which we promote the various destination to the best that Second Life has to offer is broken.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am heading down to Really Sexy Nude Beach for a swim.