Sunday, 13 December 2009

The difference between rumour and fact

Wow, I was just called "an angry person" because I took action to determine whether a statement presented as fact was actually true. Apparently it's socially unacceptable to question what is spoken in group chat in SL. (I must have missed that memo.)

It's amazing how firmly attached some people get to their opinions, even — or perhaps especially — when these are totally unfounded. Her reaction to my proving that the rumour was false, was to reject my proof and continue to believe.

She stated as fact (in a scripting group) that Linden Labs are in the process of outlawing third-party viewers. I countered by quoting from an official SL blog post which explicitly states that they support and encourage third-party viewers. She replied by stating "I am on Gov Linden land and LL has a questionnaire about banning 3rd party viewers etc." So I had her TP me there to see.

Let's take a few points in order.

1) Just because a privately-owned shop (n.b.) is on Linden-owned land, does not follow that Governor Linden inspected and approved the shop's contents. But even if that were so:

2) An object created by person A (not a Linden) and purchased by person B (also not a Linden) does not magically become "a Linden object" by being rezzed on Linden land. But even if that were so:

3) Please look at the object that you are entering in evidence. Out of 85 responses to date, only nine said that 3pv's should be banned. Clearly if the Lindens are influenced by this object, then they must retain third party viewers, not ban them!

Actually, y'know, perhaps I am an angry person. I'm sure as hell angry at her for wasting the group's time and attention. Bygones, away with it (makes crumpling-up and throwing-away gestures).

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


I just bought 34 thousand square metres of mainland.

I'm feeling somewhere between excited (huge tracts of land!) and terrified (the tier! my gods, the tier!!)

It's not my land as such, it's ex-Play as Being land that a group of us decided to rescue when it was put up for sale; but I am the one who did the work and signed the papers and (right now at least) is going to pay the tier. We'll see how this works out over time.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

On being a landowner

I did actually buy land after upgrading to a premium (paid) account, 512 square metres of mainland. It's near the coast, with what should remain an unrestricted view of the sea: the triangle of land between me and the ocean is "protected land." I've started building there, and have already run into the limits on land use.

In the real world, 512 square metres would qualify as a reasonable plot in many European cities; in SL it is tiny. The need for "camming distance" behind and around your avatar means that SL builds have to be at least four times the size of an equivalent space in RL — or have open sides, which is the alternative I chose.

I'm building a kind of tree-less treehouse: Platforms in the air, connected by ramps.

The second limitation is that a plot of this size can only support 117 prims. With two platforms, a sofa, two couples' dances, and a seating arrangement of cushions from the Lost Gardens of Apollo, I am already at 114. Oh noez!

I had noticed that there is a lot of land in this region for sale, three or four large plots going relatively cheaply at L$2.8 per metre, and considered upgrading my alts to premium accounts too, to bundle our tier allowance, but then left the idea there. Next day, the land had been bought up and was for sale again — for L$6 per metre. Bah. Missed my chance to become a low-density suburban-sprawl slum landlord.

Friday, 26 June 2009


Regarding that last post: I've done it, I have put my money where my mouth is and upgraded to a premium account.

Your turn.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

BBBC three: A sim of my own

Alicia asked:

You've been given a sim of your very own to use for free for one year. However, there are 3 rules. It cannot be residential, it cannot be commercial, and it has to be open to the public. What do you do with it?

This is an easy question, because it's something I have been thinking about since reading a recent NPIRL post about Second Life artists and the difficulty they have finding places (and prim allocations) to create and display their work.

I would use my free sim to become a patron of SL art. I would invite artists to build on the sim, and encourage the world to come and see. How exactly I would do this is unclear: how to choose just one (or four, or twelve, or whatever) artist from the hundreds in SL? Perhaps I'd just deed the land to NPIRL or some other such body and let them choose.

As I said I have been thinking about this. I've been in SL for nearly two years now; I am inworld every day, for up to 30 hours a week. This has become a significant part of myself, much of my emotional life takes place in SL now. And I'm doing it all on free accounts.

I have taken so much from the Lindens' world, I have found happiness and friendship and even love here, and while I do try to give back to the SL community (as a mentor, a contributor to the wikis and in various other ways) I am deeply and uneasily indebted to Linden Labs. Gods know how many megawatt-hours of their electricity and terabytes of their bandwidth I have consumed. But unless the Lindens take a cut from Lindex deals, they have not earned a penny from me.

Something about this makes me increasingly uncomfortable. Is "everything free forever" really a sustainable business model? And if it is not, what will happen to my friends — and my identities?

So I have been considering upgrading at least one of my selves to a premium account, reckoning up what I could afford to pay for the next two years. It's a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of running SL, I know, but it would ease my conscience and make me feel better about using their resources.

And as we know, premium account holders can own land. What would I do with my land? I don't need it for myself, I have a perfectly nice beach plot courtesy of Play as Being, which is quite adequate to my needs. I had thought about making my putative future land available to artists.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A realization

For many months now, I have been struggling during the discussions at Play as Being. The group spends less time on meditation than on metaphysical discourse these days, and the latter can often seem trite and futile. It strikes me as idiotic to say "that roundish, grey-striped stone over there doesn't really exist," when I could pick it up and throw it at you. These discussions distress and anger and confuse me.

I struggled with this for a long time, to try to understand and accept the mindview that sees no distinction between an image of a chair projected onto a movie screen and the physical chair that you are sitting in right now, dear reader; but I cannot. Some of my anger and confusion has been directed at myself, for being unable to see this, for being unable to follow my friends in their paths; some of the distress I have been feeling originates in the thought of being left behind as they progress.

Well, I was at a different kind of session last Friday, the old kind of discussion we used to have before the world turned so mystical/philosophical. We spent the hour in meditation and breathing exercises, and talking practically about them both. It was wonderful, I found it refreshing and relaxing and quite enjoyable. And a little light bulb went on in my head:

I do not need to understand or accept everything that everyone around me says and thinks, not even when those things are said and thought by people I respect. In fact, I don't even have to decide whether or not I understand. It is okay to say "I can't do that — yet;" maybe it is even okay to say "I may possibly never be able to do that." In the future I might understand, perhaps; but in the short term I have to reduce the amount of distress in my life. I shall be choosing more carefully which sessions I attend.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The sexiest boots in SL

sexy ankle boots
What happened was, I found a marvellous outfit on sale at Serene Sensations — but it needed a pair of fab boots to go with it. I called up my fashion adviser Eidolon and asked her "Where would you go for a pair of knee-high high-heeled patent leather boots? I need some drop-dead-sexy boots, some You can't afford me boots."

She laughed and gave me a stack of landmarks, and we started a shopping tour. Found these at the third store we visited, Bax Coen Designs, and it was lust at first sight. They were on sale, marked down 50% to a mere L$700, but I'd have paid the full price without batting an eye.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


I seem to have become a roleplayer in SL. I went to see the Exogenesis "dark sci-fi" RP sim created by Aloxis Bellman, Rin Tae and others, intending only to have a look at the design and gameplay aspects, but got caught up in a storyline and have decided to stay and play it out.

What happened was this: I had introduced Rin to Tarmel, who is researching RP and immersive gaming, and Rin took Tarmel to Exogen to have a look. Tarmel then offered to show me around, but forgot to tell me a crucially important piece of in-character information: leaving the central zone (where new characters arrive) is free, but it costs you a power cell to get back. Now, new players can collect a free power cell for the asking in that central zone, but I didn't know to ask and Tarmel didn't think to tell me. So we went off to an outlying station, where she left me.

At that point, I was stuck. TPing is severely frowned upon within Exogen, to the point that repeat offenders are expelled from the game. As an observer, I could of course have simply TPed back to the starting point and ignored the in-world sanctions. I could even have had one of my alts sign up and fly out to rescue me.

But for some reason, I didn't do either of those things. I decided to join the RP and remain stuck on the station until I could find a "proper" way back. To which end I seem to have signed up to become a medical technician.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Own horn, blowing

The brilliant and wonderful and somewhat exaggerating Corvi interviewed me for the Play as Being Chronicles. My favourite sentence from the interview: "We are all approximations and prototypes and just somehow doing the best we can."

I must go and soak my head in the tub for another hour, hopefully it will shrink back to normal size soon.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


Standing in the kitchen just now, I had an impulse to log into Second Life and see whether Corvi was online. When I got there, she IMed me to say "I was thinking of you two minutes ago, wishing you would log in."