Tag Archives: virtual worlds

Visiting OSGrid

SD in OSGrid_001
Sylectra Darwin arrives in Havana, finding not much.

There is a lot of discussion going on about Linden Lab’s recent policy changes. Recently, XStreet SL has decided to charge content providers L99 per month to list a freebie item. Many of these content providers are altruistic and just want to share their work. Most content providers love creating stuff and have no hopes of making any money at it. So charging them for listing their freebie items is making them very angry.

They are often the ones who are paying a lot of tier on some sizeable land in SL. Yet SL is truly the biggest and most used 3D virtual world that’s not a game. We come back to it because of the richness of detail – the builds, the scenery, the people, and the content.

As other grids get past their operability hurdles, however, they will start to become competitive with SL. All that’s really needed is the completion of interoperability standards that allow avatars and their stuff to pass freely among the various worlds. For a decent couple of blog entries on the topic, see http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2009/11/why-second-life-needs-opensim/ and http://sorryafk.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/linden-lab-strikes-again/.

So it occurred to me that I haven’t really spent a lot of time visiting other worlds. Let’s see what else is out there, I told myself. I downloaded the Hippo viewer for Mac and visited OSGrid first.

Cascabel Emporium on Quirm, a Victorian themed storefront.

Aha – I’ve been here before – it remembers my email address and avatar name. I am reborn in the world with a basic “Ruth” shape but I quickly find a freebie avatar kit that contains jeans, hair and a hoodie. Yay.

Wanting to quickly wipe the newbie avatar stink off me, I head out to find more freebies that will at least help differentiate me from other avatars. In the process I hope to find content to buy.

In Cascabel Emporium on Quirm, I find a PrimBlender Importer for bringing my work in-world (once I know how to use PrimBlender, which I don’t). I take a free copy just in case.

Teleporting is an issue – can’t do a search in world and click the teleport. However, if you pull up a map you can teleport that way, or using SLURLs from regular web sites. Hmm. I am having trouble finding any recommendations of places to visit that also include SLURLs. Anyone have any recommendations?

Participate in events which live in both worlds

Friday, October 10, 2008

The NPR radio show Science Friday has been airing its shows with an added Second Life component. The team has designed a spiffy outdoor ampitheater and Ira Flatow has an avatar he uses in world to represent him. His producers read the questions and comments that fly by in chat, relaying the more interesting ones to Ira, who will acknowledge the questioner and answer the question on national radio. During this session, I was delighted to actually have him addresss one of my questions on the air. It was my fifteen seconds – hehe!

Following is my Coveritlive.com transcript of my notes I took live. Please forgive the rough nature of the notes.

Science Friday host Ira Flatow on Oct. 10 hosted a 2-hour radio show which ran on National Public Radio and also in Second Life, with opportunities for questions from both.

The show included guest Robert Colwell, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut.

Scientists have found a bacterium that is self-sufficient – contains all the tools they need to eat and grow.   Here’s a link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080929104601.htm

Off-duty Linden Prospero Linden attended the show in Second Life. “Self-sufficient bacteria should be able to take over the Earth,” he commented in the chat window during a discussion of the self-sufficient bacteria discovered near a gold mine. “They really CAN kill off all other species without worrying about themselves.”

View image

Visit Science School in Second Life
Be sure to visit the Science Friday Web site for background information about the guests and the topics discussed, as well as a replay of the show.
You can listen to the show live online at http://www.sciencefriday.com/about/listen/.
Bjorlyn Loon, the Science Friday group manager in Second Life, adds: “From Birth to Death and Bench to Clinic: The Hastings Center Bioethics Briefing Book for Journalists, Policymakers, and Campaigns http://www.thehastingscenter.org/publications/briefingbook/.”
Question: re: Congress getting pertinent information from lobbyists, why can’t legitimate science organizations provide information to Congress in addition to lobbyists?
Answer: There is an increasing effort on the part of nonprofits to provide good information to the government. Example: The Bioethics Briefing Book.
The Hastings Center is next working on a book about end of life issues like hospice care and palliative care.
Also, the Hastings Center is working on researching the ethics of performance enhancers such as steroids, etc.

The chat log is scrolling very fast now and people are vociferously debating the ethics of health care policy and how it should/can be made better.
*End of first hour**Second hour to start soon*
A law has been passed which classifies some forms of mental illness as coverable by health insurance. William C. Moyers, Vice President for Internal Affairs at Hazelton Foundation.
The biggest highlight is that Congress and the President have acknowledged that diseases like bipolar and depression are actual chronic diseases that need to be treated and included with other diseases in terms of coverage by private health care insurance.
So the bill is a major step in the right direction of acknowledging mental illness as a legitimate illness. This would affect businesses over 50 employees and are already covering addictions treatment. It would require the same copay for that kind of treatment as for other kinds of treatment that are not classified as mental illness.
Will insurers be able to refuse an application for insurance based upon a family history of mental illness? Moyers said he really didn’t know – it is possible. He said he is a recovering addict and alcoholic and he thinks being able to talk about one’s recovery is a healthy thing and not a negative.
Is addiction treatment a bipartisan issue?
The reality is that this is an illness that has reached across both aisles of Congress. We have a terrible problem with the War on Drugs where we just lock people up for being addicts. Governmental leaders are waking up to the idea that we need a different way to handle this by holding addicts responsible for seeking their own treatment for this.
Correcting an earlier attribution: Not “Hazelton” but “Hazelden” – http://www.hazelden.org/
Has there been an emergence in this country as talking about addiction as a form of treatable illness.
Stat: Only 25% of people who need treatment for addiction ever get it in this country. (needs attribution)

Question: Does the new law limit the number of visits to the doctor for treatment? It’s not a carte blanche and companies need to be able to limit the overall costs of health care, but the point of the bill is to make the treatments for mental illness and addiction treated in the same way by insurance companies (copays, etc.) as other kinds of illnesses, for companies that cover both already.
Broken: My Story of Redemption and Addiction is the name of Moyers’ book.
Next segment: Gardening
Gardening all year long: four-season gardening.
Most important ingredient for a buffer crop in your own back yard is COMPOST.

Find out why your compost heap just isn’t working.
First guest – Barbara Damrosh, owner of Four Season Farm in Brooksville, Maine and a Washington Post correspondent.

Maine is very cool, moist climate, but not a lot of sun. Growth is pretty much continuous so right now there is just harvesting going on.
ABCs of fall gardening:
1. Clean up any debris or weeds.
2. Put down a couple of inches of well-rotted compost to begin soaking in
If you don’t have to till or dig you can get started more quickly in the spring.
If you want to get crops in early winter, you have to sow crops in early fall or late summer. Some areas are still okay to start this stuff. Look for unusual greens that do well in cooler areas like asian greens, etc.
If you’re in the South you probably can leave them in the regular ground. But if you’re farther north you need to use a cold frame in the ground.
Some of the root crops do very well in colder soil.

Debra Martin on worms and composting. You can set up a worm bin in your home with a plastic storage container of about 14 gallons. Your worms will eat a couple of pounds of kitchen compost per week. The soil should not be too wet but only lightly moist. Martin started her bin with about 200 red worms from a fishing bait store.
Interesting: red worms like warmer environments like manure rather than wild worms which are for the most part night crawlers and like cooler temps.
Preparation of the worm bin – drill some holes in it about 6 inches apart for air flow.
Shred some 3-inch pieces of wet newspaper, mix in a cup of compost and a cup of soil to help the worms digest the food.
Throw in a cup of corn meal to start the food. Mix well and add worms.
When are the worms ready for the kitchen scraps? Not long – a couple of days. Monitor the bin by lifting the lid – if there is a lot of condensation or the worms are near the top, it may be too moist and you’d want to prop the lid up for a while to air it out.
Worms don’t tend to like anything with a potential to grow, as in seeds. They like:
coffee grounds and filters
tea bags
apple cores
bad spots on veggies
egg shells
bread crust
moldy bread
cooked vegetables (not greasy or salted)
NOT onions or citrus
Damrosh has a compost bin outside.
Flatow says there is a video on the Web site about how to make a compost tea out of worm compost. I think it is this one: http://www.sciencefriday.com/videos/watch/10112
Correcting the spelling – not “Damrosh” but “Damrosch”
Managing larva in your compost bin – scrape them off and remove them.
Bury the food in the compost soil to make the scraps more available to the worms and also to discourage the flies from being attracted.
Damrosch’s book can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Primer-Second-Barbara-Damrosch/dp/0761122753
Other ways to garden when it’s cool:
floating row cover
wall of water
cold frame
Martin’s book info can be found here (as well as her Web site with lots more info about composting): http://www.compostgardening.com/
Martin – on the care of the worms and harvesting the compost :
dump the compost out on a piece of newspaper in a lighted place in a volcano shape. Gradually scoop off the top and sides of a cone. The worms will continue burrowing to the center to avoid the light, and in this way you can get compost for the garden without getting your worms. Use a soil sifter to get the rest of them before putting the compost in your gardens.

The author of this blog gardened in Oklahoma for 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed it (except for weeding in August!). I got a strange pleasure from handling the worms, but I didn’t know to try out the red worms. I just had night crawlers. But my compost bin was a great design – like two farm pens with a lower dividing section in the center. Both sides had a gate with latch so you could easily turn the pile from one section to the other. Bricks were underneath.
Can you compost with seaweed? Yes, you can – has lots of nitrogen and trace elements and composts very easily. Shells are also wonderful for the compost bin and will gradually break down. Lobster shells and similar chitin coverings also will compost, a bit more quickly than the clam shells.
“Worms Eat my Garbage” by Mary Hasselhoff
Great starter book on worm composting.

Can you grow mushrooms in the worm bin in your house? I asked and Ira repeated on national radio. Answer: Yes, we’ve grown mushrooms in worm compost before. It’s worth a try.

These notes were taken using the online live blogging tool coveritlive.com. If you haven’t yet tried this tool, you really will like it. See the CoveritLive.com transcript and get a link to the site so you can try it too.

Try out an SL ride

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Nostrum Forder gave me a simboard lesson this weekend so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot while playing with my new toy.

Sylectra Darwin: help me understand how to change the design.
Sylectra Darwin: It’s asking for a texture but when I opened the Paw Prints design there was only a script in there and no texture.
Nostrum Forder: What version of the simboard do you have?
Sylectra Darwin: 4.3
Nostrum Forder: OK
Sylectra Darwin: Just updated it
Nostrum Forder: Rez the board [pull the object from inventory onto the ground]

The simboard talks on the main chat channel to give extra hints and information.

FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: -Click board for Menu-
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Startup Tip: Hold C and any movement key to roll & tilt if you fall over.
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Stand Position Adjusted.
Nostrum Forder: Do you have the design?
Sylectra Darwin: I do, it’s a folder called Simboard Paint Job: Paw Print
Nostrum Forder: Are there instructions in it.
Sylectra Darwin: And it has a script in it called Simboard Paint Job: PawPrint
Sylectra Darwin: No.
Nostrum Forder: You put that script into the simboard.
Nostrum Forder: Edit your board.
Sylectra Darwin: And when I open the script it says I don’t have permission to see it.
Nostrum Forder: Drag the script from inventory into the contents tab.
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: If this script is in your simboard, Touch the board to activate retexture process. (Ignore the boards menu for this process)
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Setting Texture.. Please wait..
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: No image found. Make sure you have a full perm texture in the boards inventory.
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Make sure the image shows in the boards inventory before clicking ‘Set Design’
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Paw Print design is now set.
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: Texture script is now removing itself to minimize lag.
Nostrum Forder: there you go.
Sylectra Darwin: I dragged the script into the content folder
Sylectra Darwin: hey!
Sylectra Darwin: that worked!
Sylectra Darwin: Glad not EVERYTHING is hard.
Sylectra Darwin: OK, I am ready for my lesson, Nossie.
Nostrum Forder: before you get on.
Nostrum Forder: click on it and open the menu
Nostrum Forder: and click “engine”
Sylectra Darwin: ok
FS4.3 SIMBOARD: Vetox Mono: -Directly click engine panel to select options-
Sylectra Darwin: ok
Nostrum Forder: this part is a little tricky.
Nostrum Forder: You want to get the settings down to where you can control it.
Sylectra Darwin: I see the warning about taking a copy
Sylectra Darwin: OK
Sylectra Darwin: so less power, right?
Sylectra Darwin: lol
Nostrum Forder: You have to cam to where you can see it [alt-click on the engine panel to orient the point of focus and then zoom in].
Sylectra Darwin: OK, I see F_Gain 10.00
Sylectra Darwin: There are up and down arrows on the board
Sylectra Darwin: Plus and minus buttons too
Nostrum Forder: Press the up arrow until you see “Speed”
Sylectra Darwin: rez…rez [all the controls were shown with textures, which take a long time to load in Second Life]
Nostrum Forder: and then press minus until you have it set to 5.
Nostrum Forder: It’s a pain.
Sylectra Darwin: I hate texture-dependent interfaces.
Nostrum Forder: textures are a huge problem in SL.
Sylectra Darwin: yes.
Sylectra Darwin: what’s the default setting for speed?
Nostrum Forder: all of this should be addressable by commands
Sylectra Darwin: I am still waiting for the words to rez
Nostrum Forder: I dunno. Mine was 7.
Sylectra Darwin: Maybe they are through the HUD [a user interface with menus visible to the person but not anyone else]?
Nostrum Forder: that’s it
Sylectra Darwin: okay, found it
Nostrum Forder: Make it 5
Sylectra Darwin: ok, got it
Sylectra Darwin: what next, my guru?
Nostrum Forder: Click, get the menu, and press engine to close.
Sylectra Darwin: We’re just adjusting speed?
Nostrum Forder: Right
Nostrum Forder: now we ride

Sylectra Darwin: I’m looking for my copy I just made
Nostrum Forder: Just ride this one.
Sylectra Darwin: ok
Nostrum Forder: Use the arrow keys to control speed and turn
Nostrum Forder: OK
Nostrum Forder: Here’s a tip
Sylectra Darwin: it’s a little disconcerting
Nostrum Forder: View menu
Sylectra Darwin: no brakes
Nostrum Forder: Back arrow slows you
Sylectra Darwin: view menu?
Nostrum Forder: down arrow
Nostrum Forder: View menu – Show Property lines [on the View menu of the Second Life program, there is a check box item to show or hide property lines]
Nostrum Forder: Stay in the blue boundaries.
Nostrum Forder: 🙂
Sylectra Darwin: what happens when you cross?
Nostrum Forder: Nothing usually
Nostrum Forder: but if there’s a ban line
Nostrum Forder: it sucks
Sylectra Darwin: then all hell breaks loose?
Nostrum Forder: left-up

Nostrum Forder: Now for the more interesting ones
Nostrum Forder: hold “page up” and press left or right arrow
Nostrum Forder: this causes you to spin
Nostrum Forder: which also kills your forward velocity.
Sylectra Darwin: that’s actually a good thing if I go out of control
Nostrum Forder: also try the combinations of arrow keys
Nostrum Forder: left-down
Nostrum Forder: press left and right puts you into a “crouch”
Nostrum Forder: Press left, right, and up and you’ll go Real Fast. Be careful with it.
Nostrum Forder: press up and down together, you’ll do a “layout” on the board.
Nostrum Forder: the page-down button controls rolling
Nostrum Forder: Try page-down and left together
Nostrum Forder: You need some forward momentum

I went upside down. So sorry, I didn’t get a pic of that for you to enjoy. The film didn’t turn out. 😉

Sylectra Darwin: holy crap!
Nostrum Forder: You can also forward-roll or backward-roll with page-down and up or down
Sylectra Darwin: um…
Nostrum Forder: nice face plant
Nostrum Forder: If worse comes to worse, edit yourself back. [right-click on the simboard and select Edit, then choose the Rotation radio button and drag the directional markers until the simboard is right-side up again]
Sylectra Darwin: thanks
Sylectra Darwin: haha
Sylectra Darwin: thanks for the lesson!

I think I did pretty good. Only one completely stupid moment.