Friday, March 31, 2017

Scenes From the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Press Day

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference is going on this week. Last week on Sunday March 19, the Newser was invited for an early peek on the Press Day.

The theme for this year's conference: "Legacy." It had been ten years since the first VWBPE conference in Second Life. And so the people of the organization want to celebrate their past successes in addition to looking forward to what the future will bring and what the present has to offer.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." This wasn't just a theme, it would be the theme of one of the discussions on the first day of the conference.

Noted blogger Strawberry Singh was there. She would do her own article about the VWBPE.

There was a press badge giver we could pick up one from.

And there were souvenir sailor hats one could also get.

One could teleport to various spots using the interactive maps in various spots.

One spot we were shown was the Legacy area, still under construction, that looked back at the previous nine years of the VWPBE.

 We would be shown other areas.

 Including the auditorium

 Then came the place that was named the Social Area.

At one point, we were directed to some stairs leading down (hold your breath).

The stairway led below to an underwater area, of plants and fish around the remains of an ancient town.

 We then headed inside the Social Area building.

 Inside was an opening to the water below, and an underwater scooter.

After the tour was done, we were invited to take rides on it (the scuba gear was my own, not provided by them).

 Back down into the watery underwaterworld to explore

Stay clear of the tentacles.

Back on the surface, I had a little more time to explore the Social Area building before events called me away

Saturday April 1 is the last day of the VWBPE conference. There is much to see and some to hear. So if you have some spare moments, have a look.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sci-fi Convention in Second Life

By Grease Coakes

Most people in second life know that Relay For Life is a huge force in the grid as many teams compete to raise lindens to turn into real money to fight against cancer in the real world. Second in itself is a virtual experience with a sci-fi theme. Log in into a world where anything is possible from creating a fantasy or sci-fi environment. Also you can meet people from around the globe whether in your own country or somewhere else in the globe. So Second Life is an excellent medium to present a sci-fi convention which is subtitled passport to Hope.

The 2017 Sci-Fi Convention is held at Forty Two (103/124/23) and you learn about it here From March 24th until April 2nd this year you can stop by and have a galaxy of fun with vendors, DJs, and events. I was surprised to find a Klingon city that was empty (I guess the Klingons killed everyone and went back to Kronos). And also I was surprised when I found  Jadziyah Resident’s shop which had rockets from Tintin the European comic. I couldn’t help it but to buy the rocket where Tintin flew to the moon in one  of his adventures.

The sim was spilt up into earth,fire,water,air,life, and equilibrium as themes. All throughout the convention I saw lots of exciting things such as a RP area based on Star Trek. Also a theater which had real life photos of actors and a special actress that passed away recently. It showed actors such as Alan Rickman who played Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Also Carrie Fisher who was princess Leia in the Star Wars movies. Inside was a stargate from the Stargate movie and a huge Doctor who display.

At 3pm SLT I found a theater play called “The Lucid Journey.” Where a woman’s husband named Lewis Liddell is presumed dead. His wife still alive to take a journey in a dreamscape and beyond to find him. The character’s dialogue was in green text as the avatars were on stage. It was great to watch. There’s also scheduled events and a dj here and there. I saw lots of vendors selling Star Trek goodies and a few Star Wars vendors selling lite sabers.

I grabbed Ariadne Fall, who was one of the people in charge of the convention, and asked her what her thoughts were about the sci-fi convention and she had this to say, "It's wacky and fun, exhibitors form all over the grid, and events every single day....  it's proof of what pixel people can do when they believe in something. We love sci-fi and we hate cancer.  It's that simple."

I asked her, "What's your fave sci-fi movie, book series, whatever?"

Ariadne told me, "Ooohhhhh, good question!  'Biting The Sun' by Tanith Lee for favorite sci-for book. ...and favorite movie is a choice I cannot possibly make... if 'Earth Girls Are Easy,' 'Evolution,' 'Demolition Man' are on, I watch!"

One of the things people hope for in the future is that the human race destroys cancer. We always look for a future such as star trek where racism is a thing of the past and equality for all is what people strive for. The sci-fi convention here in second life is one cosmic leap in that direction.

Grease Coakes

Friday, March 17, 2017

CENT Discussion at Ethnographia

By Deaflegacy

The session at CENT place was in text/voice.  Shyla the Super Gecko (krijon) was the host.  The presentation is about the new organization Shyla helped create, which is for disabled people doing business on Second Life.  Shyla started the presentation off with some words about CENT.

"CENT stands for Capable Entrepreneurs Nurturing Talent. It is an organization for people with a disability of any kind, or who are friendly to us, to come together to network, share ideas, and grow the capabilities within our own community.  It is an idea I was bouncing around for quite a while before I first spoke about it with a friend. I have a lot of ideas, but it generally takes me quite a while to do something with them. I like them to be just right." said Shyla.  "Not sure how long my friend and I talked about this idea amongst ourselves, but we thought about bringing it to one of the Ethnographia chats. In December, at an Ethnographia chat, folks were trying to think of something to do for the holiday. There were lots of suggestions, all of them would require effort, commitment, and time."

"Many of the builders on these islands are also entrepreneurs in Second Life. I play it being an entrepreneur, I’m more an artist. I own a business in Second Life, but I more dedicated to my art, which is poetry. Either way, I know the holidays are a busy time for entrepreneurs as well as artists in Second Life.  I have thought about taking my art to an entrepreneurial level in Second Life, but I’ve not done not yet. I use Second Life’s open mics and opportunities to read my works as motivation to pursue artistic efforts in the real world, so to speak, since I am particularly homebound." said Shyla.  "But I did start a business at some point last year, and it was very eye-opening. It’s not easy. Perhaps, and I think this is true, it gets easier over time, but it gets busier too. What I mean is, running a business in Second Life involves certain skills, and if you don’t have them, knowledge of where to find them, or who can assist with them.  Over time, many entrepreneurs learn a variety of skills in Second Life. Thus, some of the earlier efforts we engaged in as business people would be easier today. But if entrepreneurs in Second Life successful, their business grows, and with it grow the demands of the business for their time, their creativity, their skills. So it is not as if becoming easier means it demands less time."

Shyla continued on with the presentation and said, "So to that conversation last December, it seemed to me most all of us might be very busy time of year, something someone who is not a Second Life entrepreneur might be completely unaware of. I mean, when I was new, everything in this virtual world was kind of like magic. One day it wasn’t here, the next day there something was as if it happened in just a moment.  That aspect of 'magic' is part of what makes what entrepreneurs in Second Life do so valuable. Many have no idea how to do these things or to put together a project or to maintain a sin or to protect the Sim, or to stream music or media, how to place an advertisement in the Second Life directory, who might be best to network with, whose for real and who’s a con, and so on.  But the reality is, and for those of us who have become skilled creators in one or more areas of Second Life, be it in creating prims or providing services, these are skills which we have acquired over time with the help of those who came before us. It took us time to sort out networking."

"Heck, for some of us it took time to believe we had something to contribute to the virtual world at all.  And now, for some of us, we contribute more than we ever imagined. And yet, we wonder what more we could do. If we just knew the right person to work with, the right person to share skills with, who knows the amazing things we could do?  What I know is becoming a creator in Second Life, opening my first business here, which is, again secondary to my art, as I have learned a lot. It is given me a great respect for what everyone does, builders, scripters, textures, customizers, service providers, DJs, organizations, coordinators, and the list goes on.  Second, I feel empowered. I feel better about myself, my relationship with the virtual world, and that I have something to contribute.  And this is what I hope CENT has to offer others in our community. That we may share, grow, flourish, prosper and be more empowered together.  This is probably the more ethereal view of CENT."

Shyla went on to say that at the core, they are entrepreneurs, and to steal from a blog post, which provides a whole lot more information on the vision of CENT (, they work. It is how they earn their living and become self-sufficient.

"Work is not a dirty word, but it does imply a pay-off. And I believe this idea is central to CENT’s success." said Shyla.  "The vision is an organization of Capable Entrepreneurs, who define Capable as they so choose. Business people aligned with the idea that we serve ourselves best if we are as self-sufficient as possible.  With CENT, we can organize ourselves so we can readily identify member scripters, builders, idea generators, marketers, and so on. Not so we can ask each other for favors, but so that we can share ideas and engage each other in business; offering compensation both parties can agree on and benefit from.  Finally, as a group we know others gave their time to use, freely and without question, as they were able. In so doing, they gave us the gift of success. We wish to pass this on, to Nurture Talent of those who wish to give this self-sufficient way of life a try. Some gave time in the way of encouragement, others via online tutorials or manuals and others with one-on-one training. None gave us all their time, but they gave some – and as our skills grow and we become more adept at running our businesses successfully, we wish to emulate those who helped us, as good citizens, offering what we can while still sustaining the businesses we build."

"In this way we can further grow the disabled business community and give, from what I can see, one of the greatest gifts of all – an opportunity to see ourselves in a positive way, a successful way, as self-sufficient individuals participating in the virtual world as a whole, with a viable voice that is worth hearing and a message which demonstrates inclusiveness is good, solid business for everyone. Hopefully, someday, this will be CENTs legacy: We came together, worked together, helped each other and demonstrated how capable we all are." said Shyla.  "For today, CENT is here, it is free to join and wants to hear your voice, help support your goals and offer hope to those who might follow us into business in the virtual worlds. We’d be honored to have you join us."

Tom Bukowski and Tredi Felisimo were the people who gave CENT the space to put the building on.  As Shyla puts it, "Tom and Tredi gave us the space to put this building on. And it will be the membership who determines what goes inside." Shyla said.  "Jayden created these logo options for us."

"It's a lovely building, but we had nothing to do with it - it's all CENT's wonderful creation!" said Tom.  "Great logo indeed - both versions!"

"Truly our honor and pleasure!" said Tredi.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Relay For Life Season Kickoff

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday March 5 at 10 AM SL time, the Relay for Life's official fundraising season had it's Kickoff event. The first events had actually been the day before when "Paint Second Life Purple" had started, so this made for a little confusion as too which was the official start. But this being the "Kickoff," this was.

 This year's theme was "Passport to Hope." a reminder that the struggle against cancer is an international one. Yours truly was there representing his community's team: the Sunbeamers.

Speaking to the crowd was the Relay Committee.

Some were a little more relaxed than others.

Gem Sunkiller was a bit "Stilted" from a glitch.

IshtarAngel, Micheline, one of the photographers of the event.

Henning Lionheart aka "The Wolf" of Team Strange Journeys.

Tasha Fairplay

Wildstar Beaumont, Holocluck Henley, and Oldesoul Eldemar. Olde is wearing a "Shady Fox" t-shirt.

Bain Finch and Panza Elde.

Isolte Ember, the captain of the "Ponies for Life" team.

Kalila Mahoney's avatar complexity was a little high, so she wasn't showing on some people's viewers.

This lady was wearing a mask, though it looked a little like the "dirty binoculars" prank from years ago.

RacerX Gullwing of the Giant Snail Racing team and Arizona Ballinger.

Avariel Falcon was a little late to the event, but made it over.

At one point, they were discussing the new "Passport HUD."

The Passport HUD, named after this year's theme, is a new tool one has to use this year to get certain Relay tools, such as the Relay team kiosks. This year, the kiosks cannot simply be passed around freely.

Looks like something broke. I myself ended up crashing several times

At one point, many of us were in a conga dance.

Some other girls were doing their own dancing. Note one nearby avatar that would not fully rezz.

 Some of the "Tiny Chrononauts."

Eventually, the Kickoff was over. But there would be a large number of events that day, as well as the Fashion for Life that had started. Once again, it was time to Relay. Time to once again raise money to help the American Cancer Society in it's effort to find treatments and funds against cancer, and have a little fun while doing so.

Already after less than a week, a few teams have already hit Gold rank in the fundraising totals. My own team, the Sunbeamers, haven't raised much so far as we've already had to raise funds for a friend in need. But we're expected to soon catch up. You can find our kiosks at Club Cutlass in Sunweaver Bay  (114/117/757), the Happy Vixen at Purrfection Estates (236/219/24), and the SL Newser office at HV Community (140/85/25).

On one amusing note, "Stinky the Relay Skunk" is back. Already one team has been "skunked." So this is sure to mean a number of skunk parties, and no doubt a few SL skunks dropping in.

For a recording of the RFL Kickoff, Bain Finch made one available at . Wildstar Beaumont made some pictures available on his Flickr page.

"Go Relay!"

Bixyl Shuftan