A perfect sea urchin

A Second Life

This area belongs to Iyoba, my favorite avie from Second Life and me. We share our thoughts here and discuss our adventures in the metaverse. To return to the main blog page, just click here.

Better Pictures than Linden Labs?

I read this piece on New World Notes some days ago, and I'll weigh in along with Iyoba. Linden Labs Vampire is better than Iris Ophelia's. Ms. Ophelia's vampire may be technically perfect and not have any sharp angles or ugly spots, but the point with SL's promotional vampire is not a perfect photo or even a great one.

Rule one of every photograph in Second Life, or at least rule one for me is every picture tells a story, or more loosely, every picture captures something important. Linden Labs vampire picture is telling a basic story. She is coming out of the snow or mist. She is leaning toward the viewer and saying: "come with me into a world of mystery." OK, that might sell or it might now. Ms. Ophelia's vampire, by contrast, is just nicely posed. Maybe her picture says "look how beautifully and realistically I can pose a vampire." OK...but Linden Labs has the better story.

Iyoba rides a weather balloon in MeteoraOf course I have better stories than either Iris Ophelia or Linden Labs. This picture is a candid. I love shooting candids because these make the best avatar shots. Even if they are less than perfect, and this one clearly has a whole host of flaws. The rope goes through Iyoba's belly. She's too small, and you can't really see her face, but her face is not important. Riding a weather balloon, clinging by a rope in the vastness of the blue sky, is the point of the image, and this is an adventure available to any avie on Meteora.

In addition, Iyoba wears work-safe clothes. She is NOT a model. She carries no weapons. She is sweet and nonthreatening. The picture says: "At Second Life, you can have lots of high adventure, but it won't include being hazed because we have nice, friendly residents."

Iyoba is building a skirt wasteAnd yes, here is another wonderfully raw and flawed picture. I left the interface on which is fine because Iyoba is building something with a bottle sculptie on the lawn of the University of Maine's Black Bear Island. Building is a big part of life in Second Life. Iyoba is also wearing a very, work safe dress, so you can guess the additional message in this picture.

Iyoba sulks on a stumpThis picture has lots of bumps and points, but as with the others these are not the points. No, skirts don't always fall perfectly when you sit down. Since it is winter, Iyoba wears hunter green thigh highs under her pale green, knitted dress. My avie encounters a lot of snow.

What makes this picture promotional material is that despite the rough spots, Iyoba's pose on that lonely stump communicates a sweet, sad expression. Her downcast head carries the message that your avie can express emotions beautifully. Also, the pose brings Iyoba's large hands with their French manicure to the fore. Her hands are extremely realistic and one of her best features. I made her skin, so the French manicure is my own idea. Hands are a symbol of strength. Your avie feels emotions and shows them, but your avie can also be strong.

Iyoba rides a breedabull Iyoba with Geranimo and Wahidde in her garden

Of course avies are not the only life form in Second Life. Iyoba keeps several kinds of breedables. I promise some pictures of our Lily Frogs soon, but I haven't figured out how to photograph them. I've had my ups and downs with the small breedable, but I'll save that for another post.

In this case, Iyoba visited a pasture where Breedabulls roamed. Iyoba liked these fourteen prim beauties better than Amaretto horses. She just wishes they were still there, and yes you can ride them. See the fun you can have in Second Life. Getting the angle right on this image says it all. There is loads of harmless, happy fun in Second Life, and "real life" is to short for more misery online.

In the photo on the right, Iyoba stands in her garden surrounded by Geronimo, her lunar (white), male zwicky and in the background, Wahidde a scarlet, female Petable Turtle. These creatures, like the Breedabull, she just visited can reproduce themselves and require food, which means a monetary upkeep. This leads people to get scaird of them and class them with Farmville.

That's a shame because Iyoba and I really love our breedables. Second Life breedables return a lot of fun for the money spent. They also, once you make the initial investment including the land on which to rez them, have no pressure to level up or recruit others to help you. There are people who feel a pressure to make money on them and collect the rarest of the rare etc..., but that's optional.

Breedables are fun because you never know what you will get when they give birth. Turtle eggs are each one unique. Lily Frogs have a weird genetics I have yet to decipher. The zwickies birth once a week, and the male carries the offspring. They are chimeric, but if that's all you want your breedables to do....that's not enough for me.

Breedables, good ones, move. Zwickies will follow you and you can dance with them. They are balletic. I've danced with all my zwickies in the air. They are also great to photograph. Geronimo is even prettier than that breedable bull. They are high primage and really could be a bit more fecund, but low fertility, keeps the folks trying to make money with them happy. Good old supply and demand.

Geronimo and Mithras A rooftop full of Petable Turtles

For those who don't have the prims available to rezz zwickies (They are eight prims each!), there are Petable Turtles (Five prims each!). These move and come in a rainbow of colors. You can click alt and your mouse on them and follow them around or zoom in on them in Viewer 2/3. Then they move fast for tortoises. You can also edit the homing object to fit your land. Mine is usually a broken bottle for some reason. I have fourteen petable turtles, ten on the roof, and four in the garden. I'd never get to breed animals on this scale in real life. In the real world we spay/neuter our pets if we are responsible. Landlords have limits on the animals we can keep. You get the idea.

Those turtles on my roof say it all even though I caught most of them from the back. They are candy colored under a millet tree of my own invention. There is much to be said for happy, sweet fun, and Second Life has it.

rattus rattus Of course not all critters in Second Life are breedables. I was touring the partially-built Plague Village at Kirkwood Island (created by Kirkwood Community College) when I saw these little ones scooting across the floor. They are quite real and quite photogenic. "Real life" rats are fascinating creatures. Again, you never know what you will find in Second Life, but there is a lot here besides fake sex!

nautillusAnd Iyoba found this beautiful nautillus while diving in the Abyss on Second Earth 3. It is little more than a texture, but it makes a wonderful picture, and again, there is a lot of variety and realism in Second Life. Your mirror neurons will scream for more. Second Life feels real, and maybe even better!

Iyoba posed in Kittiplus ParkAll of this brings me to the last shot in this entry. This is one that looks like an exception to the rules. It is a posed shot, even though I took it very spontaneously. There was something gorgeous about the colorful setting against a night sky. Also Iyoba has brown skin and is wearing a brown dress, and her hair is brown. She is subtle despite the scarlet accents and accessories. The brown avie against the rainbow tree stand and lush leaves makes a wonderful study in contrasts. I guess the story in this picture is that in Second Life, the beauty is where you find it.

Finally, there are some pictures in this article (and words) that are conspicuous by their absence. On Christmas day, Iyoba and I rezzed four Lily Frogs. Iyoba loves them, but I have very mixed feelings about them. They are breeding. They do move. They are only four prims. I wish that were the whole story. I also have not figured out how to photograph them. I want to wait a bit longer before writing out all of my thoughts on them, and I want some good looking photos of them as well. Stay tuned. I'll try to crank an article about Lily Frogs before the end of the month.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba BatOni -- January 26, 2012

Some of the Best

Some of the best educational experiences in Second Life involve not PowerPoints, note card givers, or even boxes of freebies, but actual three-D role playing. Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words, so here are a few pictures and of course some SLURLs.

Lunch on the roof Let's start with Secnario Two on the Deakin University Health sim. This is a meeting, a luncheon on the roof of a building. At least they are not using the roof for dead space.

Iyoba has been in an accidentThere is only one small problem. Iyoba has been in an ...er...uh...accident. Now stairs are shall we say a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, there is an elevator, but looking around for it and operating it was not easy. Nor was finding a way to eat close to the table. This wasn't as bad as Salford University's OT House where the stair elevator did not work and someone had stolen the TV remote, but it was still one tough slog. And yes, it increased my sensitivity for those without two good legs.

Iyoba enjoys a game of chess Then we have the corner grocery on ECU V. ECU stands for East Carolina University.

No shirt, no shoes etc...The sign on the door makes it plain enough. Avies must be clothes and have a HUD in place to enter the store. Avies are hungry. There are plenty of good things to eat in the store. The HUD machine gave Iyoba a nice white HUD and....

Wrong HUD, Iyoba. You can't come inside!The store door was locked! Iyoba could not come inside. Avies with white HUDs were not allowed in thanks to the shop keeper who has discriminating taste in clientele, even if Iyoba's Lindens are the same color as everybody else'

For every problem there is a solution...well sort of...Fortunately, Iyoba is a clever avie. She cammed in adn sat on the Good Humor wagon. She loaded up on tacos and corn on the cob and several case goodies to bring back to starving avies and....

For every solution there is a problemLet's just say discrimination needs a bit of enforcement. There is always the threat of violence. This was my second visit to the grocery store and the first time I noticed a pair of equalizers under the counter. Fortunately, there was no store owner to use them. The threat was plain enough, nonetheless.

Now Iyoba just has to find some starving avies, and I am faced with a list that has nearly outgrown the usefulness of a spread sheet to contain it. I've realized that knowledge is the most valuable content in Second Life and that most educators don't know where half the content is. Well, I guess I can fix that, and I can do it much better than Iyoba's cam and sit trick. Always be careful. They might shoot at you in discriminatory grocery stores.

Eileen H. Kramer with lots of help from Iyoba Tarantal -- January 6, 2012