Tag Archives: Second Life

Second Life had a less virtual life cycle

The Secondlife Ballad of Balder and Odile
NEUFREISTADT, COLORADO– While Odile and Balder succumbed to the seemingly infinite potential of virtual surreality, younger tech-weaned eyes were never fooled, Second Life was a game. Hello? Just. A. Game. Yes, we could recognize the learning curve and ever-fading novelty, yes our immersion was obsessive, but what value have intimate explorations if less than fully lived? Second Life offered idealized selves, idealized travel, social opportunity and locomotion beyond perhaps the reality of many. It could also provide surroundings of your design, to those players who could afford it. While our little native gamers moved on to single-player Sims games where your custom-built world wasn’t going to be compromised by others, we persevered, albeit in virtual retirement, trying to read SL’s future like traders studying the market. I wonder if we didn’t find our level maxed when we uploaded our real life Colorado backdrop to upholster our virtual homestead.

Putting my best Facebook forward

Video Snapshot 7
For real in virtual reality.
 
I’ve constructed an image of myself on Facebook. I did MySpace too, just in case my cyber hologram lacked a dimension. What dimension, a fourth? Before that my virtual world representative was an avatar in Second Life. I make this distinction because I’m online already, in a blog. If that’s not a proxy of myself too.

What is left of me off line in the old three dimensions? So much of my resources are spent updating and uploading to fashion my idealized electronic profile. But I discover that my ability to keep my best side facing toward the camera, so to speak, escapes my control just like real life. Other have pictures. Deeds are linked, past words, past lives, with no degrees of separation. We have Google to thank for pinning our press clippings to our shoulders. It’s as if our business card now comes attached with our personal Rolodex.

I’m deluding myself obviously to cling to selective anonymity. We’ve all taken our first steps unto the internet with alter ego usernames in sundry chat rooms, user groups and forums, revealing our true selves behind web masks. Who we are in-world soon approximated who we are out, as N approaches an infinity of monkey archivists. For flakes who think they can tailor their best Face[book] forward, no respite.

Except that it feels like the real world me has become a facade too. I think I’ve become an empty vessel, discarded like an outgrown skin, untended, un-watered because everything’s going online. What do photographs of the actual me represent anymore? Pictures of me when I used to inhabit the real world. Pictures of me wanting to be online.

Eavesdropping on a tree in the forest

Moon over clock tower Neufreistadt SLNEUFREISTADT, SL- Wandering a little in Neufreistad last night I came upon a chain hanging from a clock tower. Pulling it would ring a bell far above. It was night in Second Life, the moon and I were alone in the NFS sim, mine the only avatar even in the surrounding sims. The obvious question arose, if I were to ring this bell with no one around, would anyone hear it?

Do I know enough to say? A sim owner or manager, that is to say the person who owns that virtual estate or the person given authority to run it, can monitor SL activity without being online. They have a bird’s eye view, or so I understand, an extrasensory perception relating to the realm for which they are responsible. Ordinary users can see and hear what’s in our vicinity, and can sharpen our sight depending on how lifelike we want our faculties. (actually we can eavesdrop too, with virtual bugs to spy on virtual happenings.) Sim admins have meta power.

Above them, Linden Labs, the real world laboratory which houses Second Life, oversees the mechanics of their virtual creation. Their view is that of lab technician over the maze, watching the mouse try to find the cheese, omnipresent and unobserved if only because of their irrelevance to the reality below.

I cannot say whether any are listening, but I do know that they could. Such is the unexplored, but not indefinite world of virtual reality. You may not have been there before, but someone has, and certainly someone tends to it and has an interest in checking in. And that’s not even to consider the NSA.

Is there a real world anymore where you can act on a thought unobserved? With Google Earth, as an example of surreptitious satellites, could a tree fall, anymore, unheard? Can you travel in your car, sit in your room, whisper out of earshot of your cellphone, and feel you have privacy?

In cyberspace, surveillance is inescapable. But in the virtual dimension, whose landscape is it that’s being watched? Does the virtual world exist on your computer screen as much as it lies your head? From which are the spooks reporting?

The virtual attraction of Balder and Odile

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The Second Life ballad of Balder Laasonen and Odile Glineux.
 
 
(Warning: some
adult content)
 

Skybox in Georgiana
Skybox dance

Kiss
Georgiana

Beverly Newbillies
First Land in Bevery Hills, Anshe Dreamland

sl-2-embrace-by-fireplace.jpg
Fire

sl-2-group-pookca-hildreth.jpg
Friends

Exploring
Adult

Pool in South African community
Knysna

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Eyeglasses

Odile rides over the moon
Odile rides over beach house

Parking
Back in high school

Private Dancer
Privacy

Retrospective
Virtual multimedia

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Block Island

Against the bathroom
Trying a script

Detente at the bar
At the rec room bar

Sailing
Sailors Cove

Newstead
Virtual RL in SL

Build it [in SL] and they will come

There’s an interesting trait of human nature I see playing out on the ever opening expanses of the Internet. It’s evident in dramatic relief too in Second Life. I suppose it’s the combination of man’s entrepreneurial spirit and the Protestant industrial ethic that promotes work as fun.
Erase everything that came before

While the Internet and virtual worlds offer play of unlimited horizon, I find I am less likely to encounter a playful cricket than I am Aesop’s ant. And here’s where I see this dynamic playing out.

In Second Life we’re all building. Building, building. Mortgaging to buy more land, to terraform, to implement designs, the quicker to await the vast unwashed. Everybody’s doing it, but that’s the game, to build. Buy and build, actually.

On the web everyone’s building blogs, pages, platforms, venues, waiting for the bon-vivants and their big-spending ways. Build it and they shall come seems to be the prevailing assumption.

Build it and they shall come only applied to the ghost of Shoeless Joe. In Second Life and on the Internet, we all want to be builders.

There’s something too I think of the Gold Rush spirit, this time wise to the adage that the real fortunes were made not panning for gold, but in selling the picks and shovels. So we lay siege online, squirreling away what we can, situating ourselves to better sell the tools as the public rushes in. But the incoming masses need not follow a trail west, nor flee lands of less opportunity. The virtual world expands for all. We can all homestead, we need neither rail nor city centers. Room for all. How do you make a buck, where’s there’s no need for a middle man?

In Second Life what I see are new worlds unfolding, neighborhoods, theme parks, entire high concept environments, growing in all directions except more populous. I’ve even seen tract housing, like urban sprawl, except there’s no burgeoning migration. The Second Life universe is a boom town on its outer reaches, without the resources which will eventually be needed to support it. In this case, even just others to show interest.

Here’s a survey for the Blog Reader Project survey. If you want to invest the interest.

Twin Towers given Second Life

Odile jumps
Someone’s rebuilt the World Trade Center in Second Life, just for 9/11. You’ll find it in the Elegua Sim. We poked around the virtual erections and could not find any demolition charges set in the intact towers, but you can teleport to the observation deck and grab a snapshot of yourself jumping in the pre-war-on-terrorism age.

ADDENDUM: Who can know the minds of the WTC victims who chose to jump into the void of city sky out their windows, sooner than being engulfed in flames. With no aerial help on its way, did they hope that rescuers might be hustling up a means to catch those who jumped?

Perhaps the best of all terrible recourses was to make a final grand swan dive, a final extreme adrenaline ride, public or not, an expression of control over a predicament not of your making. Of course much hay has been made about whose actions brought this fate home to roost, but that’s a discussion for another time.

Who is to say we must avert our eyes when the WTC jumpers took a brave Warholian leap into the 9/11 national tragedy?

Torture en mass

Amnesty International says that the US government has been actually worsening conditions for POWs and other prisoners (many can’t even be called POWs, since they were basically sold to the US by mercenary forces) held at Guantanamo. That can be only with deliberate intent, too.

How does it feel to be part of a society led by a government that is deliberately torturing several hundreds of prisoners en mass? Good? This has been going on for 5 years now, and the American public acts as if they were a bunch of brain dead zombies. And not one leading Democratic Party presidential candidate has come out against this torture and has called for closing Guantanamo.

I am ashamed to be an American. We need to overthrow this two-faced one party dictatorship that rules over us and the world. Unfortunately most of our fellow citizens seem to be total chumps and chimps, out shopping and driving around in circles endlessly refusing to take the smallest steps to help liberate themselves. Luckily all this must eventually self destruct. There won’t be much left though.

Second Days Of Our Lives

The Adventures and Odile and Balder p.1

Design criteria for building in SL:
No elements, weather, climate or entropy
Illumination can be controlled by viewer
Gravity applies only to people, but mildly
People can fly and teleport
People can act upon objects remotely
Walls can be solid or traversable
Walls can be transparent, translucent, opaque or changeable
An opaque wall can be transparent on the other side
No energy can be expended to be conserved, yet people like to sit
There is no physics, chemistry or biology not counting attraction