Monday, April 27, 2015

Goodbye,, Correction: Galaxy to Be Under New Owners

As reported by Daniel Voyager and Inara Pey, the famous SS Galaxy cruise ship will be no more after this coming Sunday, May 3.

The Galaxy has been in Second Life for more than the eight years I've been here, and it is one of the most amazing builds in the virtual world.  It stretches across three whole regions, making it almost twice as long as the biggest Real Life cruise ships.  Its eight decks contain cabins that could be rented (you could live there!), stores, swimming pools and water slides, several dance venues, including a large domed ballroom, and many other features and amenities.

The Galaxy featured many events, including a lot of weddings.  So many, in fact, that it has its own blog!

When you step aboard and begin to explore, the Galaxy gives you the look and feel of a Real Life cruise ship.  Her appointments are incredibly realistic, especially considering the limitations of the Second Life building tools at the time of her construction.

Although the ship itself is stationary, the Galaxy provided the experience of "going to" different ports through its "Ports of Call" program, in which teleporters at the dock would whisk you off to the location that the Galaxy was "visiting" at the time.

Several years ago, the Galaxy nearly went away when its owners decided they could no longer afford the tier payments, but it was rescued from that fate and went on gracing the waters south of the Blake Sea for another five years.  This time, the problem does not seem to be financial, but other events and changes in the lives of her management.

If you have never visited the Galaxy, be sure to do so this week.  It's your last chance to see a marvelous example of just what Second Life can truly be.

Fair winds and following seas to you, Lady!

SS Galaxy Aft Embarkation Port

HAPPY CORRECTION:  See the comment below.  The Galaxy will be staying, but under direct Linden Lab ownership.

Friday, April 24, 2015

FLASH! Another Translator

A few posts back, I gave out a link to a free translator on the Marketplace that appears to be working.  I've just been made aware of another one, available in world.  Here's where to get it:  (Thank you, Dav2!)

This translator appears to have been made by a Japanese creator.  It's very intutitive and easy to use though, so the lack of detailed English instructions should not prove to be a difficulty.  It is not entirely free, but it's "donateware" and your donation can be as little as $L1.  However, I suggest a more substantial donation -- working translators are very thin on the ground just now, and this is a very valuable tool.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Here comes SL12B

Every year, Second Life residents celebrate SL's birthday.  This year, Second Life will turn 12.  The actual Birthday is June 23, but the SL12B regions, with hundreds of builds and exhibits made by Second Life residents, and many concerts and events, will be open from June 21 - June 28...this celebration is way too big to be constrained to just one day!

The organizers of SL12B are now taking applications from would-be exhibitors.  If you would like to have an exhibit this year (or even if you just want to keep up on news about the event) bookmark this page:  This year's theme is "What Dreams May Come."

Some of the things we can expect to see:

  • Many live performers and DJs on several giant stages
  • An enormous Birthday Cake, which will also be one of the Event stages.  This cake will be exploded!
  • Tons of freebies and handouts
  • Live presentations and seminars
  • A Time Capsule, with contents typical of this year in SL
  • Linden Bears  (If you don't know about these...each LL employee is encouraged to create his or her own unique teddy bear.  If you happen to meet a Linden in world, ask them if you may have a Bear to commemorate the encounter!)
  • Hundreds of exhibits from the sublime to the whimsical, showcasing the creative talents of Second Life's Residents
  • Looks backward, looks forward
  • Amazing art
The annual Birthday celebrations are an absolute Must See event.  Each year when I go, I'm blown away by the things to see and do.  It's an absolute sensory overload...much like attending a World's Fair in Real Life, but even more so!

Maybe I'll see you there!  I'll be the girl standing in one spot, slowly turning around and around trying to take it all in.  IM me, but don't feel offended if I don't respond right away...I'm not ignoring you, I'm just in a daze!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Royally Screwed?

Today I was reading Julya Lykin's blog.  Julya tours around Second Life by taking more or less random walks and describing the places she visits...including a lot of stores, of course.  SL is, after all, "a nation of shopkeepers."

But I was struck by one of Julya's comments.  She said "guys get royally screwed in SL."  She was referring, I hasten to add, to the fact that fashions, skins, hair, and accessories for guys are a lot thinner on the ground than those for us gals.

She's right, of course.  There is at least five times as much Stuff for women in Second Life as there is for men.  On the other hand, one might say the same for Real Life as well.  Take a look at any major department store, and see how much square footage is devoted to women's items vs. men's items.

Why do you suppose this is?  After all, we women supposedly make (on average) 76% of what men do.  Doesn't that mean that we should be buying LESS stuff?  Maybe we Resident Geek sure seems to spend a lot of money, anyway.  But it sure isn't on look at him would tell you that.  No, he buys Toys.  Computers, video games, tools.  Model airplanes.  He drools over (but does not often buy, thank goodness!) sports cars, guns, boats, and high end stereos.

I think it is a cultural thing.  Our whole culture teaches us that women must be beautiful to be a success...and that beauty requires clothes, makeup, shoes, and accessories.  And you have to buy new ones every season!  Not to mention time at the spa, skin treatments, plastic surgery, etc. etc.  A guy, on the other hand, can slouch through life with maybe one suit, a couple of pairs of briefs, a few mismatched socks, an old pair of jeans, and a few moth eaten long as he is driving a Corvette.

Second Life imitates Life 1.0 in this regard.  I believe that our cultural biases influence our shopping habits in SL...and that, therefore, girls buy fashions, guys buy Toys.  In turn, our shopping habits influence what the creators put out there for us to buy.  They create what sells!

So, maybe the guys are royally screwing themselves by not buying more hot bodies and hot clothes!  Stop drooling over that chromed Harley Davidson, fellows...make yourselves into Eye Candy instead.  We, your virtual girlfriends, deserve no less!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Auto Show!

The Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) is putting on an auto show!  It's "The History of the Vehicle" and it includes very accurate reproductions of famous Real Life vehicles as well as a lot of very whimsical contraptions you'd only find in Second Life.  See examples made from ordinary prims, sculpties, and Mesh.  I don't think I need to say more, the pictures speak volumes.  Pay this site a visit!  (And admire my lovely retro gown, from Cerri's Booty!)

FLASH! New Translator

Those of you who use language translators in Second Life have probably noticed that most of them are broken, both the kind that are add-on HUDs and the built in translation in the viewer.  The services that these devices rely on, Google Translate or Microsoft Bing, have changed the way they are accessed.  This is what has broken Second Life language translation.

My Q-Translate still works, intermittently.  But it's frustrating that sometimes it will translate a line of text, while other times it will just ignore it.

There is a new free translator that is set up to work with Google Translate.  You can find it on the Marketplace here:

However, the very smart Nalates Urriah thinks that it may not STAY working very long.  For more information on why she thinks that, see her blog post here:

She also reports that the Alchemy viewer development team and other third party viewer developers are working on a fix to get a working translator back in the viewer.  I wish them speedy success...Second Life has residents from all over the world and it's a real handicap to not have any ability to translate languages.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

FLASH! Premium Memberships, Half Price!

Every now and then, Linden Lab runs a special on new Premium memberships.  Past sales have been for the quarterly plan, and you could get your first quarter's membership for $11.25 instead of the usual $22.50.

This month, LL is offering the MONTHLY Premium membership at half off.  You can sign up as a Premium member for just $4.98, instead of the usual $9.95.  The discount only applies to the first month, and you pay the regular rate after that.

This is a really great way to try out a Premium membership.  You get all the benefits, including a free Linden Home, a $L300 weekly stipend payment, access to better technical support and live chat support, and access to some Premium-only locations.  If you decide you like it and continue past the first month, you get a $L1000 bonus payment after 45 days.

And if you decide that you REALLY like being a Premium member, you can switch over to the annual plan.  That costs $72.00, and if you decide to downgrade back to Basic later, you don't get a refund of unused subscription time.  But if you figure it on a monthly basis, it's just $6.00 per month, the best deal going for Premium in Second Life.

Save SL Go!

Most of us get into Second Life using a computer, usually a pretty powerful one.  But there are ways to use a mobile device -- a tablet or a smartphone -- to get into SL.  There's a text-only app, Pocket Metaverse, for the iPhone.  For Android devices, there is Mobile Grid Client, another text-only app, and Lumiya, which gives you a rudimentary graphics interface.

Last year, OnLive provided "SL Go."  This subscription service uses OnLive's servers to provide the graphics muscle needed to run a fully-realized version of SL on machines that don't have the performance necessary to run a "regular" Second Life viewer.  An unlimited subscription costs $9.95 per month.  It works with iPads and with Android-based tablets and smartphones.

But Sony has acquired OnLive, and last week they announced that SL Go would be closing at the end of April.

If you would like to contribute your voice to try and reverse this decision, there is a petition you can sign.  Go to this link and let your voice be heard!  Frankly, there's not much chance of success, but it would be a shame for us to lose this way of letting people visit our virtual world.

If you haven't tried SL Go, you still have a few weeks.  It's free to use until the closing date of April 30.