Well, I stayed up about an hour too late last night, so I probably
have to admit that Second Life has actually crossed the border into
Fun territory, at least now and then.
Two events of note:
I got orbited!
My first experience being hit with a weapon.
In fact I think I may have been an innocent bystander; I'd just teleported
into Warmouth, and someone said "draw!" and someone else said "who, me?",
and then there was this one guy firing a weapon at another, and various
smoke effects and pyrotechnic effects were going off, and someone said
"strong orbit Joe Bloggs" (actually not "Joe Bloggs", but I forget the
actual name), and suddenly I was like 100 virtual meters in the air and
heading upward at a very fast rate (which is what "being orbited" means).
I don't know if this happened because I was standing too close to Joe
Bloggs when the orbiter weapon fired, or if the guy with the weapon also
said "strong orbit Dale Innis" and I just took off so fast that I didn't
Unable to stop rising madly into the air using any of the movement keys,
I just teleported back to Warmouth, and on arrival was no longer madly
One of the combatants was surrounded, and apparently trapped, by a big
glass bubble, and the other one was sitting on top of the clock tower
I asked him why he didn't just teleport out of it, but he didn't answer.
I'm wildly curious about how that weapon (which from some of the message
traffic I gather is maybe called a "Soul Keeper", although I can't find
via Google any description of a Second Life weapon of that name) actually
worked, given that Warmouth is a push-restricted zone, and for instance
the little trampoline that I made the other day won't work on anyone but
its owner while in Warmouth.
How did the weapon eject me into the air so hard?
Anyway, my first experience with Second Life combat was basically fun
and friendly; the combatants didn't seem at all upset at each other.
Neither of them answered my questions about the weapons at all; maybe
I was just too obviously a noob or the information is a big secret, but
I suspect that they don't actually know, having bought the weapons somewhere
with the scripts read-protected.
(One thing that it'd be fun to do but of course I'd never do myself
would be to make some extremely useful and popular object and give it
away for free, but with scripts read-protected and containing a Trojan
Horse such that once I found myself in a room with forty-seven other
people all of them carrying one of the objects, I could say "cockalorum!"
and they'd suddenly all start doing the chicken-dance or something.
Heh heh heh.)
The second event of note involves amazing generosity;
I was in some Dance Club doing a salsa line-dance and chatting with
people, and when I casually mentioned that the reason I was wearing
all default clothes was that I'd never had any money to buy anything else someone
gave me five hundred Linden dollars.
Isn't that nice?
I mean, sure, at the current exchange rate it's slightly less than two
dollars US, but still.
A pretty much total stranger and all...
I immediately used twenty-five of the dollars to give the person a
positive rating; that felt good.
And I've used a few more of them to buy some L$1 items at
nearly-free-stuff shops (so now I have a zillion more inventory items
to someday go through and organize).
And I'm planning to use some of them to upload some textures, so
I can have like a
distinctive T-shirt or something.
What a silly thing to be spending one's time on, eh?
I feel slightly guilty, or at least like maybe I should feel
slightly guilty, because at the time the extremely generous person
gave me the money I was being a girl.
Using a different gender ought in theory to be no odder than
using a different hair-color, but y'know.
It is in fact considerably odder, and I'm sure that some people
are probably creeped out by it or whatever.
Hopefully my patroness isn't one of them, and wouldn't mind
finding out that the young redhaired girl she gave the two bucks
to is actually a doddering old redhaired man (something she
Relatedly, I was standing in Warmouth the other day when someone
broadcast (I think) a landmark to "The Dumpster -- just free stuff",
or something like that.
Last night I went there, and it was indeed full of all sorts of
free stuff, including a nice ridable blimp, lots of clothes and
accessories and hair and "flaming marshmallow on a stick"s and
that kind of thing.
Everything that I looked at seemed to have been put there by
the same person, and when I looked around there that person was,
standing around chatting to someone.
I went over and told her how cool her free-stuff place was, and
gave her a copy of my
in case she wanted to make it available there also.
She took it and thanked me, but I think she was just being polite;
I imagine head-tentacles were probably all the rage months ago,
and she's got whole warehouses full of them.
But I still like mine.
Given that creating things is completely free, Second Life is
inevitably flooded with lots and lots of free things, the vast
majority of which are awful, and a few of which are really nice.
A peculiar alternative economy in that sense, but one that it's
at least for awhile interesting to play in.
One person that I talked to was from Brazil, and when someone else
from Brazil passed by he commented that yeah, Second Life had been getting
lots and lots of press lately there, and everyone he knew was going
to try it.
So there may be a spike in the Brazilian population going on.
This reminds us, of course, of the fact that more than half of the
current population of Orkut (Google's rather lame social networking
system) is said to
be from Brazil.
I doubt that will happen to Second Life; my theory about Orkut is that
it's such a bad social networking service that no one'd use it regularly
without some strong reason (like "everyone else from my country is there"),
whereas Second Life is a pretty good virtual universe, so the same effect
Of course that might not last forever...
Ha, so last time I posted here it was Sunday, and I was really sleepy
because I'd gotten up before dawn to try to buy a Wii from
This time I'm posting it's Sunday again, and again I'm really sleepy,
but this time it's just because I haven't been sleeping well;
no family-bonding or console-buying explanations.
(The Wii that M managed to order in the morning, by the way,
arrived just fine, and the kids have been playing the new Zelda
game like 16+ hours a day, in shifts depending on which one is
awake at the time; they say it's pretty good.)
It's amazing how important sleep is, especially at this advanced
and doddering age.
(The little daughter can stay up all night playing Zelda, and
still be awake and bouncing around the next day; the little boy
doesn't tend to do this, but I'll bet he could.
Being all sleepy like this, the amount of useful work I can
do (in this intellectually-challenging field in which I find
myself, anyway) is strictly limited.
(Maybe this is the Goddess's way of telling me I shouldn't
have planned to get any work done on Thanksgiving Weekend anyway.)
Thanksgiving was very nice, just the four of us sitting
around the table eating the food that M and I spent
the morning putting together.
All went very well, nicely timed, yummy-tasting; we're
getting good at this particular feast after all these years.
For dessert we had chocolate pie and carrot cake; the
carrot cake's from a recipe that I used to make all the time
'way back when kids were tiny (or even Before Kids), and
M remembered and we found the recipe card for.
Cream Cheese frosting and everything; very nice.
Speaking of which, a reader that we're very glad to hear from
The Bicycle Pedaling Frog wishes you and your family a
mordantly ambitious Trucksgiving.
Isn't that nice?
In rare moments of lucidity I've been playing Second Life
(Hey, it's all
Here I am (or rather here's Dale Innis in one of the various
forms I've used for him while playing around with avatar design),
admiring the sunset or sunrise or something while sitting on a wooden
box that I (he) created, sat on, and then edited the Z-coordinate of
so he was sitting like 300m up in the sky:
Second Life is intriguing and frustrating, because it's always just
on the edge of being fun, but also lags and crashes and glitches
and things often enough, and is diffuse and confusing enough,
that it never quite gets there.
Most of the people that I encounter are also newbies; probably
I hang out in Newbie Places, not having found the Experienced
User Places yet (or earned entrance to them if I knew where
they were), but there sure are alot of newbies.
The most common question I hear is "what do you do here?", and the
most common answer is "that's a good question!".
There's sex, of course.
One of the first interactions I had was when this vaguely
bat-looking woman came down out of the sky and said
"do you want to go to a club?", and when I dithered
about being a newbie and not really sure what was going on
she said "there is sex".
(I said "oh! nrn, tx".)
And there's building stuff.
I made this spinning metal barrel that sits there a few virtual
feet off of the virtual floor with a sign saying "click me!", and
if you click it your avatar goes over and sits on it, and because
it's spinning your avatar spins around and around
head over heels, which
looks amusing and produces memorable visuals if you go into
"mouselook" mode where you're looking out your avatar's eyes.
(I have a picture of that somewhere, but I'm too lazy to
find it and post it; use your imagination.)
Since I'm poor in the game (I didn't even give Second Life my
credit card information to verify, which gets you some automatic
vitual money), I can't buy or rent any land of my own, so in order
to build stuff I hang out at the various sandboxes where anyone
and everyone can build stuff but it gets cleaned up now and then.
It's sort of fun in the sandboxes; mostly other penniless newbies
like me fiddling with the building system and exchanging mysterious
artifacts that we've found or that other people have given us,
trying to figure out how they work or modify them to our own
One day when I was there, this young woman avatar was sitting
crosslegged in the sandbox on Help Island, trying to combine
a flame object with a log object to make a candle.
She was still there (or there again) doing the same thing when I
came back quite awhile later.
I spent quite a bit of time myself trying to make a smaller
and less showy version of a huge hemisphere of floating multicolored
wisps that someone gave me a copy of;
the original is extremely impressive (it takes up about a quarter of
the sandbox all by itself), and will get all the cargo-cultist
newbies hanging around the sandbox coming over to beg you for
a copy, but I was hoping to get a subtler effect.
So far I haven't been completely successful.
(Like most of the cool visual object effects in Second Life, this
one is a particle
I think Second Life is, in general, something that rewards more than
the very casual small amount of time (and zero money) that I've given to it.
If I were to upgrade to Premium, give them money, get a better graphics card,
buy some virtual land,
build myself my own Home, actually learn the scripting language,
open a shop selling spinny barrels and cool particle systems, join
groups of like-minded people, and so on, I'd probably appreciate
its coolness more.
But so far I haven't made that investment.
Second Life is so hot that you'll have no trouble finding a
bazillion interesting links about it if you want to.
I noticed it most recently because (well, because
CEO was there, and because) it's been having
There's something especially impressive about
replicator attack that you can see in the form of thousands of little
gold rings everywhere, rather than just
tracking on little "computer virus infections per week" graphs.
Let's see, what else.
From My Window series of posts (having to do with people who have
invested vastly more than I have in the world),
and the recent "copybot" incident (having to do with intellectual
property here, rather than replicants), which has gotten considerable
in something like Second Life, it's not the megacorps who are having
their stuff copied, it's us. It's not the big companies that are trying
to profit, it's the little guys. And all of a sudden, the same folks who
likely argue cyberliberties and donate to the EFF and have gigs of video
stored on RAIDs they keep in their garage suddenly feel the sting of
perfect digital copying. CopyBot is a mirror, and what we see reflected
in it is the unsavory fact that we all want DRM, if it favors us.
I've been giving away copies of my spinny barrel to anyone that asks,
but then I'm still a low-investment guy.
Second Life is definitely one of those things we'll look back on
a decade from now, and see clearly how it fit into an
extremely important development that had a profound impact on
society and culture and computing and all.
If I weren't so sleepy, I'd figure out just what that development
is going to be.
Let's see, what else while I still have the awakeness to type?
I read a gothic
romance (pure escapism).
SANS has published their latest Top
Twenty list of security attack targets.
Here's a list of lots of things
spammers do to avoid filters.
And between now and the end of January you can download
free audio lecture about some good pieces of music
(I haven't listened to it myself yet, so consider this a notice
rather than a recommendation).
To end on a slightly less miscellaneous note, a reader writes:
I love the current Ajax story. You should enshrine it somewhere.
We will enshrine it (or at least what I think was the current Ajax
story when the reader wrote that) as the ending to today's weblog
She pulled the blankets up around him and smoothed her hand across his brow.
He had barely touched the tray of soup and toast from earlier.
"Did you not like the soup dear?... Maybe we'll try something else a bit later."
The blankets, her touch, even the untasted soup;
he tried to gather the strength to let her know that
it was perfect just the way it was.
Here's to things that are perfect just the way they are...