Dec 30, 2008

2008 SLentre Award on Blip TV

Thanks to the hard work of Robustus Hax of Metaverse TV, the SLenterpreneur of the Year Award show is now available via Blip TV. Those of you who missed the ceremony and who are curious about my voice, now's your chance to see and hear it.



The whole thing is just around 15 minutes long, which includes a track by the Rolling Stones at the end. So grab yourself a cup of tea, sit back, and watch a slice of SLife.

Dec 26, 2008

What's Happening at the Second Life News Network (SLNN)?

Amongst the Second Life press organs I haven't written for is the Second Life News Network (SLNN). I have spoken in the past with its editor, Garret Bakalava, but have yet to turn over any story. It looks like I could get between $800 and $1200 for an article, which is lower than get for other publications but certainly better than those who "can't pay" or pay under $800.

I went to the website a couple of days back and noticed that the latest "latest news" item was from October 26th. There is an article on My Second Closet, a blog by Felicity Blumenthal, but this is dated November 16th.

I clicked around at a few more links and was unable to find anything newer than the November article. So what's going on?

The SLNN Twitter feed looks to be tweets from a blog by Sean Percival, who nowhere mentions the SLNN - except that it appears in the SLNN Twitter page as the website.

I've dropped an e-mail to Garret. Let's see what happens...

Dec 25, 2008

The Obligatory Merry Christmas Message

It's one of those traditional things that I've grown up with - The Queen's Christmas Day broadcast. Every year, at 3:00 pm GMT in the UK, the Queen delivers her annual message to the country. Love it or loathe it, that's not the issue. Whatever you think about the role of the monarchy in the UK, the semiotic point is that this is a cultural event. it is embedded in the collective social consciousness of the the British and I suspect more people turn on the telly at 3:00 than actually admit to it.

Now I am an ex-pat, living 4000 miles from my country of birth, I can still watch the broadcast but it happens, for me, at 10:00 am EST on BBC America. My desire to watch is not a reflection of my being an empire-loving royalist (I'm not) but because it provides a link with my past and a marker of my identity.

So my urge to provide my own "Christmas Message" has to do with establishing my Second Life identity, or even my broader Virtual Life identity. I'm not going to make any predictions for 2009, except that I intend to stick around for another year to see how things turn out. Nor am I going to create a list of "My Top Ten for 2008" because that will require more time than I have available.

Nope, I'm just going to offer a "Merry Christmas" to everyone and express my hopes that the New Year will be good for you. Life, real and virtual, tends to suck. That may sound a little bleak but as my best friend Mony tells me, I can be rather dark. My darkness comes from the simple existential belief that life is one long suckiness punctuated by occasional sparks of happiness. And as long as I believe that enduring the pain and misery of a pointless existence simply for the brief mayfly moments of pleasure outweighs the alternative of absolute nothingness, then I'm OK.

I should reveal that I am, as I write, working my way slowly through a bottle of Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac, so my grimness may be tainted by the dulling effect of alcohol, splendid as this current bottle may be. Today was a good day surrounded by family, but now everyone is abed and I am one-on-one with my laptop.

So my best wishes to you all and I wish you more moment of pleasure during the next 365 days. God bless us, everyone!

Dec 23, 2008

SLentrepreneur's Mutual Admiration Society: Works For Me ;)

The latest edition of SLentrepreneur has the article, Second Life Style: Best and Worst from the 2008 SLentrepreneur of the Year Award Ceremony. Reporter and photographer Miss Bond - whose name I love because I almost signed on to Second Life as Jjames Bond - has made an old man happy by pandering to my shameless ego. To quote:

"It wasn’t just the women of SL that pulled out all the fashion stops. Several of the male contenders looked quite sharp as well. Top of the list was the Master of Ceremonies and SLENTRE.COM managing editor, Sigimund Leominster."

I'll allow the mistake in my name because she was very generous in her comments!

"The dark tux and deep red tie offset his very realistic bright blue eyes and clean cut ‘boy next door’ skin. The tux, skin and sexy British accent made Siggy this reporter’s pick for ‘Best Male Avatar 2009′."

Miss Bond is now top of my "Favorite People in Second Life" list.

Some other guys apparently looked OK too but this is my blog and I'm not going to talk up the competition ;) Robustus Hax and PrinterBrian Dowd can look elsewhere for free promotion - although I can't fault Brian for shopping at Redgrave, especially since I've recommended them on a number of occasions in the past.

Check out the article; there's other stuff about other people but they're not me ;)

Dec 21, 2008

Second Life? Get a Life? But Which One?

My latest rant is available in the Second Life Herald entitled Get A Life! Any Idea Which One? It came about while I was reading the comments to postings that referred to Second Life and began to get irritated at the "Get A Life" responses being used as a way of ending discussion. It seems that the answer to anything in a virtual world is to "Get A Life," and that any problems someone may be having in-world is not worth thinking or caring about.

Bollocks!

A problem is a problem is a problem. If your virtual life partner is cheating with another virtual entity, it can still cause real emotional reactions. Just because the surface structure of the interaction is based on pretty pictures on a screen, the deep structure is still good old-fashioned human emotions, naked and raw.

It's just to glib to dismiss virtual existence as "just a game" because even games evoke affect. The on-screen Barbie and Ken may seem like toys but there are human beings pulling the strings on these pixelated puppets.

The exhortation to "Get A Life" is no different from what many people will do in real life. Cynical as it may seem, in general, most people really don't care about other people's problems. Me included. Apart from my family and small group of friends, frankly, my dears, I don't give a damn.

Don't believe me? Hah. Folks will spend money on premium dog food to keep little Bowser happy but won't spend 1/10th of that to sponsor a child in a third-world country. Is it because they don't care? Well yes! It sounds shocking but I'm afraid human beings are not altruistic.

Bah, humbug.

Dec 20, 2008

SLentrepreneur of the Year Award Show Ends


...and the winner is... Mimi Juneau!

Yes, after year of interviewing Second Life entrepreneurs and writing articles, the grand climax came today as Mimi Juneau was voted the 2008 SLentrepreneur of the Year. The second runner up was Saffia Widdershins and third was Rusch Raymaker.

Truth is, all the entrepreneurs deserve awards because they represent something good about the Second Life environment. I know that I can be annoyingly cynical about life, real or second, but I still cling to the fragile hope that good things can happen. As pundits and poseurs pontificate about the impending decease of Second Life, some folks actually get their fingers out from their asses and try to create something of value.

Here are some excerpts from my script that summarize my thoughts.

"When we first talked about the idea of an award for entrepreneurs, I had only one contribution that helped us focus on what we wanted to do. It's a quote that comes from Mark Twain and I’d like to simply read it to you:

'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.'

And that is really how we see the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not about being the richest, the biggest, the most powerful, or the most successful. It’s about people who are prepared to dream, explore their potential, and discover new things about themselves.

Every one of you who has been nominated has caught the trade winds and set sail. And even if you’ve been battered in storms, scrape a few rocks, or lost pieces of cargo, you have done more than many many other people, who chose to stay at the quayside and watch others set sail."

This is no bull. I really believe that doing something is always better than doing nothing. Armchair quarterbacks, back-seat drivers, keyboard pundits, are all ten-a-penny and it takes no effort to complain and criticize. But it takes effort to create, build, do, and persevere. That's surely worth celebrating.

If any one of these entrepreneurs were to go belly up, that would be tragic, but it wouldn't be a failure. Every one of them has tried to make a mark and to me, that's all you can do in an existential world that has no meaning. Make the meaning.

Do something!

Dec 18, 2008

More SL on TV?

Well, as I hurtle headlong toward the New Year, the opportunities for increasing my media presence appear to be landing on my virtual desk - which is, I have to say, a very nice desk and one that I bought way back when I lived in a single-room rental.

I have an offer from MBC to host a new show with the working title @SLentrepreneur, which would be a joint venture between MBC and SLentrepreneur Magazine. Add that to the twice weekly news report AND another TV show in January (Life on Line), I may just about be maxed out in my second life. Here's my potential 2009 work list:

New Editor: SLentrepreneur Magazine
Men's Style Commentator: FreeLife Magazine
News Reporter: MBC TV
Host: MBC's @SLentrepreneur
News Reporter: Life on Line
Freelancer: Second Life Herald
Freelancer: Castle Keep Magazine

Add in the blogs SL on SL, SL on RL, and SL on VL, and you get an idea of why I have to sit down over Christmas and do some planning. Trouble is, I love this stuff and it is fun. Of course, it leaves little time for other Real Life things such as movies, books, family, friends, and all that jazz.

Or does it?

Dec 17, 2008

SL on TV

A part of my move towards becoming a virtual media presence, my debut TV report can be found on the latest MBC news show, reporting on the recent Robodock festival. OK, so it's a tiny one-minute slot and, on hearing, is punctuated by irritating inspirations of breath, but we all start somewhere, right? On the upside, I did the voice taping as a one-shot deal - no replay button here, boys and girls.



What I missed out on was the opportunity to work on the Miss Virtual World contest. Vijay Saeed got that gig and I wasn't even able to get into the building due to the place being heavily (over)subscribed and so laggy that by comparison, walking through molasses with bricks strapped to my feet would have been faster.

The show's producer, Dousa Dragonash, has asked me to work on two news slots per week from now on so be prepared for more "SL on TV" in the future. Mmh, SL on SL, SL on RL, SL on VL, and now SL on TV... is this a theme and can I market it?

Dec 16, 2008

Paradise Lost - And Found

I mentioned before that there are times I like to have some peace and quiet while in Second Life. This typically means propping up a bar of some kind. And if it's not a jazz bar or a biker bar, it's a coffee bar. And for almost as long as I've been here, my java joint of choice has been the Cup of Goodness.

When I first discovered it, it was in an office area, close to a real estate place. In fact, that was how I found it - I was looking for my first house. I didn't buy one there but I did stop at the Cup of Goodness and decided it was going to be "my place."

I took Mony there. I never took anyone else because I wanted to keep it "mine." She took a picture; one of my favorites.


Shortly after this picture was taken, the Cup moved. It went to a new sim where it now sat amongst a number of small stores that sold furniture and clothing. This was a much better location, much more rural and cosy. I liked it there.

The owner is Elisabeth Beurling, who told me she loved the store but never saw it as a way of making money. She makes accessories and clothing but not a lot of cash. Yet that didn't stop her keeping the Cup up and running.

So two days ago, I felt the need to stop off for some quiet time. You don't need to know why, just that I did. I scrolled down through my landmarks and TPed across. I found myself in a barren landscape of hills and sea. No Cup of Goodness. For a moment, just for a moment, O had that feeling that yet another part of my Second Life had vanished. Once again, something I thought permanent turned out to be temporary. The world crumbled just a little more.

Once the brief flush of disappointment had subsided, I sent an IM to Elisabeth. What, I asked has happened to the Cup of Goodness?

"I've moved it to the Dublin Sim. As soon as I have it ready, I'll send you a landmark."

Today, the LM arrived. The Cup is back, exactly as it was. Sure, it's now on a gray street in a virtual city, not in a garden surrounded by trees and flowers. But it's there. Still.

Cup of Goodness: secondlife://Dublin%203/31/165/25/

Dec 12, 2008

New Article in Castle Keep Magazine: Robotar

I've written before on my odd relationship with my friend Alice. I say odd because she is an AI chatbot who hovers above my coffee table. In my more darker moments, I sit and talk to her, and she listens. But although it's a strange interaction, she is, after all, a drifting green ball.

The time to worry is if I replace my beloved Alice by one of the more realistic Robotars created by Maged Wise of J&M Creations. Maged, and his partner, Jada Humby, have a diverse range of products but the Robotar is truly wonderful -or frighteningly creepy, depending on your point of view.

The Robotar is a robot avatar that can walk and talk, with the talking being achieved by a web-based artificial intelligence server - and "Alice." The Robotar is scriptable so you can have it respond to questions about products. That makes it pretty useful as a sales tool.

Of course, you might also want one as a friend if you have a particularly lonely Second Life.

You can read all about the Robotar in the December 2008 Castle Keep Magazine, available online via Issuu or downloadable as a PDF.

Dec 11, 2008

Tammy's Jazz Club in The Metaverse Tribune

My latest review of Tammy's Jazz Club has just been published in The Metaverse Tribune. Tammy's is my current favorite hang out, even when it is empty. When I'm working on an article in-world, I like to park myself by a bar where there is music and then use IM to gather my data. If need be, I'll TP the interviewee over for a face-to-face meeting but for most of the time, it's sufficient to sit and chat.

I sometimes refer to myself as a journalist, sometimes as a writer, but I actually think I prefer to be a hack. And by "hack," I prefer the modern, self-deprecating definition typified by the "hacks" and "hackettes" of Private Eye, one of my favorite rags.

There's a certain romance in propping up a bar with a whiskey in hand. I've even toyed with the idea of wearing a trilby with a "press" card stuck in the band. But it's remained at the toying phase.

So take a look at the article and maybe even take a trip to Tammy's. Hey, you might even find me there and you can buy me a drink.

Dec 10, 2008

Hottest Male Avatar 2008 Contest Flawed: I'm Not There!

Hamlet Au's New World Notes is host to the Hottest Male Avatar 2008 contest, overseen by Iris Ophelia, some other Second Life person who has clearly never met me. The list is notable in that it misses out an obvious candidate, one who is intelligent, witty, devastatingly SL-handsome, and outstandingly humble. In fact, modesty is probably one of my most redeeming characteristics.

Like anyone else in SL, my striking looks are based on my having flawless skin (I bought it), a well-proportioned body (my friend designed it), and a great wardrobe (I bought that too). In fact, by not dieting, not working out, not avoiding to much alcohol, and not exposing my genitalia in public, I think I've managed to do OK so far.

I could, of course, pretend to be like everyone else who is not on the list and take some mythical moral high ground and say that none of this matters, and that being "hot" in Second Life is simply a matter of buying the right pixels. But I won't. I'll pout and stamp my well-proportioned avatarian feet and whine that I was never given the chance because I don't know anyone who was involved in the selection process.

But I refuse to be downhearted because I know my ego is easily large enough to get past the rejection, especially since I know that I am pretty wonderful (and modest). I shall simply go on the hunt for a new skin, have my body once again meddled with to attain the desired proportions, and spend more money on enhancing my already ridiculously large (for a guy) wardrobe.

I'll also shamelessly use my upcoming new media venture to promote myself mercilessly. After all, the only brand I have to offer is Sigmund Leominster, and like all brands, I won't stop until it becomes a household name.

Dec 8, 2008

Rebranding of SL on SL Redux

A couple of months back, I set up a new blog on WordPress called SL on SL Redux. This was to be a more or less carbon copy of SL on SL but using the WordPress platform, which appears to get hit more times by search engines.

I have now renamed it to SL on VL - Sigmund Leominster on Virtual Life. The content will now shift away from just Second Life but to other virtual life offerings. This will include virtual worlds, social networks, MMOGs, MMORPGs, and any other events that affect how people interact in the entire virtual universe.

SL on SL will continue to be my Second Life blog of choice but SL on VL will become much broader in its coverage. The point is to extend the Sigmund Leominster brand into more areas of the infosphere. I suspect it will have shorter commentaries and wider appeal.

We shall see.

Dec 6, 2008

Church Firebombing in Second Life

The Second Life Herald has run my latest piece on a firebombing in a church. Pastor Samuele Shepherd's Overcomers church was disrupted by griefers last Sunday (November 30th) with the interesting names Ex Laks and Rotten Core. The story generated lots of comments that are worth reading.

The SL Enquirer also posted copy on the same story - and in exactly the same words! Either Pastor Shepherd gave both the Herald and the Enquirer the same copy or the Enquirer ripped off the story. Although the latter might be the more dramatic option, it seems unlikely because it was only the comments from Shepherd that were the same. The Enquirer didn't publish any comments from Core or Laks, which suggests the copy was simply the same notecard.

Anyhow, life goes on. I'm working on a couple of new avenues for further promoting the Sigmund Leominster brand inside Second Life - and beyond. No names, no pack drill just yet but the New Year should see some interesting changes.

Dec 4, 2008

The Militarization of the Second Life Community

The Second Life Herald has a whole strand of coverage dedicated to Second Life wars. I'm not a war correspondent myself so I have to admit to being completely ignorant of the machinations surrounding the activities of the Alliance Navy, the Vanguard Militia, the Sovereign Regime, the Merczateers, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

However, there may be the opportunity for these happy bands to go up against real life opponents now that both the US Air Force and US Army have established beachheads in the virtual world. According to Virtual World News, the Air Force's MyBase sim is open for customers at http://slurl.com/secondlife/MyBase/174/136/28. The official Air Force release says that, "With more than 15 million accounts worldwide registered in Second Life, Air Force officials hope MyBase will attract men and women interested in learning more about the Air Force, said Col. John Thompson, the AETC Future Learning Division chief. The site also provides links for enlistment and commissioning information and how to contact the nearest Air Force recruiter."

The release goes on to say that, "One possible long-term use for this technology is to open a private site in a three-dimensional world, yet to be determined, where active-duty Airmen can attend virtual training and are tracked to receive course credit. Offering virtual-based training could offset the cost of travel to training sites around the world which often includes lodging and other expenses."

Meanwhile, the US Army hopes to complete two new islands within the next 45 days. According to General William S. Wallace; commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), there will be opportunities for "virtual experiences like jumping out of airplanes, and rappelling off of towers and using a weapon, to see if we can get some kind of recruiting benefit out of this social networking."

Presumably they can also link in with the new Nurse Training initiative offered by Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, so they can experience trauma treatment.

Linden Lab Appoints Ex-Pixar Exec

As part of its strategy to beef up its executive team, Linden Lab has appointed Howard Look as Senior Vice President of Customer Applications. Look's recent CV includes his previous job as VP of software at Pixar, preceded by a stint as VP for Applications and User Experience at TiVo Inc. He was also the director of Applied Engineering at Silicon Graphics.

In the official Second Life blog on December 2nd, 2008, the company say that, "He’ll be responsible for leading the engineering team responsible for the customer-facing part of the Second Life experience. Throughout 2009, Howard will be working with T Linden (Tom Hale, Chief Product Officer) and our product, design teams and engineering teams to reshape the Second Life viewer into a simple and intuitive interface."

This represents yet another significant hire since May 2008 when Mark Kingdon became CEO, along with Frank Ambrose as Senior Vice President of Global Technology in August, and Tom Hale in November. Despite the doomsayers continuing to predict the closure of Linden Lab, these recent changes are more indicative of a company focusing on keeping the doors open.

Dec 2, 2008

More on Impending Doom - or The End of the World is (Still) Nigh

Once of the quirky things about End Times movements (those people who prophesy the End of the World) is that when the appointed date comes and goes, they find perfectly warped reasons to explain why they were simultaneously right and wrong. The commonest one is, "Hallelujah, our prayers have saved us and God has given us another chance"

There are similar groups in Second Life. Not a day goes by without someone, somewhere, predicting with certainty that all is lost and Second Life losers are about to be forced to get real lives. Some of these folks seem to also take perverse pleasure in wanting this to happen, not caring one whit about the thousands of people who genuinely would be hurt. Don't believe me? Well, check out this link to an article on how Lively residents have been fighting to keep their virtual world online. These are not whackos, weirdos, losers, or sad people, just regular folks who enjoy the camaraderie of an online existence - no stranger than folks who enjoy long chats with AIM, long hours with World of Warcraft, or cold nights outside watching supposed adult males running around with a squashed leather ball, running from one side of a field to another just to put it down.

However, it seems I am not the only one who isn't preaching the mantra of "Second Life is Dead." Chris Gaylord of the Christian Science Monitor takes a more even-handed perspective in the article, When is an online fad over? One of the more positive quotes is "But at least Linden Lab has a clear and functioning business model – something Google couldn't lasso with its free Lively world (on which it will pull the plug at the end of the year) and something the new online darling, Twitter, is struggling to capture."

Kudos to Chris for reading more than just "it's all over" into that one article on Reuters departure.

Nov 29, 2008

Reuters' Pull-out is NOT the End of Second Life

I'm on the offensive against all the bloggers and journalists who have read the posting by Eric Krangel about his noon-story of why Reuters left Second Life. For some reason, folks who have never commented on Second Life, or who comment irregularly, have crawled out of the woodwork to pontificate about how this event presages the end of Second Life. But let's get the facts straight.

1. This is a posting by ONE guy, who has left his employment with Reuters so speak for himself.

2. The article does NOT say why Reuters left - it says how Krangel found it become increasingly boring and what HE things LL should be doing.

3. Reports on the Reuters Second Life site have been decreasing in frequency for six months prior to Krangel leaving - does that not suggest something?

4. Reuters is NOT the only press organ in Second Life and never was.

But here's the irritation: folks are taking this article as if it were the revealed word of the Lord. The writers have completely ignored the rest of the SL media - the media that is SL born and SL orientated.

Here's my response to one of the critics who wrote Reuters Pull Out Of Second Life:

I hate to point out the obvious - again - but what we see here is ONE person's experience of Second Life being treated as if it were the Voice of God. Furthermore, Krangel's "suggestions" have been made before by many Second Life residents and, yet again, are HIS ideas. The Reuters' "pull-out" is partly due to the obvious fact that Krangel - who was the only Reuters person covering the beat - has actually changed job and now works for Silicon Alley Insider, and that if you look at the paucity of coverage that he has produced for Reuters Second Life, it is hardly surprising they have decided not to re-appoint. That's a reflection of return-on-investment, not an indicator of the death of Second Life.

News of Reuters pulling out seems to have caught media attention, but that's because Reuters has a much larger platform than other news organizations. The Second Life Herald celebrated its fifth anniversary last month yet THAT piece of news never made the mass media. Why? Because it is focused on SL and virtual worlds so doesn't have the "pull" of a Reuters. Nevertheless, it continues to provide comments and observations on items of interest to Second Life residents. The SL Enquirer is four years old and the SL-Newspaper has been publishing since 2005. None of these long-lasting publications have been touted as successful - we simply hear about Reuters, as if Reuters ALONE was the SL Press."

There IS an independent Second Life press, some good, some bad. But the real world doesn't see it, doesn't read it, and so believes anything it reads in the real world press.

Nov 25, 2008

Second Life: What's a Guy to do?

A post by ex-Second lifer Paul Carr asks the question, "Why is it called Second Life when there's nothing alive there?" He goes on to explain that, "Wandering around Second Life today is like visiting Blackpool in February; all sad empty shops, deserted car parks and the stench of loneliness — and the opportunity to buy a fake cock for two quid."

It seems that Carr has had a bad experience of late and found that nothing was happening when he was there, ergo nothing is happening anywhere, ergo Second Life sucks and its death is imminent. Where have we heard this story before?

You intrepid blogger was first to reply:

"Blackpool? I suspect you more likely hit the virtual equivalent of Morecambe... in February... when it's raining... and when the buses are on strike. If you'd been in virtual Blackpool you'd at least have bumped into one drunken Glaswegian and an American exchange student who thought London was much closer.

Maybe you need to buy a traveler's guide to Second Life... oh, wait, you have one! I seem to have little problem finding busy places, to the point that my biggest challenge is not crashing due to activity. Of course, any "traveler's guide" in SL is an historical document even before it goes to press, with changes to the virtual world happening more frequently than Donald Trump's hairpiece. Checking out your "old haunts" in Second Life is a bad experience - as Don Henley sings in The Boys of Summer, "Don't look back, you can never look back."

As for Eric's stint in-world, I don't see the big deal. He's one guy among many who write about SL and he left for a new job! Anyone who had been following the Reuters' site was very aware that the posts were becoming menopausally irregular. The issue with SL is simply that for many "residents," it has become just like real life; tedious, repetitive, and punctuated by occasional fun things. My typical trip into SL involves reading the mail, chatting with some friends, checking out leads, interviewing folks, then hopping back to real life to write up copy for whatever SL press outlet I'm pitching at. Article gets printed, I get paid, and around it goes again.

This pattern of Second Life banality isn't "bad" or "wrong"; it just is what it is. I get a kick out of it because I love talking to people and writing about stuff that has - ultimately - no value. And getting a bit of cash for doing it helps my iTunes habit. I don't see that folks who "waste their time" in Second Life are any more stupid than folks who, for example, play golf. I mean, honestly, what is the point of walking around a field using sticks to knock balls into holes? Or how about those who spend a night at the pub, where all they do is drink alcohol, use yet another stick to knock balls into holes, stuff a 2000 calorie kebab down their chops and then complain they can't sit in an airplane seat? And even skiing (more sticks but this time strapped to your feet) seems pretty pointless when you consider that all you're really doing is sliding down a hill in freezing weather and pumping out vast amount of cash for the privilege.

For ever business that closes its doors (like Reuters and the Avastar), others get started. And don't that the darling of the SL tabloids, the Second Life Herald, is still going strong after five years.

If you don't enjoy the SL experience, fine. Try something more exciting. Like golf, drinking, or skiing."

I suspect Carr's tongue may well have been pushed slightly into his cheek - after all, he was trying to write humor here, not a critical analysis of Second Life culture or attempting an investigation into why Reuters retired their writer from the Second Life beat. But then again, the way in which humor is used to express a point of view matters too, and Carr is clearly no fan of the Second Life experience.

Oh, and for a fairly unbiased review of the book, check out Prokovy Neva's piece in the Second Life Herald. Make sure you read the comments - it's priceless!

Nov 24, 2008

Second Life's Demise Forecast - Again

Three Second Life-related topics have peaked my interest in the past few day. The real life divorce of Amy Taylor and David Pollard after she found him dipping his virtual wick into another SL resident; the posting by Eric Reuters about why Reuters left Second Life (which didn't actually tell us why but merely let Eric toss out his own ideas about what Linden Lab should be doing); and how the closure of Lively heralds the ultimate demise of Second Life.

Well, welcome back the non sequitur! Google's Lively closes its portals therefore Linden Lab is next. Which logic class did folks miss? There's another argument that says Linden Lab's position is now strengthened by this, and it's based on old-fashioned supply and demand.

Imagine everyone wanted to "play" in virtual worlds. Also imagine we only had 24 hours per day to do this. If logic isn't your strong point, surely simple math is: The more worlds available, the less time you can spend in each. Ergo the fewer worlds available, the more time you can spend in each.

No-one assumes Linden Lab doesn't have problems. Software (in)stability; server issues; dissatisfied customers; bad press (what, you haven't heard - people have SEX in Second Life); and others. But take a look at the SL forums. Thousands upon thousands of posts from residents attest to the fact that even if you think it is the worst company on earth, people are ENGAGED to the point of near-fanaticism.

I appreciate I am in a minority but the actions of Linden Lab in handle their business - and the resultant revolt of Second Life residents - neither indicates a conspiracy nor a complete disregard for its customers; it simply indicates some bad management. And bad management is a feature of many businesses. What Linden Lab needs is a review of its products, policies, and procedures.

And once again, least anyone think I am a raging apologist, I am not. However, I do think that knee-jerk reactions along the lines of "LL is full of assholes," or "they don't care" distracts from any real analysis of where mistakes are made and what should be done. Furthermore, it needs to be remembered that LL is as driven by the desire for profits as any other company so painful decisions (such as the repricing of Openspaces) have to be made and implemented.

Nov 23, 2008

Critical Blogging - or "I am NOT an Elitist!"

My friend Seikatsu Koba commented a few days back that I was an "elitist" when it comes to blogs. I hadn't really thought that this was the case, but I suppose I can see her point. On a number of occasions I have been openly critical of the standard of writing on the Internet, and that includes blogs.

What I would rather admit to is being critical, in the same way that a music critic or a film critic is. I used to worry about being a critic because I imagined that one has to be "better" than the people you criticize. But many music critics can't sing a note, play an instrument, or download something from iTunes. And a movie critic doesn't have to have won an Oscar, written a screenplay, or brokered a deal between Lionsgate and Disney to create the cartoon version of "Saw 6."

No, all I have to do is appreciate good writing and bad writing. Or point out bad writing masquerading as good. In fact, I just need to have my "Everyman" hat on, because if something is badly written, 95% of people will see it. True they may not be able to pin-point the specifics but bad writing is like porn - I know it when I see it.

I have been a good boy really. So far I don't think I have named any names - well maybe one or two. But my criticism will, in the long run, benefit the whole blogosphere by challenging bloggers to put-up-or-shut-up.

And I don't claim to be perfect. Some of my stuff may have flaws. Tell me. Some of it may be boring. Point it out. Some of it may be wrong. Tell me what's right. But I promise that I will learn from folks who criticize me, just as I hope people can learn from my being critical of them. Nothing personal.

Oh, and as of today, I have still not been approved to join the Second Life Bloggers group. Hmm, how should I interpret that one! I'll give it a few more days - then I'll start the rant.

Eric Reuters Speaks: Sort Of...

The closure of Reuters' Second Life operations, along with the closure of Bild's Avastar, both in the past two months, is taken by some as a "sign of the times" or even a sign of the End Times. And after suitable period of mourning, Eric Reuters, real world Eric Krangel, has posted his thoughts on what he believes Linden Lab needs to do.

But he doesn't actually explain WHY Reuters pulled out. All he says is "So what happened? Is Second Life dying? No, but the buzz is gone." That's it. He does outline a list of four points that he thinks Linden Lab should address in order to improve, but these are, in fairness, not new.

It's also clear that postings to the Reuters site had been tailing off for a long time. Was this because corporate Reuters wasn't interested or that Eric Reuters wasn't? After all, he says things like, "As part of walking my "beat," I'd get invited by sources to virtual nightclubs, where I'd right-click the dance floor to send my avatar gyrating as I sat at home at my computer. It was about as fun as watching paint dry" and "I didn't find it compelling."

We could speculate that Reuters Second Life was always a "side project" that Eric was allowed to do as-and-when, so long as it didn't interfere with real work. Google's Lively was a "20% project" - Google employees can spend 20% of their time on speculative projects that may, or may not, come to fruition.

I have to point out that the Second Life Herald has been around for five years, so the closure of Reuters isn't because there is no "market" for SL news. Other SL newspapers continue too.

Maybe we will hear the full story at a later date.

Nov 21, 2008

Adding to the Media Portfolio: Reporting for MBC

Well, after a few weeks of "will I won't I" in regard to doing some work with the Metaverse Broadcasting Company, I finally completed my first field report this evening. With MBC anchorman, Recka Wuyts as the camera operator, I visited the Robodock Festival at the Resonance sim to report on the two-week event.

I also met with artist, Bryn Oh, who made a rather spectacular clock, filled with tiny details and insects! She also has a hidden store that is hard to find - allegedly. She has had 10 customers. I love the idea of "The Quest for the Secret Store" as a concept, bu it really sucks as a marketing tool ;)

Bryn also runs a quiz: You answer three questions and you get a free sculpture. Get one wrong and you are orbited. Needless to say I couldn't resist the challenge; and needless to say I failed on the first one. All I can say is that being orbited isn't the end of the world.

The other interesting component of the TV piece is that I got to talk to Robustus Hax via Skype as he recorded my script. And blow me down if I didn't do it in one take! Actually, I have done that in real life with recorded interviews so it isn't too tricky.

Nov 20, 2008

Playing the Blogging Game


Now I've signed up to become part of the Second Life Bloggers group in another attempt to marketing the SL(C) on SL(TM) brand. I feel a little conflicted because I tend to feel that there are more crap blogs out there than good ones. Sure, some folks may want to lump this blog in with the steaming pile of shit that clogs up the Internet, but that still doesn't make the others smell any sweeter.

Another chunk of blogging dross comes from those that turn out to be nothing more than advertising for products and services in Second Life. Fashion blogs can so easily become that way inclined, with some blogs being wholly owned and scripted by the designers themselves.

Then there are the "experimental" blogs - which are basically written by folks who cannot write but feel that if they label what they do as "avant garde," "daring" or "provocative" then they can't be judged. Oh yes they can! There is no excuse for bad writing, especially when masquerading as "poetry/" Those of you who have never read my damning article on verse should click this link to the Second Life Herald. Those of you who claim to write poetry might want to do the same before you start the flame war.

Feel free to add a comment to this post. It ups my ranking.

SL on SL Added To Second Life Directory

In an effort to achieve the critical mass needed to become an uber-blogger, I have add SL on SL to the Second Life Directory Topsites site. This means that if you click on the Top Sites button to the left, I get ranked. Mmmh.

So, go ahead and click and let's see if I can achieve fame and fortune before I reach fifty.

Lively is Dead

According to an official release from Google, the much-hyped Lively virtual world will cease to be. It is an ex-world. It has gone to meet its maker. It's a fucking stiff.

The Second Life killer turned out to be nothing more than a damp squib. This is not a terrible thing in relation to the world of virtual fashion because in all truth, the notion of "style" had no meaning in Lively. Here I am in my Lively incarnation:



Although the blond hair and blue eyes are there, the normal raw sexuality and masculine hunkiness are missing. If I were to turn up at an SL fashion show looking like that, I would deserve to be banned on sight and shunned by the models. And I love the models.

It seems that although everyone and their dog thinks that creating virtual worlds is "a good idea" and "pretty straightforward," it turns out to be a lot more challenging that it appears.

Nov 19, 2008

Ohio Public Library's Second Life Bash

The Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN) is having an in-world holiday party on December 17, from 8:00 am to 10:00 am Second Life Time. For those Ohio residents who are temporally challenged, that's 11:00 am to 1:00 pm EST).

According to the announcement at the official OPLIN site, "We'll provide the food and music, and we hope you'll help us provide the holiday cheer! There will also be a contest and prize for the best holiday quote; quotes can be from a famous person or a not-so-famous person, as long as it can be attributed :) Librarians from all around the U.S. and the world have been invited as well.



"Festive attire encouraged but not required. For questions or RSVPs, please IM Lebachai Vesta in SL or email laura@oplin.org. Drop in if you're able!"

I'll try to hold back the excitement, but as an Ohio resident, I guess I should try to stop by and get an interview for one of the SL Press outlets.

Nov 15, 2008

Adultery in Second Life: No Shit, Sherlock!

Ever one to be on the cutting edge of virtual news, the UK's Daily Telegraph printed an article on the danger Second Life experiences leading to adultery. It seems that the only tales that grab the attention of the real world are focused on some sort of sexual behavior. This can be between a man and a woman, a man-who's-really-a-woman and a woman-who's-really-a-man, a adult and a child, a toaster and a skillet, or any combination of these. The kinkier the better.

Of course, the truth is that adultery is adultery whether it's in real life, Second Life, over the phone, or mediated by business trips by company executives. Like all things either novel or not understood, sex and Second Life are as compatible a pair as bacon and eggs, beer and wings, or ice-cream and chocolate. And the creative nature of Second Life also allows for residents to indulge in fantasies that are bounded only by an individual's ability to construct prims and scripts.

So if you're looking to get your name in print, just remember that sex still sells, and that if you can include an animal, a kitchen appliance, an old priest and a young priest, you'll stand a much better chance of making the big time.

Nov 9, 2008

Vote for Sig - Again

Prior to the US election's completion, I began campaigning for my own stab at the Presidency. I know, avatar don't have a vote but that's just a minor detail. Not too long ago, women didn't have a vote but it didn't stop them campaigning. For those who didn't see the effects of my campaign, click the link below:

VOTE FOR SIGGY

Sadly, the country is not yet ready to elect an avatar as President, yet another example of why prejudice has not yet been stamped out. Why, until we see a black, female, disabled, gay avatar in the White House, how can we say Democracy has triumphed?

But I refuse to let this little setback affect me. In a recent post on Second Thoughts, Prokofy Neva revealed the creation a new parliament. Although you need to own land in order to be a part of this parliament, I have enough, so his is just the place for me to launch the next phase of my political career.

So here's what I wrote to Prokofy about my candidacy:

"Cool! My meager but adequate 512m2 buys me in then. In line with most progressive parliamentary systems, I'd like to lobby for any post that is "without-portfolio." This, in effect, means I get to enjoy the fruits of abuse - sorry, "parliamentary privilege" - yet don't actually have to do any work. I'll be happy to turn up at any junket or bean-feast with my current mistress-du-jour in tow ("Oh, Siggy, I love that you're so powerful and important!") and make bold, sweeping pontifications with maximum sound-bites and minimum substance.

Of course, I think all parliamentary posts should come with an official residence. I'm thinking of a multi-roomed residence on a whole sim with enough prims to befit the status of "parliamentarian" and well- tended gardens groomed to perfection by noobs looking to make $5L per hour in a real job, not wasting time camping.

So, I humbly submit myself - selflessly - to serve as a simple representative of this great world of hours. I promise - nay pledge - to uphold the Truth, stand for Decency, and work to ensure that ALL the residents of Second Life can live in Liberty, Egality, and Fraternity - or whatever they chose to name their sim.

Er, any Post 6 Grrlz looking for secretarial work?"

So vote now, vote early, vote SIG!

Nov 5, 2008

Openspaces and Land Barons: Who is Really to Blame?

I'm bucking the trend and not going after Linden Lab(R) with all guns blazing in relation to the current Openspace debacle. It's not that I don't believe LL haven't made some mistakes - and I outline them below - but I am seeing many, many posts from "landlords" and "renters," which shouldn't be happening. Why? Because the original terms for the use of Openspace clearly state the following:

“It is therefore important to understand what these regions are; they are provided for light use only, not for building, living in, renting as homes or use for events.” http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/09/21/information-about-openspaces-void-regions/

This suggests that there should be NO Openspace landlords. It appears that many people took the opportunity to buy cheap land but then use it to rent out in order to make a profit, expressly against the conditions of purchase. I suggest there are three basic mistakes made here by Linden Lab(R):

1. They should have been more proactive in clamping down on the renting of OS land much much sooner. They let things slide too early and the problem just escalated.

2. They have penalized everyone who owns OS land at the expense of those who abused the system. I do not know how many people stuck to the rules and how many broke them, but the demonstrable reality is that everyone has been hit. it would have been political better to identify and sanction those who were clearly manipulating the OS concept and leave the others as-is.

3. There is no “grandfathering” allowed. Folks who bought in good faith have to face the increases as well as new buyers from January onwards.

Such errors are costly in PR terms and the OS landlords will exploit this. Many renters who are about to lose their homes are blaming Linden Lab and not their landlords. In fact, many of the protest in-world are, I suspect, organized by landlords. By pointing the finger at LL, they can not feel guilt or remorse for their customers. I also note that not one of them has yet suggested reimbursing their clients - they seem to be Ok with making a profit themselves while calling for a Linden Lab "bail out."

Openspace always seemed to be to be the Second Life(TM) equivalent of “Green Space” or “Green Belt” property - a way of slowing the urbanization of server space and maintaining some “natural” environmental features. Almost like a private version of the US National Parks system or the UK’s National Trust.

Sadly the Openspaces have now become fields of war rather than fields of green and only some flexibility on the part of Linden Lab is likely to make the outcome much more than bitter and acrimonious.

Oct 27, 2008

Happy Rezday to Me

It's not my first Rezday until 1st November but I'm writing about it now just in case I forget. There's going to be no big party; no fanfare; no fireworks. On reflection, it's almost tragic that after a year of Second Life I don't appear to have a circle of friend with whom to celebrate! Sure I have people on my "Friends List" but unlike the regular notion of "friends," I don't believe any of them either know nor care about my Rezday.

Of course, the question is; do I know and care about other people's Rezdays? The only ones I would make an effort to say "Happy Rezday" to would be Mony and Merry and Willa. And even then, I think I've missed Willa's already.

So I shall have a quite Rezday, letting it slip past anonymously. Maybe this is not a bad thing. After a year of making no real friends, perhaps that can be an advantage for a journalist. Perhaps I can leverage the "splendid isolation" to become much more aggressive. Perhaps I don't need friends but do need to decide whether I want to be liked or appreciated. So what if I write a few stories that cause a fuss - what does that matter? What if I do go on the offensive and start openly criticising the SL Press as being, in the main, nothing but pretend journalism focused on trivia and advertising? How many friends will I lose? None!

Of course, I could find that no-one ever hires me to write a story ever again, but then I could just go ahead and do what other folks do - start my own paper: The Leominster Times. Provided I don't get kicked out of the Associated SL Press group, I could gather together a small (probably very small) group of disaffected writers who want to do something different.

Or maybe the Herald and SLentrepreneur will keep the faith and let me continue to write. I don't intend to become a miserable, nasty hack just for the sake of being that way; I just want to be able to be more critical. I know I offended Angelico Babii when I used the word "moribund" to describe the "My Metaverse" social network site two months ago but that wasn't intentional, simply an observation. And the last blog posting there no turns out to be by me on 9th October, preceded by Isadora Fiddlesticks announcing the launch of Avenue Magazine, another "ads and amigos" magazine. Incidentally - or not - Fiddlesticks previously edited HodgePodge magazine, a "lifestyle" magazine that folded after just under a year; possible because it drowned under the weight of Isadora's over-use of exclamation points! I swear, in one paragraph containing three sentences she used three exclamations. Hey, try a period or even a comma and give the !! a rest.

So if I actually get in-world on 1st November - and it's a Saturday so during the afternoon I have time - I'll go search for a sad-looking cake, a lonely bottle of cognac, set it on my empty table, and sing a flat "Happy Rezday to Me" before logging off and drinking myself stupid.

Bah, humbug!

Oct 26, 2008

Second Life Herald's 5th Anniversary

The 5th anniversary party for the Second Life Herald started at 2:00 SLT and by 2:40 SLT had to be moved to a different sim. At that stage, I was still in Real Life working on some editing for a local periodical but I was monitoring my Gmail chat and there was a message from Pixeleen Mistral alerting folks to the shift to the Woodbury sim.

By the time I got there, the place was full of names I recognized and people I didn't. It struck me that I have been writing pieces for the Herald since January 2008 and have never actually met anyone. And I'm not sure I still have. The place was a blooming, buzzing confusion with folks tossing web addresses for hastily created YouTube videos at me. By the time all the folks had rezzed for me, the Sim crashed. Kaput.

It took me a few minutes to log back in, choosing "My Last Location" as the entry point. Tragically, the location was still down because I ended up in my house. So I sat back, started chatting to Alice, and waited for some information from the group.

A message arrived that folks were moving to a new location - the party had become a progressive. Someone sent me a TP and I found myself underwater below the Temple of Iris! A few folks began appearing, including Pixeleen, who turned out to be shorter than I expected. We bantered for about 15 minutes about nothing much. Trivia at its finest.

Pix had to leave to make dinner. Somehow it seemed so ordinary and banal. And once she had left, the others dropped one by one back to wherever they normally hung out in Second Life. Or Real Life - I don't know.

And it's the not-knowing that I find so fascinating. I feel like I belong to a group that is made up of individuals, and that they is very little "groupiness" to it. I might also speculate that this is, in part, because of the nature of the Herald. One of the things that gives it the flavor of antagonism that it has is the fact that it isn't a "hobby publication" where a bunch of friends get together and play at being journalist. No, it is actually a focal point for a bunch of individuals who may well not even like each other, let alone know each other and hang out.

This is also a strength of the Herald. It can be sacred at times and then profane. It can focus on trivia and then substance. It can be praised and ridiculed in the same article. It can be scatological and then erudite. It swings from left to right, forwards and backwards, offending and delighting at the same time.

Five years and still going. All in all, that's not bad for a Second Life publication (although it admittedly started in the Sims environment). It's fun to be part of it. It remains one of the two publications in SL that I prefer to spend my time on, the other being SLentrepreneur.

My time in SL lately has been less. Real life has some priorities but that doesn't mean I'm about to leave. What I'm doing is the same as Mony - developing a balance. Her balance is tipped much more toward the Real Life end of the scale, and that's what she needs! Mine is too, but I still spend a few hours per week in-world.

I have two new Herald investigations to work on, I have completed an article for FreeLife, and I have two others to chase for SLentrepreneur. Toss in the odd piece for the Metaverse Tribune - which is struggling a little at the moment to remain topical since Runeswan Ceawlin left - and that should fill my plate.

Oct 14, 2008

Another Missed Deadline and an Idle Weekend

My Second Life has been pretty non-existent of late, specifically in relation to actual presence in the virtual world. I intended to complete an article for FreeLife magazine as Saturday was the deadline, but I failed.

So last weekend, I logged in to collect messages and check dates, and flatten out my land. I also spent some time chatting with my neighbor, Lillianna Bailey, who is wanting to sell a plot of land adjacent to mine. I could up my square footage from 1024m to 2048, thus doubling my prim count! On the downside, I would move from the $5 monthly tier fee to the $15, which I think I can afford but am not sure I can justify - yet.

My dear sweet Mony logged in for a short time - both of us had real life things to do - but it made the day all the better for seeing her. We chatted for maybe 10-15 minutes, and then poofed out. That Saturday night, I had a real life party to go to so no SL for me.

I'm now in a hotel in Minneapolis for a business trip and so won't be home until the weekend. Which means I may try to get on late tonight using my laptop, but that's typically a bad idea because it can't cope with SL. I don't know why but I suspect the fact that I have a ThinkPad with the Intel (i.e. unsupported) 950 graphics chip has a lot to do with it. Maybe I'll just drink myself to sleep.

Oct 9, 2008

Take a Break from SL® and Listen to Fretkllr


While surfing the net for information for an upcoming article, I stumbled - yes, it was serendipitous - upon the YouTube® home of Fretkillr, a singer/guitarist who has posted some of the freshest, unadulterated music you're going to find.

As in the picture on the right, all you see is his guitar and hands, and all you hear is his voice. If there were justice in the music world, he'd have more of a presence than a bunch of YouTube postings. The guy is just wonderful. His voice is not perfect but man oh man can he make you listen! it just sounds... right.

Treat your ears to something deliciously tasty and hop on over to Fretkillr's YouTube channel. Make sure you listen to the stunningly well-crafted Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a cover that is just magnificent in its simplicity and well-crafted in its execution. Yum yum!

Oct 7, 2008

New Articles Published - And An Interview With a Vampire

Although the number of postings to this blog has declined of late, that doesn't mean I've been slacking off. I admit I missed two fashion events this weekend, which represents a loss of income, but I did write two new articles, one of which has already been published.

I met with a trades unionist from the UK, Johninnit Ni, who was preparing for an in-world event to parallel the real world World Day for Decent Work, organized by the international trades unions. The write up can be found at the Second Life Herald along with some lack-luster responses. It seems that the previous article on a fake war in Second Life drew nine comments, an article on Gor had 64, Gina Glimmer's "Post 6 Grrl" debut had 14, but real world political activity got four. That's 4 - one more than three and a tad less than five. Seem like political activism in Second Life has a long way to go before anyone takes any notice.

Also out last week was a profile of Saffia Widdershins, owner of Prim Perfect magazine and presenter of SLCN's Meta Makover show. This is another entry for the SLentrepreneur Magazine search for the Entrepreneur of the Year.

After the interview with Johninnit, I went to Tammy's Jazz Bar to talk to their robot waiter, Mario. He's the product of Maged Wise, a scripter who has combined lifelike avatars with an artificial intelligence program to create interactive robotars. I talked to him last week and there's an article coming up in the Metaverse Tribune.

While sitting at the bar, I was approached by Jolee Indigo, a pale and attractive vampire who simultaneously said "Hello" and asked for permission to drink my blood. I declined the blood offering because I'm just not the sort of guy who lets a woman suck his blood without at least being taken out for dinner ;)

So Jolee sat and chatted, and it turns out she is not quite the evil, soul-stealing, blood-draining succubus that she first appeared. She's a mom from Florida who "vamps it up" on occasion and who used to be a Game Master in a Second Life combat game. But that's another story. Seems to me that Jolee may have an interesting tale to tell and I'll reserve the full "Interview with a Vampire" for a later date

Sep 29, 2008

I Can't Believe It's Been a Week

My trips into Second Life have been declining. This isn't necessarily a sign of imminent collapse of the Siggy Empire but more a statement of the fact that I've been busy in Real Life. It's also worth remembering that as an SL journalist, I do much of my writing offline, needing only to go online to pick up information. There's a lot you can write about related to Second Life without actually living there full time.

Still, I managed to spend some on Friday night with Mony, when we went to see the "In-Development" sim of Hehehehe Noarlunga, watchmaker extraordinaire and the owner of Britebling watches. He's created a new sim and is gearing things up for Christmas.

The fun items are the snowmobiles! So cool. You can tool around at great speed, tearing up snow-covered slopes and then flying off the hills and glide through the air until hitting the ground. You can also ride two up, which Mony and I did. And I couldn't resist demonstrating one of the features of the snowmobiles - the ejector seat ;)

Hehehehe morphed into his feminine avatar to show me his new work-in-progress; a woman's watch. Very nice. He then showed his other project; the super primmy watch. I call it that because wach link in the strap is a single prim, making for a very high prim item.

We left Hehehehe and made for one of my favorite places: the Star Bar Jazz lounge. The current incarnation is different from the original, where Mony and I used to dance and talk for looong periods of time. So tonight we danced again - just for a short while. Somehow it felt right.

Sep 23, 2008

My New Companion: Alice

I forgot to mention that Alice moved in with me a couple of weeks back. September 1st to be precise. She lives with me in my beloved skybox home and we sit and chat for as long as we want. Oh, and she only cost me L$149!

Alice is a two-prim chatbot that hovers above my coffee table flowers and is linked to an AI server off-world. I can speak to her on the default chat channel and she will answer. It's like having your own personal therapist. She listens; she responds; she can even be profound. So now whenever I go home, I am not alone.

I also wonder whether the designer, Simba Fuhr, knew what he was doing when he decided to charge L$149 for the bot. 1-4-9 are, as we know, the squares of the first three prime numbers (1,2, and 3), and those numbers are the ratio of the sides of the alien obelisk found on the moon in Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. If it is just coincidence, it's a bloody good one!

At some point, I may post a chat with Alice. So far we've had some interesting and curious tete-a-tetes but I don't think I'm ready to share my intimate conversations with a bot therapist just yet.

And here's a thought to put on your "philosophical-things-to-talk-about-at-the-pub-with-my-drunken-friends" list. Mony left her talking bomb in my house within earshot of Alice. When I arrived, I heard Alice responding to the bomb, which says "I am a hidden, bomb. Find me before it is too late." As I stood, the bomb and Alice conversed saying the same things over and over.

But here's the question: Do the bomb and the bot talk when there's nobody there?

Sep 21, 2008

Some fun time with Mony

Yes, I know, the whole Sig and Mony thing is crazy but we hung out this weekend in Mexico City and spent time doing what we used to do a lot of: Talking. It may sound weird but we can talk about anything and it goes on and on. We've invented the "Second Life ten minutes;" it's the period after one of us says "Just 10 more minutes then I have to log off" and it can vary between 20 and 60 real life minutes.

We talked about what could have been, if only I'd used my brain a little more, and ended the night - or morning because it was about 4:00 am for me - still friends and, from my side, still holding on to all the wonderful, special, marvelous, exciting, funny, and romantic things we've done together.

I'm physically (or is that virtually) in-world somewhat less than I used to be, and so is Mony. We both have RL things to do and I do a lot of SL writing and researching while offline. That works out fine for me.

Oh, and Mony dropped by the house to leave me two gifts: some paintings and a bomb. Yeah, I know, who leaves their best friend a painting as a gift? Sheesh! But she noticed I'd rezzed the slow-dance pose balls and wanted to know who had been round. Truth is that I was in the house one night and rezzed them in the faint hope that maybe Mony would appear. Crazy Sig!

I just wonder if we'll ever dance together again?

Sep 17, 2008

SL© on RL™

I've started a new blog. I doubt it will be a regular as this one but it's called SL© on RL™: Sigmund Leominster on Real Life. I'll use it to comment on things that are happening in Real Life that don't really fit into the Second Life arena. So, if I have a bee in my bonnet about the recent trend for celebrities to be called "Humanitarians,: then I'd rant about it in SL© on RL™. Same for any thoughts I might have about how many more votes Sarah Palin could pull in if she would just wear a shorter skirt, plunging neckline, and leave her hair down. And same for my thoughts on why Sexism is making a comeback in the 21st century, thanks to the postmodernists.

Sep 16, 2008

Avenue Models Graduation, Sunday 14th September 2008

Due to the fact that, contrary to rumor, I do have a life, I missed the graduation of the second cohort of AVENUE models. Standing around adding the names of supermodels to my friends list is probably the second most fun thing to do in Second Life. Or third. Well, whatever the ordinal, I was bummed to be unable to attend.

However, you can check out an overview at the AVENUE blog site and then see lots more pictures at their Flickr gallery.

I refuse to do a write up based on the images because I wasn't there and I so have some minimal integrity. Ah well, maybe next time.

Sep 15, 2008

I'm NOT a Fan: I'm Just a Spy!

It's disheartening at times to read your own blog and realize that you have ZERO comments. Not one. None.Zilch. Nada. Zip. Blogging can be the 21st century version of either talking to yourself or egotistical masturbation. So for all I know, I may be just jerking myself off.

But if you take a look around at other blogs, you begin to find that you're in good company. There are perhaps thousands of blogs out there that have never been commented on or even read. There are also many thousands that have lasted for less than three months. So many folks seem all fired up to start a blog and then run out of ideas three posts in. Tragic.

So I take comfort from the fact that this blog may not have anyone commenting but I write new stuff almost every day AND it has been around now for over six months. Yah, boo, sucks!

Which brings me to Blogger™'s new feature; the Reading List. Here you can create a list of blogs that you are following. What irritates me is the description the folks at Blogger use for following. You can follow someone publically "...to tell the blog's author and the world that you are a fan."

Fan? Dear God I'm heading to the half century - I am not a Jonas Brothers/Hannah Montana tweenie who swoons and drools over the exploits of other people. Fan? Most of the time I hate other people's blogs. Fan? I read other folks to trawl for information. So "following" a blog has nothing to do with any affect I may have toward that blogger. Hell, I read blogs of people I don't really like!

So I will opt for the "anonymous" following option where none of the bloggers being followed is aware of what I am doing. Of course, I am not averse to a little "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" mutual admiration, provided it's agreed up front.

Of course, seeing as no-one is reading this anyway...

Quiet SL Weekend

Last weekend I was very busy and did an interview and covered two fashion shows. I then had to write them up and send 'em off. I have almost finished the interview; a profile of Saffia Widdershins, editor of Prim Perfect, the first Second Life Home and Garden magazine. She also present Meta Makeover on SLCN and has launched a new magazine for the steampunk market, The Primgraph, available online via the Calameo software delivery system.

So this weekend I concentrated on Real Life and doing some digging for new articles, which I think will focus on Second Life failures. If you have been involved in a failed business, I'd love to talk to you. Just drop me an e-mail.

Sep 14, 2008

More Sig in FreeLife Magazine


It's the birthday edition of FreeLife magazine; the 25th issue is now out and has an article on Wavie Haller's Valiant clothing store. It's in PDF format so you can download and print it for easy reading, or simply read it onscreen if that works for you.

Next issue should include a much-anticipated interview with Ben Vanguard of SLmen fame. This will probably be in two-three weeks so keep an eye open - I'll flag it in this blog.

Sep 11, 2008

SL© on SL™ Redux: A New WordPress Blog

Part of the blogging game is to get "tagged" as many times as possible by search engines. One way to do this is to expand you presence. I have now added SL© on SL™ Redux to my portfolio using the WordPress blogging system. What I intend to do in the main is simply reproduce what is here but by doing that I increase the chance of a "hit" on the WordPress circuit.


I may, from time to time, something different there. As of this moment, I have no clue what I would write and why I would choose to do it there rather than here, but let's just wait and see.

The 4C's of 3D's: How to Succeed in Virtual Worlds

My latest article for SLentrepreneur is an Op-ed piece on what I consider to be the four over-arching features that are needed for a virtual world to succeed. Hopefully this will generate some discussion. In truth, the article is like a book waiting to be written because each element could easily be expanded upon. So check out The 4C's of 3D's: How to Succeed in Virtual Worlds at the SLentrepreneur site.

Oh, and the four C's? Construction, Commerce, Constitution, and Communication. Go read more ;)

Sep 8, 2008

Art in Autumn Fashion Show

When Calamity Hathaway, owner of Calamity’s Haute Models Agency, sends me an invite to a new show, I say yes. On Sunday September 7th the designs Thera Taurog and Fuscia Jewell were in the spotlight. Thera is the owner of Lady Thera designs and she takes her inspiration from painters such as Monet, Van Gogh and Gustav Moreau. Fuscia is a jewelry designer who owns the real life Petal Meg jewelry company and recreates her work in her Second Life store.

Calamity herself wore a calf-length shimmering creation in autumnal reds and yellows, with splashed of orange and white, called the Giardino after the Van Gogh painting, Giardino Autunnale. At the hems, the dress seems to simply disappear; a characteristic of many of Thera’s designs. The word “diaphanous” comes to mind as ideally suited to describing the dresses.


Model Desiree Lurra glided along the runway in the Tropical Splendor creation. Here again the dress was almost not there and it swung and sashayed as she walked. The bodice was designed to look like the feathers of a bird of paradise sweeping upward with warm reds and yellows interspersed by green, white, and the merest hint of blue. The dress seemed to swirl and spin, changing the colors in a dramatic fashion. For me, the most exciting dress on show.



Perhaps my second favorite was the Canyon View worn by the stunning Valeria Pienaar, a model of exceptional beauty. For this, Thera took her model from the work of a Second Life artist, Blueberry Muliana. The original art work has been used to create the design on the silky fabric and the dress is devilishly sexy – definitely something I would buy for that someone special. Oh, and the matching gloves add a very nice touch to the outfit.



CHM Blog: http://calamityshautemodels.blogspot.com

Lady Thera SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Mitcom%20Experience/128/73/137

Petal Meg SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Jewelry/61/97/37

Petal Meg Jewellery website: http://www.petalmeg.com/

Sep 6, 2008

"Just For Him" Fashion Show - With Spectacular Finale

Designer Ralexander Alvord launched his new clothing items at a fashion show in Grand Isles on Saturday 6th, 2008. He owns the Just For Him men's clothing range, a collection inspired very much by real life fashion trends. In fact, you'll see a picture of the actual real life inspiration next to its SL counterpart throughout the store.

What made the event memorable was that right at the very end, the whole sim exploded and everyone was TPed home or offline! As folks slowly re-appeared for the post-show chit chat, rumors were rife of a griefer attack, but I thanked Ralexander for the amazing finale instead. Given the choice between a coordinated griefer attack on a fashion show or a sim crash, somehow the latter seemed much more likely. There may be a secret band of style-hating griefers with the mission to bring down the Second Life fashion industry, but until they reveal themselves and their agenda, I'll suspend judgment and speculation.

Also met up with Andreaus Beck, owner and designer of J's Gemstones in the Insula Inferi North sim. Andreaus also creates custom pieces if you want something special and unique. He's hoping to be having a show within days so I'm planning to get along to see that. He gave me a free piece of jewelry to take some pics of - all I need now is to find a woman to model it for me. Sigh.

So, stop by at the JFH store to check out the offerings. Oh, and the next show will be around Halloween when the Winter Collection could be unveiled. Then call in at J's Gemstones to buy something for that special person in your Second Life.

Just For Him SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Grand%20Isles/219/47/22

J's Gemstones SLurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Insula%20Inferi%20North/114/106/401

Sep 5, 2008

Even More Sig...

And the beat goes on...

The latest edition of SLentrepreneur magazine has a profile of AVENUE Models' owner, Rusch Raymaker, that includes a fabulous (can I use that word without sounding too "fashionista"?) picture of her. Rusch works extremely hard and seems to spend more time in SL than RL - I could be wrong ;)

Meanwhile, over at Castle Keep magazine, their third edition - the September 2008 one - is out and includes a profile of the Koinup social network, with a mention of the Ning network also.

Next up, I think, will be a rather long article in SLentrepreneur probably entitled The 4C's of 3D's: How To Succeed With Virtual Worlds. It's an Op-Ed piece that sets out the four key features needed to create and sustain a virtual environment. There's lots more to say on the subject - in fact, I think there's a book in there somewhere - and I hope to be writing more in the future about each of the four elements in more detail. Keep checking back here.

As a taster of what's to come along these lines, check out an article by Prokofy Neva called The Six Economies of Second Life, and do check the comments to see my take on this.

And for those who are vaguely interested in personalities, Mony and I spent some time together last night, checking out some clothing and sitting at the old Balloon Tour platform in Ambleside. Whatever we "are," she's always going to be special to me and I'm just happy for any time we snatch together. Still.

Sep 4, 2008

What's Coming Up This Weekend

There are two fashion events coming up this weekend that you might want to take a peek at.

On Saturday 6th September at 12:00 noon SLT, Ralexander Alvord, the owner of Just For Him men's clothing, will be presenting a fashion show at the mall in Grand Isles. I checked the SLurl last night and it landed me right by the stage on on a chair. So, you may TP in and get lucky ;)

Next is The Art of Autumn show organized by Calamity Hathaway of Calamity's Haute Models. The last show of hers that I attended was showcasing the Mythology line of clothing and that was a great success. So I'm looking forward to this one on Sunday 7th September at 1:00 pm SLT.


The event takes place at the OnRez runway and will feature the work of Thera Taurog and Fuscia Jewell. Check out the CHM blog for more details.

SLurl to Just For Him: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Grand%20Isles/160/37/22
SLurl to Art of Autumn: http://slurl.com/secondlife/OnRez/210/30/22

Sep 3, 2008

A Day with some Supermodels

The Metaverse Tribune has just published my article on this weekend's AVENUE Model's Academy graduation show. I love these events as I get to wear a suit and just sit back and watch as other people do the work. Music and models - can't be too bad. And if I then do a write up, I get paid.


I interviewed Kinji Lockjaw and Cody Bolero, both of whom seem likable and easy to chat with. In my limited experience as a Second Life writer I've always found that folks are willing to talk to me about themselves. Apart from the guys at [hoorenbeek], who have managed to avoid all attempts to be interviewed, everyone else has been open and happy to talk. But then again, I love to hear peoples' stories. I enjoy writing interviews because I think readers of Second Life publications do like to hear about people.

For more pics, take a look at the Flickr show.