I’m usually weary of a viewer that claims to be better than then Linden Lab’s. Alternative viewers usually claim improvements but seem to be very similar versions of the official Second Life™ viewer. However, when Hamlet drools over something it’s worth taking a look at, in this case it was Kirstenlee Cinquetti’s new Second Life Viewer dubbed "Kirstens Viewer". After a solid weeks use, Kirstens Viewer boasts significant improvements and features, making it a worthwhile alternative.
Linden Lab has announced their purchase of the two web based merchange systems XStreet SL and OnRez. Their plan is to incorporate these services directly into Second Life. This is a smart move on Linden Lab’s part; by incorporating these service merchants are able to streamline their items, and goods through one platform. When Linden Lab created LindeX, the currency exchange service, it tied the purchasing and selling of currency to user accounts making it more accessible and easier to transfer currency throughout the platform. I feel the XStreet SL and OnRez acquisitions will provide a similar ease of use, a more robust classifieds system and an easier method for searching for virtual goods within Second Life. Continue reading
The Second Life community is spread throughout many social media services. Regardless of the platform you’ll find residents communicating with one another outside of the grid. Plurk has become one of the many interesting social networks that has drawn a lot of attention from Second Life residents.
Plurk is a timeline based micro-blogging service that allows threaded conversations. Think of Jaiku, but horizontal. In some aspects Plurk acts like a forum, the ability to respond and discuss topics leads to some very interesting conversations. The downfall is that responses are limited to 140 characters. Unlike some other micro-blogging services, Plurk easily integrates YouTube and Flickr into updates, making it more enticing to the Second Life user. There’s also an ability to format links and to send messages to a group of people privately or publically.
If you are on Plurk, but would like to interact with other residents, Moggs Oceanlane has compiled a list of Second Life Plurkers, one which many keep on adding to. For those unfamiliar or new to Plurk, there are several resources that introduce and discuss many of Plurk’s features, here are a few I like:
- Official Plurk FAQ
- Plurking Help the Complete Plurk How To Guide for Plurkers old and Plurks Noobs to
- Plurking for Freelancers: Tapping Social Media Conversation
- Plurk Layout/Skinning Resources
- Flickr Group: Plurk Themes
- Unofficial Plurk Resource Sites
You can also fan or friend me and Plurk and join in the Karma fun!
The residents of Scion City were informed that the city will be closing at the end of January. Scion City, built by Millions of Us, is a beautifully designed series of urban sims centered around the Scion brand. Since its conception it became a small community that brought together residents, a major corporation, and Second Life through giving loft spaces to active Second Life residents (such as yours truely.) The project attached several interesting components together, including a sci-fi machinima series SAND that took place in the future Scion City where archeologists were trying to find the city.
I’ve always felt Scion City was one of those great projects that a group of community members backed. It’s interesting to see how a brand can extend into an idea. Scion City is open until January 31st and I recommend residents visit the area before it disappears into the digital void.
My real life identity and ethnicity bleeds into my Second Life; I am a Hispanic/Black male and would like to have my avatar resemble my ethnicity and race. Within Second Life I’ve found that this can be a hard, tiring and frustrating process. The reasons are not technical in nature, it has nothing to do with my inability to wear skins or a graphics card failure; it has everything to do with inaccurate and insufficient content. While there’s an abundance of “dark” or “tan” skins, they do not have the features of the ethnicities and races they represent; clothing, hair, and accessories suffer from a lack of accuracy, identity and quality. This has caused me a great deal of frustration.
I grow more frustrated by the current ethnic content; while many exist, it does not seem correct and lacks details I’m used to in real life. I have yet to find a designer who is completely exempt from my ire. Some designers do better than others but they seem far and few in between. My current avatar has flaws I would like to see fixed by other designers in the very near future. In some sense I feel as if I’m settling for an appearance that does not fit my identity.
Before continuing, I want to be clear about my frustration; it is the inability to represent myself as an Hispanic/Black/Ethnic avatar due to the poor quality and/or limited options available within Second Life. I’m not claiming racism (that I’m denied access due to the color of my skin), if anything I’m saying there’s ignorance (possibly bordering on negligence, although too harsh of a word) among content creators as it pertains to ethnic avatars.