Wednesday, 25 November 2009

In memory of Bluewave

This is a serious blog entry, as you can't get much more serious than death. A couple of hours ago I heard that someone who I admired and liked greatly in Second Life died last night. I knew her mostly as Bluewave Ogee: in the physical world she was Professor Leslie Jarmon.

When I saw the subject line on the SLED discussion list I was first disbelieving, and then stunned. She was one of the co-founders of the Educators Coop, and after I got to know her co-founder, North Lamar, I was invited in, even though I wasn't renting Coop land. It has been wonderful being part of the Coop, a group of people to chat with, learn from and share frustrations with. Bluewave was always helpful, always encouraging, a real leader and mentor. People say a lot things about people being loved and inspirational in obituaries (which I suppose is what I am writing) but Bluewave was those things.

I suppose I will be getting increasing numbers of cold shocks from electronic messages beamed out to discussion lists or twitter - deaths of real friends, but who are not so close that I would be someone who was told before all the others who will be mourning too. There is a memorial set up on the University of Texas sim at with pictures of her in both lives and a box to post notecards with tributes and memories. I teleported in and left a notecard and exchanged words with people there, but there wasn't anyone I knew.

Then I saw that North had come inworld, and when I checked on the map there was someone on the newest Educators Coop island, so I teleported over and he was there at a memorial that Rx has made. Bluewave was North's advisor for his PhD, and he had been with her shortly before she died. I learnt a bit more about her family, and her illness, but mostly it was good to be in the Coop, with North, who I think must have introduced us, and who must feel her loss greatly. While we were standing there, North sent out a message to the Coop group, and so gradually a few others arrived.
The second picture shows us there: we are adding flowers around the pool and North put up a word bubble that a friend of Bluewave's had made.

North said that she had sent a message for the Educators Coop members "tell them it's been REAL". It is real, and that means the loss is real too. Going back to find a decent picture of Bluewave I remember the many Coop meetings, the visits, Coop projects ... it seems impossible that she won't still be part of that. She had just had an amazing success: Texas had bought 50 islands, to invest significantly in SL as an environment for learning, and her leadership had managed that: so it will be a loss for SL education too. However what I will miss most is the chat, the IMs to "Dear Sheila!"

Don't think I'll be putting any jokey tags on this entry.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Happenings, meetings, all too much

Storyquests taken: 1 (excellent); Educators meetings attended: 4 (approx) (good); Teaching sessions held: several (as good as can be expected); No. of days between writing this entry and publishing it: 12 (bad)
As is usual when v. active in SL and indeed RL have been failing somewhat on the blogging front. Have, though, noticed unerving tendency to compose blog entries in head as working into work. Alas when get to work am swept away in happy (ahem) whirl of email, teaching, etc. etc. Also may have noted before that tend to avoid blogging about students since would not want to offend them by sounding offhand or slighting. Thus will not say to much about that side of things, perhaps will reserve that for special post in dull and factual tone.
In fact did a lot of reflecting about SL because did talk as part a research seminar series and was invited by Jackie and DrJoolz to talk about my adventures in SL in autoethnographic fashion. Since "SL" and "myself" are 2 of my favourite things, was v. excited about this, and will upload ppt in due course. Actually should be sooner than "due course" as am getting polite reminders from organisers. And could be doing that instead of blogging whilst uploading to flickr (these are the two tasks currently being multi-ed)

Note: Have returned to blogging after mad whirl of information literacy week in SL, and discovered this sad stump of a post. Decide might as well publish it, although it is pretty dull. Picture doesn't show any of the events mentioned above: once infolit week was over decided to spend 40 minutes recreationally, & created moody autumnal island with new sculpty reindeer from G Field, 50 Linden greenhouse and my new favourite birch trees from AG.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Trenches visited: 1 (sobering); Remembrance day areas created: 1 (tasteful, hopefully)
Am in midst of Infolit Week in SL prep, but took time out to locate remembrance day poppy wreath, poppy rezzer and Heart garden centre poppy plants (Big and Small) in inventory. Remembrance Day is (for non-Brits) on the 11th day of the 11th month, but the big commemoration (Cenotaph, Queen, wreath-laying etc.) is on the Sunday nearest to the 11th. Oxford Uni have just opened a Western Front Trenches & war poems archive sim (in case people needed reminding that war not good thing), and from that I got a full permissions poppy, so you can get one on Infolit, also there is a tablet that gives a landmark to the Western Front. The Infolit area, with poppies and tablet, (pictured here) is at

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Halloween, cave, mountain

Sculpty halloween cave mountains installed: 1 (good); No. of coffins installed: 2 (good); no. of gravestones installed: 3 (good); no. of funky multi-time-zone chronometers installed: 1 (v. good); No. of pumpkins installed: countless (v. orange)
As a break between serious work with students (3 sessions so far) and numerous education meetings, have been installing and decorating Halloween cave mountain. Discovered basic mountain (2 levels of cave complex, plus 2 layers above with one cave room each, plus assorted waterfalls and paths) I forget how, but anyway was designer whose work hadn't really explored before and his/her sim turned out to be filled with exotic sculpty cave constructions. Had seen some grottos made out of Scupted Prims, but this takes to whole new level (literally), with apartment blocks of caves.

Buying finger was itching to purchase, and v. soon thought of excuse, namely that had not yet determined form of the 2009 Infolit iSchool Halloween celebration, and a cave complex seemed just the ticket.
Think, with all those rushing waterfalls (which cover cave entrances BTW, so is actually Secret Sculpty Halloween Cave Mountain) is probably also v. v. laggy, so waited til after 1st student session. Then positioned carefully in what is normally the empty corner of Infolit iSchool and have proceeded to stuff with accumulated Halloween Fun, as collected in Halloween 2007 and 2008, with several must-have 2009 additions.
My 3 favourite items, in no particular order are:

1) Aina's Grave and Prayer, consisting of a grave and a patch of ground. In each you SIT and then cycle through 3 poses by clicking the item. In the Grave the positions are: Buried (invisible); One hand sticking out of grave; Leaping Out of Grave. In the Prayer object the positions are: Praying, Startled and Running Like Hell. In the pic you see Ishbel as the dead person, and me as the mourner. Ishbel had just bought a free pair of wings from an ajoining cave, which think adds to the effect. Creator: Aina Yoshikawa (I've also put her Chair That Drops A Flowerpot in the caves)

2) Halloween pumpkin chronometer. This has time in various places of SL and RL, and it whooshes out steam and bats, also there are spooky noises. It is thus the only item in the caves that has some vague kind of utility (the time function, rather than the bats). I started by putting it outside the cave and then moved it to be the piece de resistence in the innermost of the ground level caves. Creator: Greene Concept.

3) Pumpkin hanging lights. These do not do anything apart from hang there, but they are v. cute and colourful. Creator: Oddment

If you want to Explore, then the bottom entrance is at but go soon, as it will all disappear after Halloween.

PS am thinking of adding recording of me reading entries as another way of wasting own time and possibly yours. Below is the recording of this one. Am too close to microphone in some places, but frankly can't be bothered to record it again, but, anyway, there it is. Will do better next time.
URL is :

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pigs fly

Research launches attended: 1 (invigorating); Flying pigs rezzed: 1 (joyful); No. of flying pigs set with Poop On: 1 (amusing)
In RL attended today launch of Digital World initiative in which researchers in all reaches of university are exhorted to work in purposeful harmony to bag huge wodges of dosh for research that is, in some way, however tangential, about The Digital World. As far as can see are not v. lucrative new opportunities for dosh, but idea is that by working together can grab more of what is already on offer from research councils, EU etc.
Anyway, most memorable part was when assembled company was exhorted not to submit crap research bids, since said crapness would soil fair name of uni and make it likely that any future bids from other parts of uni would be lightly tossed aside simply from have originated from same institution. Obviously everyone v. sobered by this awful prospect, though must say that was seized by sudden urge to go home and write crap bid just to be awkward. Burning question remains though: exactly what IS a crap research bid? e.g. is it worse if the proposed research is crap, or if the proposal itself is?
On further thought, realised that could propose whole research programme stimulated by this theme, e.g.
1. Phenomenographic investigation into variations of conceptions of “crap research” at a Russell group University **
2. An action research project with starting problem “I want my research proposals to be less crap”, with at least two iterations of the action research cycle and employment of a panel of embittered old dons as critical friends
3. An auto-ethnographic investigation conducted by someone who has a well-documented trail of evidence showing that s/e always submits crap research proposals; leading to playfully transgressive accounts of lived experience of not getting research grants.
4. A case study of an academic department which is reknowned for its crap research bids, using Eisenhardt’s process of theory building to develop a model of crap research bid production;
5. A Delphi study to gain an expert consensus on the future character and prospects of crap research;
6. An investigation into factors determining crapness in research proposals, using a grounded theory approach;
6. A poll on Facebook of which researcher you would most like to throw crap at.

Hmm, that last one is a bit nasty, but if Facebook then would only be virtual crap. Anyway, might well ask what connection this have SL. One answer is that any of the above might become Virtual World Research candidates were the words “in SL” inserted somewhere within them. Other is that, although have been doing digital stuff for aeons, SL has made RL alt more likely to troll along to events such as these.

Day was not without SL activity, in that after zipping from said research meeting to some teaching, zipped back to help Bluewave who was introducing SL to a roomful of people in Texas. Bluewave has been v.v. successful in getting money to purchase dozens of regions, and is also v. helpful person generally. Have pics of this but on my other computer, so may add one later.
Afterwards spared a few minutes to fiddle around with latest animal purchase, namely flying pig.
Was in v. cute shop on Wednesday (see first pic) when Pancha IMed re. the posters that we are putting together for Alejandro’s Spanish-language discussion in Infolit week. As well as flying pigs, are also flying moles, moles that pop out of ground, lamb and pig merry-go-rounds (they wiggle their legs! they are so cute!) and much more. Tped Pancha to admire same and also have more serious discussion, and could not resist buying pig before leaving for Infolit.
Pigs are copy, and can set height, range o flight, and set chirp and poop (splats descend from sky) on and off. They take off v. gracefully, and are good size for those occasions when some animal interest is in order but you don’t want people being knocked over all the time. Also could be useful if you have to implement decision of Facebook poll, though might need to rez whole flock to get sufficient splat coverage.
Unfortunately haven't yet taken close-up pig pic., but looks like pig in 1st pic, but with wings. Is speck above me and Pancha in 2nd pic., happily chirping and pooping. 3rd pic shows Pancha and me contemplating her information literacy poster with multiple embedded notecards. Alfabatizacion Informacional para toda la vida. Indeed.
** [note to Australians: this is like “sandstone”; note to Americans: this is not quite as good as Ivy League]

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Found (sort of)

Posts rediscovered: 63 (good); Of these, posts actually visible on blog: 0 (bad)

Seems to be some magic in writing about problems on this blog, since as soon as had done so, was able to access posts in editable form on Wordpress. However, if want to use them in some way, will still have to get them out of the iheartsl blog and into another one. Immediately created another blog on Wordpress in vain hope that option would pop up enabling one to transfer posts from one to the other in an easy click. Know is EXPORT function but think it applies to whole blog

At any rate, have not time to puzzle that out today. Will have another look when current work-related frenzy is past ... which will be ... not any time this week (teaching! more teaching! marking! finishing a paper! being internal examiner in a viva! and so forth) ... but will fit it in somehow.

In the meantime, this is the information-literacy-skydeck that students will be using in 7 days time. It features one 7 Pillars of IL wheel per group. Spent most of Friday night converting Educational Informatics Village into this.


Blogs deactivated: 1 (bad); Blog posts vanished: 63 (v.v. bad)

Have mentioned that do some SL fashion blogging at, which is a blog on Wordpress. This is/was a huge blog, with a lot of people directing in feeds from other fashion blogs. Some people, like me, just posted there directly. When I posted yesterday, there were over 16,000 postings. This is the post, on the right (just managed to catch it before it vanished off the aggregator). Now, you might think that the world is better off without such bizarre postings, and indeed if I don't fashion blog any more that will be, um, XXX hours per year saved to do more meaningful things. However, had thought that it was harmless fun.
Anyway, when logged in today, found that was unable to access iheartsl blog, or any of my blog posts on it. Instead was notice that blog had been deactivated for breaching Terms of Service.
To cut long story short (since should currently ber finishing off teaching for tomorrow, not maundering over lost fashion blog posts) the blog contravened TOS in that took paid advertising. Gogo (also my landlady in SL, for my shop on Juicy), who runs iheartsl, claims that they had been in communication with someone who was not her, which is why she didn't give anyone any notice, see
She has set up another site, but basically for people who feed in stuff from other blogs, and she doesn't say anything about people like me who are apparently waving bye-bye to their old posts.
Have sent report to Wordpress asking for access to posts back (as certainly don't want whole 16.000 posts to sift through for my 60!) and will also notecard Gogo, but is is rather depressing.
Lessons learned:
- remember that when use free blogging services, can all vanish overnight
- beware services where you are not the admin
- back stuff up (sigh) (of course I hadn't)
If really want to, can probably retrieve entries searching on Google and then clicking on "Cached" for each (just checked, yes I can) and probably should do it soon before they aren't cached any more. However will take time, which at present, don't really have. O bother.
Worst thing is that was going to use some of these entries in Serious Presentation giving on 12th October as a contribution to a seminar in an ESRC Research Seminar series. Am going to use autoethnographic approach to chart my personal journey. So not just frivolous nonsense. Honestly.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


Presentations made: 1 (wonderful); No. of natural breaks taken: 1 (convenient); No. of problems with voice: zero (good); No. of times buried unexpectedly in chair: 1 (bad)
Have given 10 minute presentation, possibly taking 12 minutes, but at any rate kept roughly to time. Here you see me seated on the podium with other panellists, with my introductory slide.
Had newbie moment when tried to sit in chair on podium and suddenly found self sort of embedded up side down. Even in SL is slightly embarrassing when done in front of audience. Knowclue (the one with wings) had similar moment, which led me to recall time in July 2007 when we were both newbies and met in Abo Akademi. I was wearing a garish assortment of garments and Knowclue had trouble unbending her knees. Happy days. I found the pic of this and sent it to her afterwards.

Back to 2009. In fact didn't use powerpoint, just had notecard which inevitably spent 3 times as long preparing as thought I would. Used voice, and although had had no time to test, it worked ok. Was talking about Innovative Media Literacy. Suppose should put notecard up somewhere and link to it, so (pause while copy it into textpad and save on server) here it is. Had good response though mostly people DO say nice things after SL presentations, whatever, so sometimes difficult to tell whether actually did go down well. Other speakers were Alexandria Knight, Larry Klugman, Celestia, and Knowclue Kidd, plus Valibrarian Gregg who was chairing.
Knowclue showed some nice films done by her students, only drawback was that, whilst watching films, suddenly was unable to type in any kind of chat or IM, and list of Friends disappeared. Decided would be too rude to relog whilst still on podium, so waited to later, and was just grateful that no-one asked me direct question. Turned out afterwards that several people had the same thing, somthing to do with the media texture.

Is obviously one of problems in SL that have these glitches which cause one to need to log on and off. However earlier had enjoyed benefits, when decided that would like to answer Call of Nature before was due to speak, and could remain on podium in SL strapped to chair (at least, that's what the animation looks like) whilst flitting off to the Conveniences in RL.

Stayed on for next session, talk by Krull Quarr (who has v. nice whiskers, here is pic of him earlier, listening to concert), but not for later musical entertainment which promised "amusing modern songs about real life." Who needs amusing real life when can listen to a cat talking about scripting?


Sim crashes: 1 (bad); Concerts attended: 1 (unexpected) (but pleasant, obviously)

Am speaking on panel about Innovation in SL education and libraries this evening. Is part of opening celebrations for new Innovation Infoisland. In fact was due to be speaking in 9 mins time, but instead am listening to live improvisatory recital from AldoManution Abruzzo, together with everyone else on the panel and about 40 others, due to earlier sim crash and thus delay to all proceedings.

When happens is going to be rather of a Speed Panel as we only have 10 mins each, a challengingly small time even in RL. But - hark - the music has stopped. So must stop blogging and go to Panel instead.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Eyes redux

Eyeballs reappearing: 2 (v. good)
Happy news, but makes me look rather an idiot (hey, nothing new there). After handcrafting previous post on sad loss of Indigo eyes, logged in and - they aren't lost any more! When I wear them, they appear! Which is great, but doesn't explain why they didn't work (and I tried them a few times) yesterday. Thinking about it, there wasn't the "missing from the database" message I got with "My Body Small Feet", so evidently wasn't a missing texture problem.
Anyway, here are both the Miriel Winter eyes (which you would have been hard pressed to see properly in my last pic) on the left, and the Miriel Indigo ones, on the right. As you can see, they are both very attractive. It is a shame Miriel decided to retire.

The eyes have it

Eyes missing: 1 (v.v. bad); Boots bought: 2 pairs. And lots of flats. And some sandals (good)
Am prompted to blog by disconcerting occurrence yesterday. Was out shopping for boots when suddenly noticed something odd in the ocular region. When looked closer realised that problem was complete lack of eyeballs.

This is a good look for Halloween, but not for chairing an Information Literacy Week in Second Life planning meeting (what I was about to do).

Was still Wearing my eyes, so assume that texture has disappeared from Linden Labs database. Once they disappear, they seldom return (cf. My Body Small Feet shape, which seems to have gone for good). This is v.v. sad, since they were Indigo eyes from Miriel that have had for almost whole of my Second Life. They were one of my first purchases, and I loved them dearly. Since Miriel has closed her shop, not much point in contacting her, either.

Fortunately I bought a clutch of eyes from her shop before it closed, and so in the 2nd pic you see me in Miriel's Winter eyes, which are also lovely, but not the beautiful deep blue of the Indigo ones.

I took a little comfort from my footwear. After 2 attempts had managed to snaffle a Sugarcube dress I was after (the first time the sim was too full, the 2nd time the dress inexplicably was not set to buy) and had decided that red boots were the thing. After some browsing round Js (which has a new boots line on sale), went to Tesla's, and invested in these snazzy peeptoe numbers. Subsequently heard about the "any shoe 25 Linden" sale at A La Mood (formerly Pretties) and invested further in 1 pair pink ankle boots; 1 pair pumpkin clogs; 1 set black embellished flats; 1 pair 60's flats and 2 pairs of platform sandals.
I suppose that's quite a lot of shoes, really. However, I did have to take my mind off my eyes.

P.S. The hat didn't cost anything at all. Can delude myself that this makes it a cheap outfit.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

RL/ SL /ZOMG lol

ZOMG moments: 1 (embarrassing, but sort of cool); OMG moments: 1 (v. bad); No. of La Rinascente bags collected: 7 (bad); No of free autumn leaf blowers discovered: 1 (good)
Am back from Milan now, but am recalling a ZOMG lol moment from RL. Was a special concert (for harp and stradavarius violin) put on for the conference in Milan Cathedral. As cathedral is v.v.v. big, are 2 giant video screens either side of nave so audience can actually see what is going on at the front. Was swaying along in trance like state to one of the pieces when in corner of eye caught sight of own face magnified to horrible effect on screens. Perhaps was only person in audience that seemed to be enjoying things. At any rate was rather offputting, and found myself thinking "If this was SL, would be saying ZOMG lol at this point" So, now I have.

Also had special conference event in La Scala opera house in RL and celebrated that by doing fashion shoot in the SL La Scala replica. Whilst was doing this, Heyjude asked me to test out her voice audability, and 1st pic shows that. She was going to meet Claudia Linden, posh, forgot to ask her why.

Otherwise, Milano set me pondering about RL vs. SL shopping. Am displaying in 2nd pic evidence that can shop in RL. Appear to have had subconcious urge to collect every size and style of bag available in La Rinascente. La Rinascente is similar to Liberty's in London, in that after about 10 mins everything under 100 Euros seems incredibly cheap, which is how ended up with dinky packet of pasta costing 4 Euros and chocolates costing a mere, ahem, 20.
One RL/SL difference is that in RL, esp. as was Milan, decided to wear most elegant garb for swanning round and looking at RL frocks. Similarly, when went to opera could adorn self with jewels, shoes and shawls without worrying that fashion police would be checking my Avatar Rendering Count. In other words, in SL you (or I) (or other fashion bloggers) buy lots of stuff, mainly to dress up on own or with a few close friends, and take pics of self, but cannot wear full finery at kind of events (dances, concerts, fashion shows) where would dress up in RL, because it would add to the lag. At shoe/hair/skin/clothes fairs you are even encouraged to abandon your hair.
In contrast only fashion moments in RL were officials stopping women with bare arms from going into cathedral, and ordering them to put on MORE clothes.
Today's OMG moment was less pleasant in that something is evidently wrong with home PC, since after a shortish time screen went multicoloured and then blank, and when rebooted and feverishly started running virus checkers and diagnostic stuff, in mid-check screen just froze and blanked. Oh well, will persevere with checks.
On a happier note have bought some cute landscaping stuff. Got pack for most realistic and sparkly waterfall ever (from New Trails), though also, has to be said, the most laggy. Has four layers to each part, including particles and mist, and can put together combination of waterfall, water panel, water curve and water pillows to very pleasing effect.
Also found new shop (called SHD) with tweeting 2 prim birds, stone dragon that hisses at you, nice autumn ground cover and very pretty Xmas lanterns, all at reasonable prices. Also there is a freebie instore, this leaf blower, and there are some freebie stone plants (little plants that look like stones, have seen them in RL In botanical gardens) hidden in an angel as part of - some hunt or other.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Shop 2.0

Shops created: 1 (good); Products created: 11 (good); Price of most expensive product: $219.99 (that's real US dollars) (bizarre)

At RL conference proposed setting up RL web shop to sell items branded with international information literacy logo. Action now is to do this with colleague from US. To test out ease of setting up shop on Cafepress, decided that Sheila Yoshikawa store would be fun way of testing ... and indeed setting up shop only took 10 mins. However, inevitably wanted to fill Sheila Yoshikawa shop with Sheila Yoshikawa merchandise. End result is that 2 hrs later appear to have created new venture filled with unsellable products, which is taking on life of own. Have dreadful urges (so far resisted) to spend days photoshopping images to go on Modern Wall Clock etc. Also couldn't resist chosing some products that no person in right mind would want to purchase.

Shop can be found at Most embarrassing will of course be if anyone buys anything. This is one of the pics I use on the merchandise. Cute or what.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Retrospective: Acquamina

Roses given: 2 (good); Lilies bought: 5 (good)
In RL am currently in Milan, Italy, where atmosphere is somewhat like soup (i.e. hot and damp) and the wifi is v. expensive. However, must feed web addiction, so am feverishly blogging RL conference at 2am.
As break from this have been popping into SL to nab the odd freebie and reflect on how have enormous backlog of events to blog here. On Thursday evening was another discussion session, however instead will mention chance encounter from - hmm about a week ago.
Was zooming round getting some choice morsels from Stepping Stones hunt when encountered Aquamina Esoteric Vibes. First pic shows what one of Aquamina's shops looks like whilst things are rezzing, since mall (on Carmina) is in the sky. That is me in the middle. Items are sort of new age/ psychadelic/ Eastern / cute.
At any rate had number of temptations, and browsed this shop, buying:
- Candelabra in form of 3 calla lilies
- Bowl of strawberries that transforms on click to table in form of giant lily
- Something else that I can't now remember, hey, it was a week ago, it is probably a bit worrying that I can remember the other stuff in such detail.
Then found landmark to another of her shops, where I bought:
- amusing tall lily: when you sit on it, you dangle down (it is called the "hanging out" lily seat). This is in the 2nd pic.
- 2 assorted oil lamps
At this point Aquamina Khalifa (her back to us in 2nd pic) appeared. We had a nice chat and she gave me both a colour-change hair rose and a rose to hold. Her stuff is modestly priced so was touched by her generosity. Then (showing that kindness pays) I tped to a THIRD shop and bought a jug and bowl (you click it and the jug pours water into the bowl).
After this staggered back to office and placed Calla Lily candelabra on the Curio cabinet that I have. You see it on the top right shelf.

Think the lily table can go in tree hhouse. Current table on bottom level is v. appropriate (sort of moss covered), but also 80 prims, which is somewhat excessive. Am trying not to put anything more onto island without taking something off to compensate. Do not always succeed in this. For example, all that was removed to place the candelabra was a Morrocan tea light holder which was 2 prims at most.
After this had interesting IM conversation with North, who has now moved to Rutgers in RL. Am tending to miss Educators Coop meetings currently, since am usually on the move or at least away when the regular 6pm (my time) meetings are.
Finally tried out some different windlight settings, to take portrait with the hair/hand rose gifts. The settings are supposed to make you look really really beautiful, but must say they only seem to make me look like a luminous corpse, beckoning luckless wanderers to their doom.

Perhaps they only really work on people with tanned skin. You can see the roses, though.

BTW Aquamina Khalifa's mottto on her profile is "Fate has brought you to Second Life enjoy it".

I like that.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Discussion: EDINA and Second Life (SL)

When: Thursday 20 Aug 12 noon SL time
Where: Infolit iSchool, in SL, the virtual world
EDINA ( ) is a public-funded UK data centre, whose mission is to "enhance the productivity of research, learning and teaching" in UK colleges, universities and research institutes, with online services and learning materials. Nikla Tokyoska (Nicola Osborne, Social Media Officer) and Edina Taurog (Andrew Bevan, User Support Deputy Team Manager) will briefly introduce EDINA and then want to chat about ideas around how they, as academic service providers, could use SL (and perhaps other virtual worlds) to support or extend EDINA's services.
This is part of the University of Sheffield Centre for Information Literacy Research SL discussion series.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Victims of obsession

No. of dead fish: 2 (v. bad); No. of fishtanks cleaned: 1 (too late); Pinches of fishfood put in tank: 1 (too late)
Every obsession has its casualties and innocent victims of the Slice of Summer hunt were blue and gold 7 Seas fish that had I copied into tank and then heartlessly neglected whilst pursuing watermelons.
Happened to wander into Jason Farradane centre when hunt was over and saw fish bobbing sadly at the top of the tank. Here they are. Tried Cleaning Tank and Feeding Fish, but they stayed there, inert, so had no choice but to Remove Fish.
Must be said that is not total tragedy, since original fish are still in inventory, so just needed to wear them and transfer them in again.
But anyway, what is this stuff about virtual creatures needing feeding? Surely main points of having virtual pets is:
- They do not need feeding
- They do not need exercising
- They do not need cleaning out
- They are perfectly toilet trained (i.e. they never need one)
- You can keep them in unsuitable places with no food and exercise and noone will call Pet Resue or prosecute you.
Yet see that there are, for example, virtual chickens that pine and die if not given suitable food and housing. In fact they die anyway in the end, so frankly pointless in investing Linden in them since is possible to buy walking clucking virtual chicks that will keep clucking and walking even if fouly mistreated (pun) (sorry).
However, now find that am already wondering if should go inworld and feed the wretched fish. Will all end in tears, I am sure. The fishes', if not mine.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Watermelon Rocket story

No. of Slice of Summer watermelons collected: 113 (either v. good or v. bad); No. NOT collected: 3 (frustrating)
One of the reasons why have not been blogging so much is that have been chasing after watermelons on the Slice of Summer hunt, as mentioned in earlier post. Managed to get all but 3. Got stuck at Swim and after camming and flying round for what seemed like hours gave up and started again at a point a few melons on. Later on had broad enough hint that could have got it, but frankly not really interested in Swim prize so didn't bother, as had manged to snag the melon in the next location already so didn't need landmark.
Was stuck for ages at Little Britain, a VERY depressing place to get stuck and was rather mortified when realised that main problem was that hadn't realised there was a 2nd building, which is where melon was. Most annoying stuckness was at Sugar, which is pleasant place to linger, but didn't manage to crack puzzle by end of hunt and so that this prize, plus one after, form the 2nd and 3rd omissions.
Favourite prize was a watermelon rocket and this post is dedicated to showing its many glories. You get in, set the height at which you want the space station to rez ... and the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Joy of moaning

Tree encroachments: 1 (bad); giant walls erected: 1 (bad)

Noticed recently that another new neighbour had started to erected yet another dull plywood house and on inspection saw that, as usual, my trees are poking through its wall. Here you see them encroaching, with view of edge of my property and next door's building on the left.

Decided that should forestall requests and move the trees away. Required a good deal of tweaking since there is a bank at the edge of the property and needed to be jiggled right and down. However, the building on my side there is a Ruined Palace so doesn't matter too much if a few twigs poke through the walls.

Ruined Palace wasn't bought as such and indeed was not intending to install it Ruined, but due to inexpert handling it ended up borked. Having seen effect, decided it was actually rather pleasing and Ruined it a bit more. Then added romantic foliage etc. as featured in various previous blog posts. It forms part of Bosky Glade which at different seasons has bluebells, snowdrops, giant pumpkins and so forth.

The top of the palace is unborked and have a couch on it, for decorous reclining and posing. As can be seen in 3rd pic, the spreading chestnuts still successfully block out the plywood monstrosity.
Are other undesirable developments in area. Fourth pic shows giant wall that someone a few plots away has erected. Not sure if is connected with some kind of night club situated nearby.

So here I am moaning about neighbours again. However, have decided that probably enjoy this. Is part of rich tapestry of being on SL mainland that neighbors come, build featureless, hideous or intriguing constructions, and then depart. Gives something to check as soon as get home, adding excitement to a dull day. Have also had a couple of very nice neighbours, and ones who WEREN'T nice have gone away quickly.

At present, people who want to depart are taking a while, it being a buyer's market. Can see the "for sale" sign on the right of the fourth picture. This has now disappeared since the owner has Abandoned part of the land, presumably to save on tier payments.

Suddenly occurs to me that have never exchanged a word with the only person who has been there as long as me, the owner of the smoked glass house on the left. She used to own a very large chunk of land, but has sold some of it off. Her profile is quite melancholy and hints at a sad love story. Perhaps I should invite her round for tea.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Cautionary tales

No. of presentations on SL given to librarians: 2 (good); No. of times that was assured that SL would be installed and it wasn't: 2 (bad); No of people stumbling into SL demo who turn out to be audience members: 1 (bad)

Gave quite a lot of talks at conferences during the last month or so, including some on SL. Two that were just about SL provided some lessons for the future:
1) Lesson 1: When people say SL has been installed, do not believe them.
In both cases we had said that "You will need to install the Second Life browser (at the venue) and you need to test out SL to make sure it works". Have decided that people interpreted this as "You need to make sure that you can go to and log in".
Time line for first talk was:
- zero hour minus 2 hours: arrive at venue, am greeted warmly, escorted up to room. Am not able to get into networked PC since greeter does not have password to login. She disappears saying techie will be sent.
- zero hour minus 1 hour 40 mins. 2 other conference speakers have put heads round door and said they are lost and can I help them. I have established that own laptop will sort of do SL with my mobile 3G stick in a laggy kind of way, and plug into the data projector. Co-presenter (Ishbel) arrives.
- zero hour minus 1 hour 20 mins. Ishbel establishes that her laptop works with her mobile stick. Then both our mobile sticks lose signal and SL goes phut. Someone arrives with password for networked PC. We establish that it does not have SL anywhere on it and we cannot install SL since we are not admins. Ishbel phones techie help desk several times and finds that techie has gone to tea; also confirms that that network cable is too short to fix to my laptop. 2nd co-presenter (Lulu) arrives. She does not have a mobile stick, not that this matters, since we have a superfluity of non-functioning mobile sticks.
- zero hour minus 1 hour. Someone arrives with a cable. It is the wrong cable. Finally techie arrives with correct cable, joins network to laptop and We Have Liftoff.

Similar experience with 2nd talk, but in more concentrated form. Networked PC was already switched on, so was quicker job to identify that SL was completely absent from it, and also work of moment to plug my laptop into network and data projector. Also it picked up strong Eduroam wifi signal. Thus seemed all roses at point at which techie arrived: however fraught 20 mins followed as both of us completely failed to get an internet connection, even though laptop insisted it was connected. Breakthrough came 5 mins before zero hour, when one of the audience (who had seen our fumblings via the data projection) gently told us that she had noticed that the WORK OFFLINE box had been ticked. oops.

2) Lesson 2: Do not make fun of avatars.

With 2nd presentation, done jointly with Kitty Mumfuzz (a recruitment specialist in RL), had not prearranged to meet anyone in SL during the SL demo. Have got to point where there are always a couple of Friends online, so thought could probably tp someone in to show there is Life in SL etc. However, this proved needless, since when rezzed, saw that someone was already on Infolit (unknown to me, but think he was from Open University) so was able to say Please Say Hi To A Roomful of Librarians and so forth.
Then yet another person turned up. Thought name was familiar, but couldn't exactly place it. Went through the Say Hi To The Librarians bit, and then went on to do a tour of Infolit. However, the 2nd avatar kept following on behind, which was Ok, but felt a bit awkward since felt I needed to explain what I was saying in RL, but really couldn't do that AND attend to the RL audience.

Thus I resorted to cheap laughs in terms of "Oh dear, here's XXX yet again!" and generally the whole talk seemed to go pretty well and the audience went away smiling. Except that is for the person who approached us at the end and revealed himself as - the 2nd avatar. He had meant to say who he was earlier, but once I started treating him like a joke stalker he felt too embarrassed.

Obviously, felt v. embarrassed myself and was feverishly trying to remember if had said anything really rude about his avi. Was also reminded that had met avi more than once, which heightened embarrassment.

Anyway is certainly something which will bear in mind in future. So, if you happen to meet me and I tell you to Say Hello To The Librarians you can rest assured I will not be mocking your clothes, profile or demeanour, for fear that you are lurking in the audience.
Photos: I didn't take any pics of these experiences. Instead:
The first pic shows the self-affirmation bear. You click him and he gives you random self-affirming thoughts, of varying degrees of humour. I liked: You have a beautiful smile animation. Secondly you see a dance I attended at Cafe Ristretto last Thursday, with live music and benefit to supporting HIV/AIDS awareness. Finally we have a pic of the SL Educators Roundtable that took place last night.

Watermelon addiction

No of watermelons gathered: 36 (bad); Melon shops hunted: one (good)
Potential addiction to fishing currently obliterated by mindless watermelon "Slice of Summer" hunt. Idea is you find watermelon in shop A which contains gift plus landmark to shop B (etc etc up to 100 and something).

So that SL Friends do not realise this (other than readers of this blog, obviously) have sent Dimitrova to do main hunting and here she is collapsed on a sofa (one of the gifts) surrounded by latest batch of boxes. Kept thinking "will just go to one more shop" and there one is, X hours later with a pile of stuff of mixed interest.
Are far too many short skirts, however is also good stuff, in particular v. cute birdcage necklace and earrings from Ginza Kohime and COMPLETE watermelon shop, with male and female watermelon-eating animations and pile of watermelons that tumble to ground when clicked.

With Dimitrova having done groundwork, went and just plucked good stuff. Whilst at K's Shop (source of watermelon ensemble) camped for 10 mins to get rustic bench with nap animation (see 2nd pic), and also snagged a free table and chair set and a sort of digging animation (with fork) from two of the lucky boards.

3rd pic shows watermelon shop temporarily installed next to Ishbel & Nigl's office, by the common room and underneath the 7 Pillars of information literacy bird flu exhibit. In front of shop is a bath/watermelon cooler that was a camping item (15 mins) from OBF (am bathing in it) last year. Was going to say that always knew it would come in useful, but "useful" might be questionable word here.

However, could be just the thing when people have been seriously examining information literacy exhibits and want to be refreshed by a slice of melon, and then, since watermelon is pretty sticky, an even more refreshing bathe.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

As night follows day

I bought the aquarium, of course.

(see last post)

So tally ho for the fish restaurant.

Friday, 24 July 2009

The 7 Seas

Fishing options installed: 1 (so far) (good); No. of demo rods have to sell before recovering cost of 7 Seas package: 3800 (bad)
Having been toying with idea of buying 7 Seas fishing package for a mere 750 Linden so that visitors to Infolit iSchool can enjoy premium fishing experience and on Thursday bit bullet or rather clicked vendor. For your 750 Linden you get a crate which specifies range within you can cast rod and catch fish (or not), plus a vendor from which people can buy rods, bait, and (closing the circle) their very own 7 Seas vendor pack. You get other stuff like a prim that gives a FAQ in many languages, a Contest unit and so forth. An extra which may also purchase is an aquarium into which people can drag their fish.
What it enables people to do is WEAR the rod they have bought, cast the rod (you get 5 casts with a 1 Linden demo rod) and then quite often you catch a fish. When you wear the fish it swims round and round your head (as in the 2nd pic). Cool. You can add extra prizes so e.g. can arrange it for people to catch an exciting Information Literacy calendar or information literate sheep. Or perhaps an information literate fish! Possibilities only limited by own rubbish building skills.
When people buy stuff (rods, bait etc.) it LOOKS like Sheila Yoshikawa is getting all the money which is indeed true initially, but at once 80% goes out again to the 7 Seas creator, which seems fair enough to me since all I've done is buy the kit and put it on some land. However think might put up sign explaining this, in case visitors think this is a 100% Sheila Yoshikawa benefit.
Since island is Educational, is issue of whether this counts as commerce, well in fact quite evidently IS commerce, which shouldn't really be doing. On other hand assume that if LL is at all bothered about this will simply ask for 7 Seas' removal rather than slapping another 1000 US dollars on island's rent.
Secondary issue is whether fishing is of any interest whatsoever to visitors and residents or whether indeed will resent having anything you have to pay for. Well, will wait and see. And put in the aquarium. And perhaps a fish restaurant. And some fisherperson clothes might be nice. And surely a boat .. (and so it goes on)

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.