Monday, October 25, 2021

Survivors of Suicide Closes, Impact Mental Health Opens

 By Bixyl Shuftan

On Saturday October 23, the Survivors of Suicide, probably the best known depression support group in Second Life, had it's last meeting. It was a week before in which it's leader and owner of it's sim, Sebastien Bouevier, announced that the group would soon be closing. Sebastien cited a need to focus more on real-life and no one else stepping forward whom could run the group for long.

The meeting started at 3 SL time. The various people there thanked the others for helping them through difficult times, some telling detailed stories. There were also a few lines in group chat. Among them, "... we are just starting a new chapter, not closing the book."

Sebastien himself would only speak near the end:

"Hearing all your stories tonight has been very touching, and has really hit home just how much of a difference SOS has made to so many lives over the past 13 years. I hope you will continue to be there for each other and keep the spirit of SOS going for years to come. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to be a part of this. I love you all."

The meeting ended at 4PM, and people began to slowly leave, some TPing out, others getting one last look at the island. Shortly after came the dreading DING! and screen shaking signaling a sim restart countdown. But logging back on, I was in a different sim, and was unable to teleport back to the Survivors of Suicide sim. It was closed. I was also no longer able to check the group for any chat messages. 

While the Survivors of Suicide group may be gone, another was started to take it's place: Impact Mental Health by Kitten Stratten-Jaks (Kitten Meridoc). 

We know this is a sad time for many of you, but we'd like to extend a heartfelt welcome to all of our new members.

This week, the focus is on SOS and saying goodbye and so Impact may be quieter than we expect it to become. We're also working on populating the group, so please have a little patience.

In the mean time, keep an eye out for notices about our opening day! We're really excited to show you what we're putting together for you guys.

Welcome to Impact our new warriors.

The group soon had a location, on Urban Dream, and an opening event was planned for Sunday October 24.

Join us for the Grand Opening of Impact Mental Health; a Peer Support group right here in Second Life. Offering Information, Mentoring, Group Chat and Support Meetings throughout the week. Come visit our brand new location. The Impact Community are here and we're listening.

The event, hosted by Sherridon Mercury,  was scheduled to start at Noon SL time. But people were arriving early. Dropping by, I was complemented about my appearance. She confirmed about the group being created in response to the closing of the SoS, "we wanted to give the people some support and some familiarity after that news." 

We were next to the main building. Besides Kitten and Sherridon, there were six mentors as group staff. Sherridon was greeting people, "Hello and welcome to all those just joining us, we will be kicking off our celebrations with a liver performance from Ugly Bill at the top of the hour! In the meantime, feel free to get acquainted with our new land and new organization!."

Eventually, Noon approached, and people were invited to head to the dance area in a nearby part of the sim. "Ugly Bill" soon got on stage and started performing while the audience danced away.  "We're so thrilled to have you here at the grand opening of Impact Mental Health!" people were told as they arrived.

Besides that many were at the party, the Impact group chat also saw a lot of chatter that day. Some would talk about their real-life issues. Others would say they were happy and relieved there was still a mental health support group for them.

There are also other mental health support groups around in Second Life. And someone messaged me in IM that she was starting still another. So for those who know where to look, mental health support groups are still around.

It's been spoken before that the only thing that's constant is that there is change. And in a virtual world, even more so. A valued mental health support group has closed after thirteen years. But in it's place, a new one has arisen, one that has had a good start.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 22, 2021

A Look At The Sci-Fi Expo

By Bixyl Shuftan

From Friday October 8 to Sunday October 17, 2021, the Sci-Fi Expo took place in Second Life. Subtitled "A Journey to New Eden," it was a celebration of science-fiction (and to some extent fantasy), it also had the purpose of raising money for Making Strides for Breast Cancer. 

The event took place in six temporary sims near the permanent American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society 2 sims. They were Aperture, New Eden, Arecibo II, The Remnant, Genisis Spire, and The Old Dam. For those not familiar with the "Portal" game, "Aperture" was the name of the corporation. The "IPink ICan" sim was host to the "I Pink I Can" event that took place at the same time. 

One minor complaint I've heard from a few Relayers is that some of the Sci-Fi Cons and Expos seemed a little plain in how they were made, compared to events like the Relay Weekend. 

This wasn't so much the case this time. The sims appeared to me to be much better done.

Lately, my schedule can be occasionally unpredictable. While I wasn't at the opening day of the Expo, I was able to be at several events the following day on Saturday the 9th. From 10 AM to Noon SL time at the main stage in Aperture, "DJ Kayla and the Roos," members of the Roos team of the Relay for Life, were playing onstage to a crowd.


 "Who you gonna call?" The Roos in this case.

From 1 to 4PM, there were the "Combat Bumper Boats ... Grab your friends and your water wings for some fun on the high seas!  Rez a bumper boat and challenge your friends to see who will remain dry, and who will be all wet behind the ears.  This is definitely a fun time you don't want to miss!"

The rules were fairly straightforward. Click on the boat rezzer, sit on the boat, select a color, then go at it in a free-for-all with no score. 

The boats when rezzed all started with 100 points of health. When they hit the shore, they lost a little health. When hitting another boat, they would lose more health. If there was a method to make another boat lose more health than you, I never did find it. Occasionally, there was a cartoon "smash," "zoing," "boing," or some other animated effect floating in the air.

There was also a water gun one could squirt at other players. I wasn't sure if it did a tiny amount of damage, or none at all. But we were using them anyway.

From 6 to 9PM that night was the superhero-themed "Bat Dance." As the narrator put it, "Don your super suit and enter the depths of the Batcave for a party that will even put a smile on the face of the Dark Knight!  It's a super night of dancing that will be absolutely heroic!" 

We ended up having a, super, time.

 On Tuesday at 8PM, it was DJ Mattie's turn on stage.

 "It's time for another event at the Sci-Fi Expo Main Stage. Performing at 8PM is the talented DJ Mattie. 'Shi was raised on country music, blues, bluegrass and classic rock. Shi still has a great passion for these genres, country being hir favorite. Music has always gotten hir though some of the worst times in hir life, and now shi love to share some of these wonderful tunes with folks here on SL' Come on over as we kick cancer's behind and have a fun time doing it."

 Someone passed around a few hula hoops. 

And there was quite a diverse audience.

I also decided to give the Sci-fi Expo quest a try. 

The plot of the quest involves Earth trying to broker a peace between the various factions of the colony world of New Eden. But the global communication network is down, and one of the research assistants from Earth has gone missing with a data crystal with information the delegation needs to get things going.

But as anyone whom has done these kinds of quests before, it wasn't that easy. Even when you find the research assistant, your quest has only just begun. She plugged an ancient computer into the communication network. 

In trying to find out what's going on, you discover a powerful artificial intelligence in the alien computer, which doesn't necessarily put Humanity's interests as priority.

You also run into the Greslok, the planet's native race.

 Much of their home area is littered with starship debris, which the human government has promise to clean up, eventually.

As it turns out, the Greslok live simply now, but long ago were more advanced and created a powerful artificial intelligence they ended up going to war with one another resulting in the destruction of technology, including the AI.

With the AI now seemingly reactivated, you go to turn off the main source of it's power.

You don't succeed in turning off the power. But you do get the artificial superinteligence to think about it's situation. In the end, a truce is agreed to, and it agrees to share some teraforming technology.

That's pretty much what I saw at the Sci-fi Expo. I did hear on Discord that on the day before it's close, it had raised more than 1,750,000 Lindens, or $7000 US dollars.

 There was more of course. Wildstar Beaumont would take a number of pictures and post them on his Flickr. And one can check out more on the blog (here). 

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Interview With Sudane Erato of The CDS And New England

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Confederation of Democratic Simulators has a number of noted residents. But among those from it's early days the person active the most would be Sudane Erato. Recently I met up with her to talk about her time here. We met at a rustic building in Neufreistadt, resembling a house built inside what was left of an ancient stone structure. "I've taken a liking to homes in ruins," Sudane explained, "This area of NFS, I took a liking to before we even had parcels, in Anzere, and I've been here ever since."

Of how she came to the CDS, "I arrived in Second Life in November 2004. By early December, I had attended an orientation session here, and had met Gwyneth. And (I) regularly attended discussions that she held in the Church, the Kirke, that was here then. So, essentially from the beginning, since the CDS was formed in Sept of that year." Of what attracted here, "I think it was less the visual environment, which was very primitive then. But rather, this really interesting sense of experimental community, around what really felt like a REAL place. Gwyn's discussions were extraordinary. And the social experiement, that was really interesting. So I got involved. The building (I did) came much later. Ulrika and kendra did all the building (then)."

Of how things went ad a community at the CDS in the early days, "It was intense. By that February, everyone had left except me, Gwyn and Ulrika. And Linden Lab kicked us out of Anzere. Fortunately, they cloned the sim for us, including everything on it. And it was a private island then." When asked why the Lab kicked them out, "They became disillusioned about the goals of the program which had gotten it to us in the first place. But the Lindens decided the goals were not achieved. So they ended it, and set us on this island, that of course we had to pay for." She mentioned that today, Anzere is a snow sim on the mainland, "So, that was the beginning of the normal estate, with parcels and people paying. The population built back (up). So we supported ourselves. But, it became very intense, huge political fights."

Sudane asked me what my impression of early political CDS controversy was. When I answered some were saying only one leader seemed to be controversial to them, she responded that her perspective that the most controversial of all was "Ulrika. ... quite honestly, Urika was truly a genius, the person who conceived of this experiment. But, she was an evil genius, perhaps the most evil person I've ever met. And I've met a lot of people in my 73 years." She would say, "Kendra sided strongly with Ulrika, and almost everyone else sided against them. I wanted some sanity and fairness. We finally pushed her out. So, the controversial people who came later, they were a pale shade of the problems that Ulrika caused."

After Ulrika was gone, "We got the concept of democratic government back on track. That was the major thing. The structure evolved from what she had devised. And, it's easy to point out many remaining flaws. But still, its our best efforts to create something that is really a democracy, where the residents set their own policies. It's a bit of an anomaly, a poor fit in Second Life, since someone has to "own" the estate. But we aim to strike as close to a democracy as we can."

And what did Sudane think were some of the more interesting details of the CDS's system? She thought about it, "Well, the core I think is the Representative Assembly. It's the democracy. And it struggles along, at least everyone understands that concept. Then there's the Scientific Council, which everyone thinks of as the Supreme Court. But it isn't really. So that's a bit harder to understand. It was one of Ulrika's brainstorms. I don't fully understand it. But that's no problem. They wouldn't want me on it anyway (smile). Then there's the Chancellor, which is our own invention. Ulrika never conceived of an Executive. Rather, she had the Guild performing all the administrative functions. But that proved, in my opinion, very impractical. And we devised the Chancellor. But that role is still a work in progress I think. It's VERY hard for the person who holds the role. But, all that said, interesting."

"Probably the most interesting to me," she commented, "Is my own role, and trying to devise ways to hand it off, since my alt is the estate owner and I'm the Treasurer. Both of those functions require a real neutrality, which is often hard to achieve. Treasurer (is) easier probably, since in real-life I'm a bookkeeper. But estate owner, jeez! How many times have I been accused of manipulating affairs in the CDS, just becasue my alt is the EO??!!? So, that's 'interesting.'"

"Oh. Also, I've grown to LOVE building and landscaping. So I could do that eternally (smile)." When asked how many buildings she did, her answer was, "Oh my God, a LOT! Perhaps almost half of the buildings in the CDS. Well, maybe not half, but a LOT! Rosie and I did the Schloss together. She did the Kirche. I did the new Monastery. My current project is 'densifying'  the city, rebuilding the houses within the walls so that they fill the entire space, and you get a better sense of narrow twisty streets. I've done maybe eight or ten of those buildings so far." And how long would this project take? "No set date. I've been doing it simultaneously with other projects. The first houses were on Ulrikastrasse on, and on the Platz, Lil's pub, that was the first. Then one on Catfahrt, and two on Gwynethstrasse. I have in my target three more on Gwynethstrasse, plus a couple on Sudanestrasse. Oh, there were two on Kendrastrasse and on on talenstrasse. Jeez ... Heehee, I really do like building. 

"My Father was a real-life architect who built the hoses he designed. I probably got it from him (smile). Easier building in Second Life. But go visit Amiais. Moon Adamant and I are building dozens of houses there!" But of her buildings, "He wouldn't like them. He was an avid devotee of Frank Lloyd Wright while I like ancient places."

Sudane did mention, "I am in a new, unrelated project now for real-life, a contract for a Portuguese University to create a replica rural village for an anthropology study, called Amiais, on sims by that name. Visit that any time, a work in progress." She also has some land in the New England area, "Do visit New England to, if you have time. It's a beautiful place in the Blake Sea area."

(Click here if the video does not play)

Sudane is staying busy with her many projects, and is happy doing so.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 30, 2021

Nonprofit Commons Celebrates Fourteen Years

By Gemma Cleanslate

I have been over to the Nonprofit Commons several times in past years to pick up materials for an event and  always thought I really should check into this place and write about it. I had perfect opportunity when Gentle Heron sent me an invitation to a meeting and the 14th anniversary party August 20. So it was a perfect opportunity to get to know about it all.

I arrived while Rhiannon Chatnoir,  AvaCon lead and Community Leader ,welcomed  everyone to this special weekly meeting which was also a celebration of the 14th anniversary of the NPC Commons. She spoke of the spirit of the mission of the commons focused on community.

The Mission  as stated on the website is “The mission of the Nonprofit Commons is to create a community of practice for social-good to explore and learn about virtual worlds, foster connections, and discover the many ways in which nonprofits and others might utilize these unique virtual environments to achieve their missions”. The NPC is peer governed and funded.

After the welcome there was open mike where members were encouraged to speak of the projects and organizations in which they might be involved and how to reach them on line.

Many offered information on their own missions in Second Life. I was familiar with so many of the members. To mention a few, ThinkererSelby Evans (thinkerer.melville) was there as well as Gentle Heron of Virtual Ability, Valibrarian Gregg from the virtual library. Elli Pinion of the VWBPE , Buffy Beale member of the Board and the Mentor team. Other members of  the board and members of the commons also talked of their missions. It was interesting to see and hear  how many non profit organizations from all over the world are involved in this virtual world and use it to educate,  do workshops, share research and learn .

Rhainnon then  gave a short history of the commons in second life . In 2006 TechSOup began to have virtual weekly meetings led by their director of Online Community , Susan Tenby (Glitteractica Cookie). In 2007 TechSOup opened the region that was a NPC in Second Life .

In 2017  NPC became a peer-governed group which elected the first board. During those years many projects were taking place for the betterment of the world. Many coalitions were formed to effect projects as Buffy Beale spoke about . Many ideas were shared and acted upon . Common interests drew together small groups that collaborated together and still do. Many members have met outside of second life as well in their collaborations and at conventions.

Some comments from attendees expressed their feelings about the comaradarie of the Commons:

   Dancers Yao: For the past 14 years NPC has been an Oasis to share dreams and friendships. No matter what has happened in real life, I know there is a special place where people are kind and care about life. Thank You.

Rhiannon Chatnoir: it was great to see the social good community come together for early things like disaster relief, Info Island's community space that hosted the NPC in it's early day, and the eventual founding of our NPC community.

Zinnia Zauber: It is about making people belong and let their superpowers shine
I am grateful that I can encourage amazing teams through shared experiences and projects.

 Buffy Beale: Fourteen years of learning and networking and sparking ideas which inspired others to form real life nonprofits.: Amazing longevity for any community, never mind one where we are all pioneers in this virtual world. Cheering loudly!

 It  was a wonderful gathering and many shared more feelings about the NPC as the music played and members danced and enjoyed celebrating the anniversary.

At this time the NPC and has two regions, Plush, which is donated by the Anshe Chung Studios, and Aloft sponsored by  AvaCon Inc by donations. . I took a walking tour of the Aloft offices where I have been before to One Billion Rising to pick up greeter tees . I walked over into Plush which has just been rebuilt .

There seem to be new offices there waiting for new non profits.  The offices are very well furnished and have information about their specific purpose at their sites . To have an office there are rules about the time one must commit to the Commons, either at meetings or having office hours. Some non profits do not have an office perhaps because they have their own region, or cannot commit to hours , but they have Kiosks where you can find out about them. I saw one for Virtual Ability and Survivors of Suicide  for example.  They are still members of the group and participate in meetings and activities.  A non profit can find terms of agreement here .   

To visit and explore you might like to start  at this location  where you will find a list of all the members of the NPC listed on the board and can teleport to any of the offices on the list . .

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, August 27, 2021

Wedding in The Deathlands

By Bixyl Shuftan

A time and place still recovering after a nuclear holocost a few decades ago doesn't sound like the setting for a romance story. But even in bleak places such as that, one can find hope for a future. Recently, Rebel Wolf, the Baron of the Deathlands, announced there had been a wedding there, officially their first. He had carried out the event himself.

Yep, we had our first official wedding in Deathlands  at the old Cat Lick Church! Rev Wolf married Siccity  and Bynji! They actually might be really married as wolf IS a  registered minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in RL. Best man, Wolf was Fourpaws. Feel free to send them gifts or Lindens.  Congrats guys!

Messaging Rebel about the event, his first remark was, "I do divorces too." He apologized for not getting pictures, It was in a hury, not a shotgun wedding but they are from Europe and were going to bed, so it was a quick service." Then he got back into character, "Do you, yeah I did, swap spit?  Yer now married." But he did have a picture of the couple that he took earlier. He told me given the short notice, he wasn't able to wear much of anything special, "I wore my gun of course and semi-clean combats." Sadly the only thing resembling a tie that he had was an old noose.

The wedding itself was in what the locals called "the old Cat Lick church. That's a pre-nuke religion they tell me." When asked if it meant Catholic, he stated what it used to be called was lost to history as people struggled to survive, "It's a old church, and we called it he Cat Lick Church, as the records are incomplete. I dunno what they do with cats, but live and let live." He checked some old notes he had written earlier, "Obliviously it's a dark chapel of some kind that didn't fare well on Nuke Day.  Today is is run by some strange old religion called Cat Licks.  I fail to see what licking cats has to do with anything. Not that we have many cats still alive." He would say that cats in the area tend to stay clear of people, as with the shortage of food many find them tasty.

Wolf did wonder if the marriage might have some real-life standing as in real-life he is a registered minister of the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster." When I asked if pasta was served at the reception, Wolf responded, "There were rats at the church, do those count?"

And so that's the story of the post-apocalyptic sims's first official wedding.

First image credit: Rebel Wolf

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, July 2, 2021

Lab Gab Interview With Oberwolf Linden (Bradford Oberwager)

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Monday June 21 at 2PM SL time, there was a special episode of "Lab Gab." For the first half of the show, Linden Lab's Executive Chairman Bradford Oberwager was interviewed as Oberwolf Linden, his first public appearance inworld. The interview was done by Strawberry Linden.

Oberwolf stated he was happy to be interviewed, "This is quite an honor. ... Although it's one direction, it's a wonderful thing to be able to communicate with the residents, and I'm very excited." He had gotten to know Second Life through "a very very good friend of mine," Philip Rosedale, the founder of Linden Lab. "Philip and I have been friends for a decade," and Rosedale's wife one of his best friends. He goes with Rosedale to the Burning Man festival, "in his RV." He gave one amusing story of trying to catch up to the RV once through an Uber car. "I see him once a week because he lives three blocks away from me," usually meeting Friday afternoons. "He and I are very close. ... He probably has a larger impact now, since I tell him what's going on. ... He's an advisor to me."

Before, he and Rosedale had spent hours and hours talking about Second Life, "and what it means to the world." He had heard from various folks of Linden Lab looking for a buyer. Called it "a tough company to buy. So we spend a lot of time talking about it, and then it turned out ..."

Of Ebbe's passing, Oberwolf would say, "Losing Ebbe created a void in so many people's hearts," among both those who knew him personally as well as in Second Life, "This was not an easy thing ... more than just part of the company. ... Anyone who touched him in any way know he was kind and smart, dedicated, fiercely loyal, independent," and Second Life was near and dear to him. "It's rare that you get an opportunity to meet someone that you respect in a business sense that you want to emulate ... and also just like. He was just so personable." Altberg also had a "sense of inclusion" that was sincere and "not a business tool." "What makes this so hard is because his presence was felt by everyone." Oberwolf felt because of Second Life's uniqueness, Ebbe Altberg would live on inworld, and his impact will not go away, "that ethos doesn't go away when the person goes away ... hopefully we can continue that legacy."

Strawberry then asked what led him to acquire Linden Lab. He responded, "When you buy a company, you look at it different ways." There's obviously a financial aspect, but there can be other reasons besides that, "What's interesting is who the purchasers are, and what their desires are. There's a big difference between being owned by a venture capitalist, by a PE firm, by another company, or by individuals." He described venture capitalists as pumping their acquisitions with more money with the goal of large returns, "and are willing to fail nine times out of ten." A private equity firm will cut expenses and make other changes with the purpose of selling it for a profit. A company that buys another will invest in the new holding, "but probably changes the culture. And then when you have two indivudals like Randy (Waterfield) and I." They had a number of reasons. Oberwolf stated he once didn't believe businessmen who told them they had so much fun they didn't think of their job as work. But of Second Life, "while I still think it's work, I will tell you that there hasn't been a day yet where something hasn't made me laugh ... this is a passion, not an investment."

On who technically owns Linden Lab and who makes the decisions, Oberwolf answered that technically, the Lab is owned by an LLC (Limited Liability Company), formed by him (Brad Oberwager) and Randy Waterfield. Waterfield has a good deal of financial experience, while he has the entrepreneurial background. Both sets of skills he feels will help both Second Life and Tilia. Of product decisions about Second Life, this was the leadership team of Patch, Grumpity, and Brett Linden. He commented, "When things go well, everyone had a part in it. When things go poorly, that will fall on my shoulders." He is consulted on "really big things" on the direction of Second Life, "I'm part of the brainstorming team." He's involved with both the finance and the business decisions. But he felt, "The ultimate decision-makers are the residents. ... Nothing that we do works if the residents don't accept it." He was also interested in feedback, "There are some very good ideas. We just want more of them." 

Strawberry's next question was about Oberwolf's experienced inworld, bringing up his appearance in a business suit and a trimmed beard, black mixed with gray, "I like your avatar." He responded, "This is my avatar for anyone who knows me, professional avatar." Going on as that, people recognize him as a Linden right away, and eventually some figure out who he is. He did have others for going about Second Life anonymously, which was obviously very different, "I don't think it's a secret that Second Life is hard to get going." Interested to see how it was, he refused help from any other Linden. He did find it curious that when he downloaded it onto a Mac, he got a warning, and wondered if new users would think they were buying malware, "That was my first experience." Once inworld, he went to London City, and found the people there helpful. As he was still learning the "etiquette," he offered Linden dollars, and people were walking away, "That was a learning experience." Among the help he got was when someone told him, "Did you know you're wearing thirteen jackets?" He then talked about on his own getting a wolf tattoo for his chest, as well as a jacket that could show it, "And when that happened, I was hooked." He still goes "underground" as he put it, "I will never break character."

Of the future of Second Life, Oberwolf's plans, and what the residents can expect, he answered that the community can expect them to be a part of it, "What I want is for the community to be part of our success." He was interested in hearing about their goals as a community, "How do we work together to bring Second Life forward." Ignoring the past he felt would be silly, but he didn't want "it's always been done this way," which he commented was a dangerous thing in both business and life, "If you don't embrace change, you will like irrelevance a lot less. We don't want to end up irrelevant. That would be the worst outcome." On the other hand, "We're not going to change for change's sake. ... We're going to look at this, and we're going to see how do we evolve." Obwewolf compared it to a party that had been going on since around six in the afternoon, it was currently 10 at night, and there was the potential for it to keep going as long as people kept arriving to replace those heading out, "I don't want this party to end." He hoped that more people would find out about Second Life, come in and experience it, "and have it be a part of their life."

To those residents whom didn't want change, Oberwolf stated change of some kind was inevitable as some people leave, some arrive, and the technology of the computers used changed. He brought up the move to Amazon Cloud servers, saying it was done for the residents, that it actually costs more to run things on them than standard hardware, "that decision was not made for financial reasons. That decision was made to have a better experience for the residents. Of how the residents could best help, he stated, was to continue to give the Lab ideas, to bring in more people, "and make them stay." Oberwolf talked about "four pillars" of decision making, 1 - What's going to bring in more people? 2 - What's going to make current residents happier? 3 - What leads to more engagement? 4 - What makes the Lindens happy? "I want happy people working on things, because then it's going to be a more better experience."

And how did Oberwolf envision Second Life in five years? He made a comparison of Second Life to a country, with islands, infrastructure, which allows people to interact, a rule of law in society in order to protect people and allow them to better expand. Part of what made Second Life attractive he felt was that it was a very libertarian and very open community. While people could more or less do what they wanted, there were some specific rules about it. But a financial system was needed, important in both in real life and Second Life.

Of Tilia, Oberwolf called the idea of "Tilia versus Second Life, that's a misguided framework." He went on to say by understanding more of Second Life's history, then Tilia makes sense. Since the start, he stated, user-generated content has been a part of the virtual world, "creators are the backbone," and this with the trading of land makes an economy as one of the reasons creators build is because they can make money. And with Second Life, sellers can trade directly with other residents without the involvement of the Lab, which is one way it's different from other virtual worlds, "Second Life is the only game in which the creator actually sells directly to the buyer ... In Roblox ... the money goes to Roblox." He compared Second Life commerce to eBay, which didn't touch the money, but it needed Paypal in order to be as successful as it had been. "We created a Paypal experience so that this money could go back and forth." The movement of money needed to be regulated, "Tilia is the company that actually owns the money transmitter licenses." And through it, content creators and other people doing business in Second Life can convert Linden dollars into US dollars and other real-world currencies. "Tilia was born out of Second Life. ... Originally they were the same thing, but because of regulations, we separated them out." So now the two were separate entities under Linden Lab. And now being separate from Second Life, it was now open to others who wanted to use the service for financial transactions.

When asked if he had any last minute comments, Oberwolf acknowledged that he realized an ownership change could lead to fear and worry among some, and possibly anger. Anger he called a proverbial canary in a coal mine, "You don't want to see anger." Anxiety, as a fear of the unknown, can be more easily reasoned with as with knowledge about the subject anxiety goes down. What emotion he hoped to see from the residents was joy, but felt it wasn't going to come directly from him, only by better enabling residents to make one another happy, "If you bring in other people, that's a sign you're having joy ... you want to share." His last comments were about the Coronavirus crisis, "In a time when we should all be coming together, ... the only thing that's saving us from Covid is by staying apart. ... But where can people come together? Second Life. It is the best place for people to come together. To find joy in this awlful Pandemic ... Second Life is the answer."

It was then Strawberry thanked Oberwolf for his time, and there was a break featuring the Second Life commercial that got attention. And later on Strawberry would interview the leadership team of Patch, Grumpity, and Brett Linden.

The video of the interview can be seen (here). To skip ahead to where Strawberry Linden interviews the Leadership team, (click here). 

To see the "Meet the Lindens" interviews by Saffia Widdershins, for Patch Linden's interview, (Click here). For Grumpity Linden's interview, (Click here). For Brett Linden's interview, (Click here). For the "Meet the Moles," (Click here).

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Last Sunbeamer Moon Dance For 2021

 By Bixyl Shuftan

Team Sunbeamers has had a number of events this Relay season. But one was a weekly event, the Sunbeamer Moon Dance that took place every Thursday at 6PM over Farshore Field in Sunlight Bay. People would head over to the Moon Cannon, and get blasted off to the Moon platform where music and fun awaited (along with a few 'bot aliens dancing away). But eventually, there would come a time for a final performance. And on Thursday June 10 came the final Moon Dance for the Sunbeamers, at least for this year.

Most of the weekly dances had various themes, such as Memorial Day and sci-fi. But this last one was "Come As You Are." A number of Sunbeamers showed up, as well as some from other Relay teams. This included several of "Roos With A Dream," noted by their Australian outdoor outfits.  The maximum number of avatars the sim could hold was thirty, and there was a time or two someone couldn't get in. 

As usual, Cynthia Farshore was DJing, though adding tunes as she went along instead of playing a prepared list. Someone cheered when "Golden Years" was played, "David Bowie, yay!" Sunbeamer team captain reminded, "We have a memorial to Bowie in out camp, died of liver cancer." Of the camp having the theme of a British comedy, she commented, "I told my sister our camp was Monty Python themed.  she said 'Who?'" 

Other conversation topics were a small debate if music past the 1980s was any good: one didn't think so and a few others felt at least some of it was, "there are lots of good tunes every year, we just don't hear lots of them." There was also talk about the "Last Dragon," movie, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," and the Star Trek "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode. Cynthia responded by playing Shockwave Yareach's music parody, "I Snuck In A Tribble With You." That got some people chuckling. There was also some talk of the Animated Star Trek episode.

With the Relay weekend so close, there was much conversation about it. "I always get emotional when the actual Relay starts. even though I have been doing it since 2008." "The Luminaria ceremony gets to me the most." "I completely forgot I had submitted a dedication to be read the first time I did it. Caught me completely off guard when they read it off and I broke down hard." 

There was also some fun talk about partying people did in the past, "Threw an unexpected party at my house once while my parents were away. Was my friend's birthday and he was hanging out with a bunch of younger kids so me and another friend told him we were headed to my house after picking up some beer. About an hour later, a million people show up. Only trouble I got in from my parents was that I didn't recycle the cans. Was still underage at the time, think it was either the summer before going to college or the summer after my first year of college. No idea how I didn't get in trouble." "I went to a party at a farm once, real BBQ pit, roasting half a pig and various beef, also beer kegs and we mixed up something interesting in a clean plastic trash can. Whatever we mixed up was good, I had it to my van to pass out and woke up with one hell of a hangover." "The wildest parties are always while you're underage."

At one point, there was a small square area in which light inside had it's colors reversed. Inside it, at least when looking from outside, white would look dark, reddish tones would look bluish, etc. Panning inside, from within things looked the opposite, including the blackness of space looking white.

A good time was had by all, one lady saying, "Its been a lot of fun hanging out with 'beamers, gems and Purple Tears all season long." Rita responded, "Well we 'beamers specialize in fun. If it's not fun, it's not worth doing." She would say joint events with the Roos had always gone well, and fun, and congratulated them on their success. They'd made Diamond rank some time earlier, and had raised a total of 1,783,000 Linden dollars.

Before long, the party was over, and people headed out. Shockwave and Cynthia would go back to the Sunbeamer campsite to check things over. All were looking forward to the Relay weekend in two days.

As of the writing of this article, the Sunbeamers have raised a total of 834,500 Linden dollars, and are the highest rank of the Sapphire-ranked teams.

Go Sunbeamers! Go Relay!

Bixyl Shuftan