Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Immaterial Girl

Blogging doesn't pay, apart from the dubious honour of being plagiarized and having my photos stolen, of course; but shopping for pixels was never  high on my To Do list. Isn't it better to be inquisitive than acquisitive? If you consult the blogosphere  about the state of shopping in open and closed worlds, there are dozens of capitalist rants about quality, rights, and self-affirmation through the almighty dollar; and just as many equally boring blogs about freedom, la rivolucion, and fetid fools. Good grief.





Shopping! But not on Craft; it does have a rocking freebie shop, but the hypergate beckons.





OK, it's true. When it comes to manufactured goods, nobody beats Second Life; InWorldz is getting a lot of brand-name stores, but why pay real money to re-purchase all my favourite stuff, which then only looks like grey blobs and unrezzed flexiprims, just so I can re-meet all the people who used to be in SL?





Among the closed, money-oriented worlds, Spoton is surely the worst for shopping. Part of the magic of retail therapy is the chance to soak up the atmosphere of the store,  otherwise you're just an Amazombie. In Spoton they kill the immersive element by forcing you to buy through a website similar to SL's Marketplace; same principal, you have to buy their currency (at a price) and then they also take 5% of the purchase price of every item, this on top of the $4 monthly fee for the right to build and the $30-40 you pay for a sim and 15k prims. It's a place to go when you want to build, try out new things, and be quiet. Very quiet.





The website SpotOn Synergy, which features a Double Dutch Delivery system, allowing content providers to make their goods available on different grids, at different prices, is not very user friendly and has very little on offer, and frankly none of it, including my stuff,  is going to win awards for style or quality.  Tessa Harrington the grid owner promises, "they're going to get more very soon" - better goods, more people, regular interesting events, it's always all going to happen 'soon'. Since there's virtually no-one in SpotOn and its fragmented, childproofed miniworlds, not having much to buy doesn't seem a big deal. Pioneers are rarely consumers.





What about Open Sim? This is Freebie Heaven, Klarabella Karamell's hipster marketplace. Simple furniture, fireplaces, textures, buildings and plants are available here, along with a number of sculpty farm animals. No, I don't want to know why you need a sculpty goat. In German and English she invites OS creators to donate their original work, and while this is far from being steampunk quality, it's a resource for people who just want a chair to sit on. For fun (and to see if I can really bring things through the hypergate) I bought this sculpty cat.





Then it was off to Wild Shopping on the German Grid - wild as in Wild West, not erotica, the sauciest shop was Lady Fashion, featuring the latest accessories for the mid Victorian floozy.





Ouch.  By the way, if you're going to gridhop, it's wise to wear trousers or a skirt, prim skirts don't always make the trip. On sim Wild Shopping you're going to need OS$ to purchase your ankle boots and corset, although there was  a free buffalo skull. Who could say no to that. Show of hands.





Back in Craft, and YAY the cat came too, there he is, on the couch. I kind of like my wind chime cat better, but then he's never been through a hypergate. When he's done, with his nifty scripts and all, he'll be available in the freebie art shop on Arts Park, in Craft.  No charge.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hyper and Hamster

This is Jeff Kelley of Newworld Grid.
He is the rocking inventor of the first Multiple Avatar Hypergate, and that's a big deal for reasons that should be obvious (*whistles and pretends she knows*).





OK, I kind of know - we all get to travel together! I call shotgun! The HGAC (yeah, try not to confuse it with HVAC, all these acronyms, I was in America for 5 years before I found out that a CPA is not some sort of first-aider)... anyway the Hypergrid Adventurer's Club met today. There was the usual 30 minutes of mad chat in which all the educators and devs tell their latest news - a sort of technical/verbal version of PiRat's Art Kahos, too much happening at once, I never know what the heck is going on. Pathfinder Lester puts a chatlog on his blog, so look for enlightenment there.





I did learn that, apparently, there's a sort of 'suitcase' now. Content-paranoiacs everywhere fear that if they go into someone else's sim-on-a-stick, that sim owner is going to steal all their goodies - it is technically possible, and the suitcase (it's a crocodile-skin folder, I hope) is supposed to protect your stuff. Except it doesn't work - well, not yet. Another work in progress. It's a lot of fuss about nothing - feel free to steal my hair. Know my pain.





And then, as quick as you can say server-side integration, off we went to Jeff's house on New World Grid, aka 'regions.newworldgrid.com:12000'. That's the address, or URI. Nice house, and very informative landing point, and then there's this beast on beast action...





Apart from his taste in evil penguins, he is a brilliant guy, Jeff. Look at this - he has set up a 12 frame powerpoint spelling out the whole hypergrid jumping thing. Here are the highlights.


Apparently there are hippos at large in OSGrid also.


I hope those hippos don't do unnatural things to the poor hamster.


There are several different ways to use a hypergate (or blamgate, as they're sometimes called).  Some gates are set to a particular destination, and you just walk through to get there. Some offer a menu when you touch them, or a link to thehypergates.com. But you can also just stand near the gate and open your Map, and copy your destination into the Search feature of your Map, and when it finds it, hit TP... I like the club because Path holds all our hands, so we don't get lost. Or not very lost, anyway. We did take a detour to TGIB, but it was nice in the woods.





The best bit is the lovely map showing the HGAC's explorations so far.





They can't get to Craft yet, it's on a different system or something, but when they do, I plan to have the coffee and sherry ready on Arts Park. What do hamsters drink, anyway?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Talking Towers

When it comes to my stupidity, let's face it, the cat has been out the bag for so long that it can't even remember if it was paper or plastic. Thank goodness you don't have to be smart to know smart when you see it. More than that. Imagine having a problem with a building project and being able to ask, not just a clever builder friend, but Lumiere Noir, founder of Second Life's Ivory Tower of Primitives, and have him come right over and take a look!

You'd like to know what he fixed for me. No.
Let's just say that our conversation ended with the words:
Lumiere Noir: You've got to know all you can about the tools available to you :-)
Well, I think we all know that's never going to happen.

Craft Grid now has its own updated, wooden version of the Ivory Tower of Primitives, on sim Sophia, which will soon be filled with streamlined information on primpinching of every kind. And there's more - Lumiere has started a Prim Wiki at http://ivorytoweronline.com/primwiki/index.php?title=Main_Page .
Lumiere Noir: The wiki is a lot of fun to work with. I hope that by putting it on the web, people will be able to get instant translations. For now the wiki is closed because the last time I tried this it got spambotted out of existance, but the blog and forums part is open to all (I think!) - I just set it up a couple of days ago.
Paidos Woodall, the first speaker in Craft, with Tao Quan and Thirza Ember
Yet another source of buildery goodness. Also in the news, Craft has Voice! Today was the first test of the system. Not everyone's a fan of voice, both in SL and other worlds, in fact moderately grumpy sources inform that it's properly termed as 'Voip' and not that sophisticated, technically speaking. But I don't care. I was the first person ever to giggle audibly in Craft, and they can't take that away from me.

Stepping Out

Tao Quan described Craft Grid as a baby the other day, and it's apt - there are lots of exciting firsts are going on, sweet small steps forward that probably seem no big deal in a place like SL or InWorldz, but for the Crafty Ones are a delight. As you can read in an earlier post, we got the Craft version of the Radionne, Vaudrouille Zepp's  trans-grid talking device (woot before even InWorldz got it, soror says!) and we also got grid-wide Voice - how neat, to be standing on Oberon Onmura's sim Elena talking to Tao who was ten sims away on Hydra. Very exciting newness  also for the ArtsParks sims, the arrival of artist-in-residence Maya Paris who has taken over the installation sim Locus Amoenus. Can't wait to see what she makes of it!



Then yesterday evening we had the first public performance of Alien Bolero, by Velazquez Bonetto, Josina Burgess, and Junivers Stockholm of CARP, in front of a dozen residents. Once the prims had finished dancing to Junivers' music, it was our turn to step out in the shadowy, lag-free theater, accompanied by Josina's colourful particles and dancing circles.