November 3, 2018

The death of Flickr?

Since Flickr (the online photo sharing service) was purchased by SmugMug, a lot of people have wondered what the new ownership would do with its new shiny toy. Well yesterday, the other shoe dropped and here's what Flickr users are now being greeted with:

While 1,000 free photos sounds like a lot, the longtime integration between Second Life and Flickr (with Linden Lab having an official presence on Flickr) means that it really isn't. Many Second Life users have Flickr accounts with TENS of thousands of photos. Per Flickr, come February 2019, anyone OVER the 1000 photo limit who does not upgrade to Flickr Pro at $50/year, will have their photos deleted. It's not clear from Flickr's blog how they'll determine which photos get ditched.

Another worry is that a LOT of work available through Creative Commons is hosted under free accounts at Flickr. It's not clear what will happen to that content although Creative Commons is said to be working with Flickr on solutions.

Second Life users have long had another outlet for photo sharing called Snapzilla. It's a sister site to the virtual worlds online forum site, (previously I reached out to the owner/developer of both, Cristiano (aka Cristiano Midnight) who had these observations:
"I have been following what's going on with Flickr - there's an active thread here ( about it. While I think their 1000 image limit is still fairly generous, SL Flickr users are definitely looking for alternatives. Snapzilla has always been focused on SL (though I'm expanding it right now to include other worlds including sinespace, Sansar and OpenSim grids), so it's a good fit for SL bloggers and photographers. It already has 13 years of SL history on it. 
I just recently moved Snapzilla to new hosting and split the actual image hosting off from the main site to make it more manageable and scalable (web hosting can be expensive, while image storage is fairly cheap). Transferring 600k images was a challenge, but it all worked out well. 
I think there may be an influx of some new users to Snapzilla from Flickr - I'm not concerned about the impact really. The site could handle it if they do decide to switch, even if it is a large volume of new users."
I'm am personally not someone who feels compelled to document every moment of my existence -- either in Second Life OR in real life. So it's hard for me to imagine accumulating tens of thousands of photos in the first place. But for those that do, I'm sure there's some very real angst involved. After all, Flickr did promise everyone a free terrabyte forever. Storage is cheap, user retention is harder. We'll see how it all shakes out.

October 31, 2018

Halloween 2018

Cobbled together from 3 outfits and some extras. Skin is by Lumae. Makeup was a freebie from SLM. Lara body.

September 12, 2018

Specular madness with Advanced Lighting Model in Second Life

Recently I've been playing around more with Second Life's Advanced Lighting Model or ALM. While it's great for photography (enabling cool shadows and all), it wreaks havoc on items with materials that have specular highlights built-in. And while many techies complain about ALM (it can also render mesh weirdly), the default is to turn ALM ON whenever graphics are set above "High" in the Second Life Viewer.

What led me down a very deep ALM rabbit hole was a new dress put out by Hilly Haalan (HH). Honestly, I love Hilly Haalan's outfits. They are reasonably priced and most are HUD-driven with amazing color variations. So for the price of one color-way in a line like Blueberry, you get 20 or more colors and textures from HH. In fact, her HUD textures often make the same exact outfit look completely different with a mouse click or two.

#1 Specular turned on, ALM on
So here's the new dress, Felicia, by HH. You can see in the ad that it basically overlays various colors onto a mesh base.

Now I normally demo everything I can. But in general, HH's outfits have almost always been perfect out of the box when it comes to my Maitreya Lara mesh body.

#2 Specular on, ALM off
Well take a look at the photo of me on the right wearing the same dress in the ad above. (Violet color applied but it happens with all colors.) What happened to all those nice even colors? After posting a few Gyazos to two different mesh body groups (Maitreya Lara Friends and Mesh Body Addicts), I finally got my answer from some smart person. "You have ALM turned on, the dress uses materials and specular is set too high for ALM." Ohhh. OK. I have no idea what you're talking about lol.

After a few explanations in chat, it sorta made sense to me.  So I ended up sending a notecard to Hilly Haalan about the issue. Mega kudos to her. She made a custom version of Felicia with specular removed. So I can wear the dress with ALM turned on and it will still look normal.

 #3 Specular removed, ALM on
As you can see between the last two photos, there is very little difference in the appearance of the dress. However, what you do see is that my skin looks a little more natural and slightly shiny in #3 with ALM turned on. So I don't know if this is a lesson for designers but for sure it's a good one for shoppers. DEMO and make sure you look at the item you're buying with ALM ON and ALM OFF.

And now the usual stuff. Skin is Eirtae by Lumae, hair is Cray by .b, shoes are KC Amelia wedges and of course the dress is Felicia by Hilly Haalan. The link below is the SLURL to her main store.

Hilly Haalan mainstore

July 31, 2018

Fantastic bargain rigged mesh mermaid tail

I've always had a thing for playing mermaid in Second Life. From the early days of attachable fins and system skirts made to look like mer tails to sculpties with deformed avatars, I've tried just about every type. Of course it helped that a couple of boyfriends were into mer-life. It's so much fun to cuddle underwater. :D

BareRose Black Scale Mermaid
Anyway, my favorite mer avatars are from BareRose. As you can see from the photo on the left, they are gorgeous and amazingly detailed.

BUT, they are also incredibly complex. Wearing a full B@R mermaid outfit WITH a mesh body and all the accessories will easily push your avatar complexity into the stratosphere. Well for me that's around 165,000 and enough to render you invisible to a lot of people.

So I also have two mesh mer tails I use just for less complex situations or where I don't want to wear the full B@R mess. The drawback is that they are both relatively early rigged mesh and kinda clunky where the top of the scales meet the your pelvis. It's even worse with a mesh body like Maitreya Lara.

You can see that the blue tail has this added layer of fishy fat making it look like I'm really just wearing a wetsuit disguised as a tail. Which, it sorta is.

Generic mesh tail
OK fast forward to today where I went to an underwater event and of course, wanting to impress, I wore my BareRose tail and all the goodies. But there was that 165K complexity again. Yikes. Thankfully there weren't too many of us there and everyone could see everyone. BUT still.

That set me on a SL Marketplace hunt for something a bit simpler but better than my ancient mesh tail. After hitting a couple of real clunkers (thank you Demo) and some tails advertised as rigged that weren't, I finally found a simple tail that didn't suck.

In fact, the detail in the tail scales and such is every bit as good as B@R but without all the accessories and add-ons. Fellow peoples of the mer persuasion, I give you the prosaicly named "[ReS] Fitmesh Purple Mermaid" lol. Even the package looks cheesy. BUT, the tail is very good AND it comes in 5 standard sizes plus Maitreya, Belleza and Slink versions. Up close the scales have real depth and shine. What would make it perfect would be for the scales to be scalloped where it meets your pelvis so it doesn't just look like a slip-on bottom. An added bonus is that it comes with a decent mermaid AO with real control buttons. Yay!

[ReS] Rigged Mesh Tail
Oh did I mention this tail is only $65L? No, I didn't. It is. Really. It's prettier than a lot of tails that sell for 10x that price. This one is NOT available in DEMO form so you'll have to trust me that it works. You can click on the photo below to see it up close -- my body is Maitreya Lara. Oh and the mesh is auto-hide for Lara which is cool to. And tah dah, my total complexity with this tail is only (hee) about 75K.

The one thing I wasn't keen on is the included hair. It's a very basic and clunky mesh that didn't cover even my generic hair base. So the hair shown above is Rezology Wavy Hime re-colored with purple on the dark blond base. Trust me, it looks wayyy better than the included hair.

Anyway, check it out on SLM for yourself here: [ReS] Purple Mermaid Tail

July 28, 2018

InWorldz dead! ....Or is it?

I have an account on InWorldz but I've never spent much time there. However, many people have full sims and playgrounds there because, well, it's hugely less expensive to have a million prims there that it is in Second Life.

So I was shocked to see a note from one of my SL groups (Underground) that they were facilitating migrating template purchases made InWorldz to SL. What??

Turns out that a royal mess-up of some sort is indeed potentially sounding the death knell for InWorldz. Which is so sad. It really was a decent alternative to Second Life.

I've read through all the various posts and I'm not sure exactly where the whole thing stands. There's a GoFundMe campaign -- which seems to have raised the requisite $$ to restart Inworldz but there's also no update from the owner if they are going ahead. Anyway, here's some reading for your weekend. :(

From the owner:

And the GoFundMe page:

You figger it out.

July 23, 2018

The Path to Madness -- An H.P. Lovecraft Festival

I found the Innsmouth sim, which is a slice of Second Life weirdness on steroids, about 3 years ago. If you haven't explored it, do. Fantastic build, volunteer supported and really downright creepy. While it helps to be familiar with the works of H.P. Lovecraft and his gothic horror tales (Google "Cthulhu"), Innsmouth stands on its own as the recreation of a small, New England fishing village where something is terribly wrong and evil.

So what better way to celebrate than with LoveFest 2018 running August 17-26. This 7th annual event is focused on all things creepy and Lovecraft-ian (is that a word?). Held in honor of his 128th birthday, LoveFest 2018 features shops, fun things to do & see, entertainment (DJs, live music, dance troupes, etc.) plus there's an interactive mystery to solve. You get to figure out what led one poor soul into the clutches of madness by following clues. As the sponsors put it:
Find yourself at the notorious Arkham Sanitarium, where a particular patient is beset with a dark, quite disturbing mental affliction…
Discover clues as to what brought this pathetic lunatic to his state of crazed despair, and follow a trail of clues. Find yourself at places such as the prestigious Miskatonic University, or the back alleys of some less-traveled, shadier parts of town. Perhaps a journey to Dunwich village or the dread fishing port of Innsmouth is in order, maybe even further off beyond New England.
I covered some of the things in Innsmouth three years ago. The SIM has simply gotten better every year.

SLURL to Innsmouth -

For more info:

July 4, 2018

4th of July Dollarbie Romper

Elusive 4th of July Romper - $1L
Sadly I got a late start on an Independence Day outfit since I was super busy yesterday in RL and had a party to got to today. Oh well. If you still feel like celebrating, this super cute little mesh romper by Elusive is only $1L. Sure it's a template (I have a different version of it in inventory) but the price is right! Here I've combined it with KC Amelia wedges which I colored to be red, white & blue! Gotta love KC shooz -- the HUD controls are amazing with individual coloring of straps, wedge, insole, leaves, and outsole.

Rest of the outfit is Kizzie hair by Truth, Maitreya Lara body, my go-to Lumae Eirtae skin and red glasses by Preda. Hope you likey!

SL Marketplace links:

Elusive July 4th Romper Gift

KC Amelia Wedges