May 28, 2010

New Releases: Forest Nymph Outfit + AO (Inga Wind & Ruy Bury)

Now for something a little different. Unless you've been living in a cave (virtual or otherwise), you know I'm a huge fan of Inga Wind. She makes some of the most complex and interesting outfits in Second Life -- especially if your tastes lean towards cocktail or "fairy" formal. This time, Inga has teamed up with Ruy Bury of CI to offer one of her fanciful "fae" (fairy) outfits along with a really fun Animation Override!
So here's the outfit exactly as it comes in the box -- complete with flapping wings, fanciful formal hair with foresty twigs for a crown and matching sculpty pumps. The only thing not included is the skin or shape. Since I was in an elfin mood, I went to Chakryn Forest to take the photos.

The fun really began when I tried out the AO. OMG, so cool! Everything from walking to sits, stands and flying comes out as if you were a forest nymph. Standing, for instance, floats you about 1 meter off the ground while you periodically do random flits, circles and spins. And there's nothing cheezy about these animations -- they are all very smooth and realistic (well as realistic as any forest nymph can be). There are two versions of the AO -- basic ($200L) and advanced ($400L). I used the advanced one for this review and it's well worth it for any self-respecting fairy. Also included with the advanced model is a wearable lady bug and a mushroom with several sit poses. Ohh and as a bonus, the animations are mod/copy! So you can take them out of the AO and use them elsewhere. Woo hoo!

I believe Inga has a group price for both the outfit and the AO together but I didn't have that as of the article writing.

CI Main Store (SLURL)

Inga Wind Fashion (SLURL)  -- Also carries the nymph AO with working demos

May 14, 2010

New Release: Jackie by Inga Wind

This outfit is a bit of a departure for Inga. I'm so used to seeing her wonderful fairy costumes and amazing cocktail dresses that when I looked at Jackie I was shocked! A business casual pants, vest and top set!

What impresses me is the top! The detail in the texture is incredible and does an excellent job of covering over those weird stretchy spots in the mesh. But what really blows me away are the vertical shadows and highlights that give the top a shiny, shirred look without the usual fakiness I see in so many other attempts. The boob shadows and highlights add to the sheen look. Add to this the integrated peplum in the pants and you have one original design that will knock your business casual panty hose off! The top also includes a cute little scarf with a prim bow which you can't really see in these photos.

If I had one small picky point it's that I'm not real crazy about the high belt. Like just about every belt that's on a fabric layer, it doesn't quite look "real" enough. Yet, a prim belt would be impossible here so it's just a limitation of the system.

As usual, Inga offers Jackie as a complete outfit including shoes (matching dark red pumps) and a second "plain" top without the butterfly trim (but who doesn't like butterflies??). Now the big surprise. This one's only $250L! ZOMG!

UPDATE: I have been wearing this outfit out in SL tonight for an hour and have had 3 unsolicited compliments on it!

SLURL to Inga Wind Clothing

Something's phishy with Second Life signatures

After the great phishing exploit of the Second Life Blogrums, Linden Lab disabled "certain features" of the Jive SBS (aka Jive Turkey) software that runs the forums / blogs. As it turns out, those features included some of the most common ones used by residents: quoting, smilies, bold formatting, images (to be expected) and video (to be expected).

Next on the hit list for security was Linden Lab limiting images on XStreet SL to only those served by Linden Lab's own servers. So no more YouTube vids or similar product demos. While none of those really affected me directly other than the royal PITA the blogs have become to use (as if things weren't awful enough), I found that trying to update my profile signature to use an <img> tag failed utterly. What I couldn't understand was why other residents had working active sigs with animated GIFs and all but I couldn't even stuff a stupid static GIF even off of an XStreet listing.

Several of us starting posting about this and low and behold, up pops Yoz Linden with this gem:

Yoz Linden post in SL blogs

So basically, sigs with images are grandfathered for residents who already had them because Linden Lab "assumes" they are safe. But anyone trying to update theirs is SOL. What a crock!!! I'm no webbie expert but from what I've learned (thanks in part to friends Patchouli Woollahrah and Maggie Darwin), it's trivial to replace an existing image with something malicious. It's not just the <img> tag itself that can be used maliciously but the file being linked to as well.

Plus, even if simply disabling sig editing is a sound technical answer, letting some residents have image sigs while others can't is inherently unfair.

On top of this, no one has said anything at all about the potential security holes in "Media on a Prim" (MOAP) which lets those so inclined watch even more pr0n from inside Second Life (she says sarcastically).

OK so again I ask the question, WHY did Linden Lab throw away vBulletin in favor of JIVE SBS (Clearspace)? Oh yeah, the reasons they gave were because vBulletin wasn't secure and wasn't scalable. Yet, as I pointed out here, some of the biggest community sites in the world (with far greater hacker exposure) run vBulletin and phpBB. JIVE SBS doesn't even crack the top 500 for sites in terms of posts or user base.

So let me translate Linden Lab speak for you. "We had no clue then. We have no clues now. We like shiny things. Ooooh SQUIRREL!!"

May 3, 2010

Donut guns, yellow submarines and sculpty ovens!

I've been really busy putting my new store location together so I haven't had the chance to get out and explore SL much lately. But a few nights ago (actually early early AM) I saw my friend Patchouli Woollahra online inworld (@PatchouliW on Twitter) and decided to say hi. That simple greeting led to the exploration of an amazing shop full of toys and gizmos including my newly acquired giant donut gun and wearable yellow submarine plus the results of Patch's sculpty baking in her new oven!

For those who don't know Patchouli, she is a somewhat geeky, very smart, sharp-tongued, always witty, usually blue avatar (cartoon kitty or chibi-robot) from Singapore. I love her tweets on Twitter but really never met her in-world until this little side adventure.

The donut gun!

First thing I saw was Patchouli and her new donut gun. It fires off regular donuts (in a variety of flavors) plus the occasional giant donut. Patch says she was looking for giant police to use it on but I don't know if she found any.Anyway here's how every fembot should model their weapons:
Sorry that the whites are a little blown out. I had the studio lights on and should have turned them off for this photo. A little bit of color shift to the green side but then if I tweak it back blue -- ick. Ohhh well. (Sorry girl, you look much better than this but due to the big crash, the retake wasn't going to happen.)

S2 Store

So next up was my visit to the store that offers this silly thing. It's a group gift at the S2 store (links are SLURLs) -- home to mad genius sTwo Acker who makes all sorts of strange and fun things. The TP is a landing point so you'll need to cross the two bridges and go to the basement looking store. Join the subscribe-o-matic group in the front of the shop and get your gun for free!

Now here's where it really gets fun. The store is not only the shop for some amazing SL toys and tools, it's also the demo for the creator's "SLRail" system which is sort of like a kids train set you can build from parts. There are several jump-on points but be warned that they take you deep into another sim and it's difficult to get back to the shop.

So what can you find in the store? How about a wearable ground submarine? Wear it and you're off tooling around above, under or floating on the water. A HUD attachment lets you pick the mode. Very fun and attracted a lot of attention as I tooled around my home sim. Since it's wearable, no need to find a place to rez and ride. Of course, that means there's only room for one passenger -- you.

One of the interesting tools from xxxxx is a knot maker -- you position beads along a path and it creates a rope that follows them. Could be used for jewelry, artwork or other strange build that you couldn't achieve otherwise.

Sculpty Oven -- bake & take

But the most amazing tool of all is the Sculpty Oven! In fact, Patchouli was squealing with delight over it! It turns up to 16 ordinary prims into a pretty good copy using just 1 sculpted prim! I was very impressed after seeing the results from Patch when she copied a small bookshelf and sent the output to me:

Yes, that's 1 prim! Pretty cool huh?

So not my usual type of day in Second Life but definitely a fun one.