Monday, February 25, 2008

Green Team on the Scene: Ohana Isle Anniversary

Ohana Isle Anniversary - 1
Originally uploaded by Green Dream
This is pretty late (look at the pink!) but I think it's still very worthy of note.

Around Valentine's Day, Eolande celebrated her store's One Year Anniversary, holding a huge party at the Ohana Isle sim and kicking off the Valentine Treasure hunt. I threw on a dress, laced up Machine's tie, and struck out with him to congratulate the jewelry maker.

For those that do not, Accessories by Eolande's prides itself on having the largest selection of hair accessories in Second Life. She also has a gorgeous array of jewelry sets, and the sim hunts she organizers with other sim-store owners are challenging and entertaining. Each month, a new hunt with a new item to search for is set out, lasting about a week (depending on SL troubles). Since about Thanksgiving, Eolande has also included 'interactive insulters', ranging from Tom the Turkey to a crude leprechaun. If you need a light-hearted place to browse wares and just chat, I would recommend Ohana Isle.

As for the anniversary party itself, they not only had a DJ, but set up Eolande on a spinning knife-thrower wheel! Talk about a designer with good spirit and sense of humor! We congratulated Eolande on her accomplishment, thanked her for everything she has done, and wished her well in the coming year before heading off on the hunt. Along the way, we snagged one another for snapshots:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SL Consumer Reviews

There may be other consumer groups out there, but this one has just started and is very promising. SL Consumer Reviews is a Second Life group that allows anyone to fill out reviews at a designated location and get paid a small bit of money (immediately $1 Linden, and then $10 L directly later if your review is considered acceptable). The form of payment promotes people to give their thoughts on various genres, ranging from animation overrides to clubs; there is also an 'other' category for stores that have offer a large variety or places that just do not fit in the standard categories. The immediate payment of only $1 L prevents people from spamming it with poor reviews, as well.

By being in the group, you are given updates as well as the access information to see the reviews. Currently, it is not open-open to the public, requiring a username and password for people to view the site. I believe this is because there are only a small number of reviews right now. The group is open to join, however, so it's not difficult to go in and find the information in the notices.

What I really like is this gives the opportunity to promote good content creators and potentially point out who's a thief. Frankly, I find people selling stolen products as an insult to my intelligence as well as a smack in the face to the original creators. This is a way for SL customers to speak their mind and take a stand for what they think is good and should be supported.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Thing About Trust...

Apparently, it's my turn to have an evil ex-partner story. For this tale, we will refer to him as Ex, because that's really all he's become.

Ex and I went out for 4 years; basically, we were high school sweethearts. During these four years, we were in clubs together, shared the same buddies, and were basically best friends. For the last year and a half, though, the best friend thing became a facade. As I came under more stress of being a senior and a club leader in 3 organizations, and Ex stalling on his own personal growth, our relationship soured really bad. He cheated on me online, and I confronted him; however, I wasn't upset with the act, itself, but that he hid it from me. He cried, I said it was OK and that he just needed to talk to me in the future. When I went to SL - which was 1/2 into college and we were a long ways apart... not to mention I was slipping into a depression, but that's another fun story - I asked if I could have online relationships, and he didn't object. Of course, later on, he would complain. In between that time, he would make me feel sorry for him and guilt me into sex, which if we know our definitions well, is technically rape. Finally, we moved into an open-relationship where we could see other people, with my primary intent being that maybe seeing others would show each other how much we fit for one another. Turned out, we didn't fit, and while he cried when we broke up, I felt like I was throwing off the ball and chain. I have moved on with my life and never really looked back.

In the earlier part of this stalemate, I got him into a site we'll call Forum. On Forum, you have a 2D avatar you can dress up, and collectibles are given out each month. Ex would buy me a number, though I know I bought a few for myself in the last month or two of our time together. When I went to SL, I stopped playing Forum, and I told him I probably wouldn't get back into it. We also knew each other's accounts so we could help each other get event items.

Well, I log on today to give my stuff to my friend, as I'm thinking, "What the hell? Why not? I'm not going back." I log in... and I have stuff missing. I check my trades, and my stuff has gone to Ex and what apparently is Ex's new girl.

I never gave him permission to do that.

He never asked nor contacted me.

Of course, his argument is that it is his to begin with, I stated I wasn't getting back on, and we haven't talked for however long. As horrible as the term is, this is the act of "indian giving", which is where you give someone a gift and then expect them to give it back. (The actual practice in Native American culture is practical; how the term has developed since then is not so practical.) I would also point that he didn't do anything to make sure that it was OK for him to just get on and give things away.

Ya' know, especially as some of that stuff I bought on my own, like my coveted N. Bustier item.

After all the crap he pulled on me, why should I contact him? How can I read his mind that he wants to give the stuff away on my account to his new girly? Should it be my responsibility to contact him?

Fuck that.

It's common principle- despite hardships, you don't get into someone else's home, account or other establishment and just take stuff without asking. Even if you know the password. It's not honest and ethically unsound.

I thought Ex was spineless. Now I know he is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Green Team on the Scene : Illusions Mardi Gras 2008

Note: If you want to see the images better, click them!

Green here, attempting to use the blogging feature correctly. Very fussy feature to edit in blogger, especially when you're trying to ad multiple pictures together. I'll try tackling that another time.

Anyways, so me and Machine attended the Illusions Mardi Gras Masquerade this past Saturday evening in the sim of Carnivale. It was hosted by the incredible Siyu Suen (and I'm not just saying that because I won like four masks randomly). Her stream was a bit odd - not due to her music choice, but I couldn't hear her voice - so I didn't have that on too much. It was a lovely celebration, though, and I got to rub a few elbows.

I found out that another Miss Amazing, Jen Shikami, likes roleplay. So, insert fan-girl scream here. I mean, really, Jen is such an fantastic creator and all-around person, and now I find she's into roleplay?! Be still my heart, or I may gush over and yammer her ear off. I might have talked too much with her, Scar, and some others on the subject when it came up, showing how much of a nerd I was. But we also discussed how we attended classes in college, ranging from making paper up to taking notes on laptops. In a way, discussing such topics at a Fat Tuesday dance is more surprising than flashing for beads. But then again, this is Second Life and this was hosted by the marvelous Mask Lady herself.

I was surprised that the King and Queen masks, while very elegant, Perhaps I'm more used to thinkingweren't more showy. of the street carnivale, with huge feathers and flamboyant colors everywhere. I was expecting something of a large head-dress like a showgirl, but we were presented with something flashy yet refined. My feelings are mixed, but I wouldn't say either were total let-downs. The small tuft-crown of feathers on both are very well textured, and the gold center with its detail is gorgeous. And I'm jazzed Siyu is selling her hair. It was righteous!

If there is anything I could rant about, it would be the selection of the Queen. Obviously, I'm sad it wasn't me, but that's not my focus (I got a brilliant green dress out of this, as well as dressed my man up AND put butt-feathers on him- I think I'm an automatic winner). And yes, Sparkle Skye was very beautiful in her garb, and I don't wish any ill upon her.

But she was pink.

Call me color-picky, but the colors for Mardi Gras are green, purple, and gold. Sparkle had a touch of violet and that was it. Pink. And she did not have really any beads (unless you count the buds in her wings) or feathers to link back to the common aspects of the holiday. She was a gorgeous representation of spring, regrowth, and the coming holiday of love... but really didn't strike me as Maiden of Mardi Gras, which, to me, should be bold, brilliant, and potentially sinful behind the mask. It's the celebration before Lent, the season in which you have to repent and be respectful and all that goody-too-shoes stuff. Bel looked the part- he was dressed in vibrant violet and neon green with a great slouching top-hat. Other notables that really fit the bill were Scar, Jen, and two harlequins whom I missed the names of.

So, if I could be upset with anyone, it would be with people who just vote on 'pretty' rather than looking at the whole picture. And though this disappointed me, I really enjoyed the overall evening, and I look forward to the next event I go to.

Edit: Added small, ugly thumbnails through blogger. :P

Monday, February 11, 2008

Step Inside the Concrete Jungle : A Peek at the City of Lost Angels

Second Life is filled with interesting and intriguing places. One realm that has been enhanced with this virtual freedom is that of roleplay.
For those who don't know, roleplay is a game best described like a play: each person has a character that they play, which interacts with others and the established environment. It is distinguished from people just writing stories together by usually having some sort of administrator or coordinator that provides information about the surroundings, creates a focus or goal, and/or enforces interaction rules. Often, roleplays will involve a combat element; the most widely-known is Dungeons & Dragon's stats and dicerolls. Within SL, sims typically use a combat meter and HUD system, creating a more dynamic playing field.

There are many different types of roleplay, just as there are story genres: sci-fi, fantasy, and gor are some of the more popular categories. Another major area is that of dark roleplay, a theme focused on terror, carnage, and the obscene. In this realm we find the apocalyptic urban jungle of Lost Angels. As per its website,

The City of Lost Angels is a Dark RP/Combat/Sex sim where you can come and live a character life thats not all shiny and happy and new like most of Second Life. We attempt to provide a good community for free form roleplay for characters of a darker nature.
Essentially, the only time you will find sunshine and teddy bears is when I'm frightening the demons and lycans. From the moment you arrive in the rundown subway, you will see the bold, edgy propaganda posters for each of the City's official factions: Brood, Choir, Clan, Coven, Pack, Syndicate, Tribe, and Vanguard. Each - save the Vanguard - is primarily focused on one of the combat system's races (demon, angel, supernatural, vampire, lycan, human, and neko, respectively), and all have their own motives, structures and agendas. Players have the options of their characters joining a group or taking the dangers on alone, but all are likely to get caught in the crossfire when these agents of power push and pull upon one another. Often, confrontations will lead to brutal brawls and fierce fire-fights in the streets, leaving the defeated in a pool of blood and humility; however, residents of the sprawl should be ever wary for other forms of revenge, such as kidnapping, territory destruction, rape, or other 'creative' methods.

Granted, while it might be easy to consider the actions of the epic hero or the dastardly villain, one of the most entertaining and rewarding gameplay can be the struggles of everyday life. How does life change when not only the world is falling apart, but your neighbors are literally barking up the few trees that still stand? What is the person hitting on you at the bar has wings sprouting out of their back? What do you order at the coffee shop when the barista has horns growing out of her head? The possibilities are endless and add a whole new dimension of life to the typical online game. This is not your nerdy brother's WoW- this is an improve play, filled with different characters and little to no scripting.

So, what's the catch? Well, you do have to abide by basic rules. While your character may be rude, you - the player behind the character - should not be. The golden rule of CoLA is "you do not have the right to be an asshole". More specifically, you nor your weapons may orbit, push, cage, freeze, and otherwise harass others, nor may you heckle other players or sim staff. You may also not idle with your combat meter on, as having the meter on gets you experience; to not be doing anything related to the game (interacting with others either in roleplay or combat) while gaining experience is called camping, is a form of cheating, and is a no-no. Not observing these rules will get you a punishment ranging from a warning to a permanent ban from the sim and the Community Combat System/CoLA Combat System (CCS). CCS is used in a number of roleplay/combat sims, so being banned from the system would negate allowing you having full abilities in these areas, too. While there are some other more technical issues you may run into (metagaming, godmodding, etc.), if you follow the basic tenants of being kind and respectful as a player, you are not going to have any problems.

If this sounds like something you'd like to investigate, feel free to teleport into the sim of Lost Angels or check out the website.

And click the pictures- the thumbnails look like crap.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Content Theft in Second Life Pt. 2

Content Theft in Second Life Pt. 1

What if you’re not only an average SL citizen, but a content creator?

So you have an idea or a picture in your head that you think would be great to bring out and market, but you’re afraid to do so due to the recent rise of intellectual property theft in Second Life? I mean lets face it, what can you do to protect yourself? Well there is actually a lot you can do!

As the Lindens state in their Terms & Conditions, anyone person, group or company has the rights over what ever they create in Second Life. However, it is extremely hard to protect yourself and your products within because they state that it is up to YOU, the producer, to establish a system to protect you. Further more, the Lindens themselves also state that it is also up to YOU to prosecute should your intellectual property be subject to theft. So, what does one do to protect themselves and their creations? Here are a few ideas and suggestions:

1.) Exposure
Believe it or not, but getting your stuff out there in more forms than one shows more than once source of origination. For Example, say you have a skin you created- take the file and cut it up to make multiple fragments so it is harder to copy and put it in the ad. You could even add the image of the file in a banner you have created and post the ad on multiple websites. This will give the file more then one source of actual time stamped verification that the file was from you.

2.) Create Unique Traits
Make your product stand out from the rest by creating small details in the design the point to you as the creator. Like unique patterns of make up designs that will be hard to copy, or discreetly add your initials/company logo somewhere on the product. I would recommend encryptions, but unfortunately there is no such ability on Second Life as of yet. Be creative in your methods- the more creative the idea, the less likely for them to find the trait and deface your work in that area to cover their theft.

3.) Real Life Legal Protections
Now I will be the first to admit that I am no lawyer, nor a student of law. However, copyrights and patents are probably the only sure-fire way to get compensation for theft should it happen to you, and that is only if you have the funds and/or knowledge yourself to push this route. Linden Labs will not help in intellectual property theft, because lets face it: it is hard to prove you have intellectual property rights, and even worse, it is extremely easy to defend against the claims of intellectual property rights. So Linden Labs have the right idea, leave the law to the people in court rooms and stay out of the middle. Granted though, I am sure if you got a court order to have Linden Labs fork over data transmissions and tracking of who uploaded the file first, they would be happy to assist. If you want more information upon this route, I would strongly advise you to contact your lawyer, or find a lawyer if you don't have one and ask them about the best way to legally protect your virtual creations in real life law.

Add-In by the Girls:
Companies like FlickR and deviantART are offering Creative Commons licenses for files uploaded to them. While not as strong as copyrights or patents, it is still something that traces it back to you. Keep in mind, though, that these companies may have their own Terms of Service, and you should read over and understand everything put before you. If possible, see if you can get these without going through a middle man.

4.) Avoid Avatar Shaping and Animations
It is nearly impossible to say that any one shape or animation is yours due to them being based off numbers only. That makes it limited in the possibilities and plausible that some one may happen to stumble upon the exact size and shape you input on to your avatar shape. So instead, try and use these as enhancers for your actual products. Some good examples are to create a shape that would make you skin look the best and explain how the shading of the skin texture would be better suited for the shape provided. Use animations to enhance an object(s) so that it seems like the avatar is actually using the object(s). Animations are hard to set up, but if you have it customized to your object(s), it would also make it that much harder to replicate or copy it, especially if you create your own enhancement agents.

Those are probably the best ways to protect your self. Are there other ways? More than likely, but as I stated above, I am not a lawyer and will not pretend to be one. So other than that, have fun and enjoy your self. After all, Second Life is a game and should bring you joy.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Who are you?

We are three gals of Second Life (and our three guys) that felt like getting together and posting our thoughts on different things.

No, what are your SL usernames?

We're actually refraining from giving those out because we're all fairly busy. Granted, we may leave traces about the web and on SL, but we ask that you respect our wish to not be jumped about anything and everything.

What if I want to meet/friend you?

Again, we're all fairly busy, with Second Life duties and Real Life responsibilities. So, we're not really able to meet at anytime, and we don't care for random friend requests. That being said, if time permits and you would like to share something cool with us, we might be able to arrange something.

What if I want to heckle you?

We reserve the right to edit and remove things we consider inappropriate. We're aiming for a positive atmosphere with freedom of speech, but that doesn't give people the right to be assholes.

Conjuring a Chino Contest - February's Wicked Blog Contest

Ok, so I'm a nut for Chino Yray's blog. In fact, I'm bad about not sharing the link with others so I won't have competition for the weekly Top Commentator spot, and I've gotten into a 'commenting battle' before. But whatever- this isn't about my etiquette.

Well, actually...

Chino posed the following in his entry Thinking of a contest for February - Wicked Blog Contest:

Maybe because of my recent sickness, I can’t really think straight or get any idea for a unique contest this month. So instead, I’ll let you guys think of a good contest for me and make it a contest too.

What the hell Chino! What do you mean?

It just simply means that February’s Wicked Blog contest is suggest a good contest for my blog and the contest I will choose will be the winner. How’s that? You write a suggestion in your blog, contact me and send the link to your blog post.

So, after the kick-off post focusing on a severe form of rudeness (theft), and with some of the muck being stirred up now that the holidays are over (not to mention the politicians getting into swing for elections!), I think a great contest would be sharing stories of politeness in Second Life, and Chino could pick out his favorite. These could relate to incidents we've had or recount those of our friends, focus on going our of our way for others or seeing karma come around. By example, Green's told me about a friend of hers who, after being given some weapons to review for a magazine article, returned the guns back to the creator. Granted, her friend could have just kept them, but without a second thought, acted upon manners.

It can't hurt to promote positivity, can it?

Content Theft in Second Life Pt. 1

To seriously start the blog off, all of us would like to raise awareness about intellectual property theft.

What is intellectual property?

n. A product of the intellect that has commercial value, including copyrighted property such as literary or artistic works, and ideational property, such as patents, appellations of origin, business methods, and industrial processes.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

As Second Life is a virtual realm, it could be said that everything created is intellectual property, as it is all an idea in an imaginative world. However-

Why should people care about IP theft?

As much as an artist in "reality" cares about someone making a forgery of their work, an author cares about someone rewriting their novel under a different name, or an inventor cares about someone taking their ideas, so do Second Life content creators - skin makers, fashion designers, prim sculptors, and many more - care about their original works.

And there's also the fact that people can sell stolen goods for Linden, the currency of Second life (not just the last name of Second Life staff). Linden, in turn, can be exchanged for real money. Like US dollars, UK pounds, Euros- there are system that transfer this "monopoly money" into something substantial. So as much as rip-off artists can milk fakes for cash, so can virtual thieves.

Speaking as artists, the girls know that it can be utterly deflating and demoralizing after you put so much work into something only to have someone in little to no time duplicate it. Often, the copies are of horrible quality, too, adding insult to injury. If this persists, creators may give up creating for good.

What can you do?
As an average person and/or Second Life citizen:

1.) Don't take advantage of bugs.
The first thing you can do as an individual is don't physically contribute to the problem. Don't go ripping because Second Life can be manipulated that way. Don't do it just because you can. Even if you just want to take something and make a minor adjustment, you're disrespecting the creator. There are other ways to make yourself unique. If you are looking to make a quick buck, try to camp or do surveys- Chino Yray.Com has a whole bunch of information on how to do this legally.

2.) Be aware of what you buy.
While most store-owners and merchants are honest, if something looks very familiar to something you have seen before (especially from large names like Nicky Ree), appears copy-pasted, or just has a suspicious feel to it, investigate! Look around, for your instincts are probably right. Contact the original content creators to alert them of the situation, and if there is the opportunity, contact site or land owners.

3.) Be mindful of how you report.
This matter can really rile people up, but sometimes that can harm rather than help. Speaking from experience, one of the girls made a comment about on product on SL Exchange (an online Second Life product store, like using inflammatory language. Her comment was removed and the thief lowered his price of the product, adding in later that it "wasn't his fault if others stole his work" and that he has been original for so many years. To our knowledge, it is still circulating (the original content creator is not pursuing action because it is such shoddy work, in her opinion). With this in mind, think before you act. Explore a website for its report options, look around an area for who to contact. This will keep you from looking like the bad guy while the thief gets away!

4.) Support originality.
Even just leaving a kind word with a creator can make their day brighter and keep their spirits high. By showing that you care, creators will keep creating, despite the hardships they are facing. If you have the opportunity, go to events supporting the protection of intellectual property or show-off with pro-IP items. Whatever you do, stay positive, for you, too, are one of a kind!

For more information, check out this link from FabFree.

Content Theft in Second Life Pt. 2

Violet Vibe here!

*•.¸('*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´)¸
.•*♥¨`•BEAUTIFUL°•´¨` ♥.
¸.•*(¸.•*´ ♥ `*•.¸)`*•.¸

Roger, this is Green Dream...

What are your coordinates? :P

Blue Betch, tapping in-

This is lame.

*Taps mic* This thing on...?

One two three, one two three...

OK, so Violent, Green, and Blue are attempting a blog. Bear with us as we try to figure stuff out.