Monthly Archives: July 2006

Too Friggin’ Cute

Having established the “road” theme with the title of this blog and the freeway sign images, I decided that it was time to bring the rest of it into line. So some of the sidebar headings are now a little “cutesy.” Sue me.

But how often are you going to see a blog tagline that combines a Volkswagen ad and a lyric from the B-52s? šŸ™‚

Incidentally, I’m starting to make it onto people’s blogrolls now. Danielle, of course, added me. Mera, who had previously blogrolled my Electric Minds topic on SL, has changed her link for me to point here. (Smart move, Mera, since EMinds is presently down while the server is on the move.)

My own blogroll of SL residents, incidentally, is mainly composed of people I’ve actually met or encountered in-world. Many I see every day, like Danielle and Quantus, for instance. Some of them, like Tateru, probably couldn’t pick me out of a lineup, but they and I were in the same place at the same time. That’s even true of Ordinal, whom I once glimpsed at a distance while she was working and exchanging pleasantries with another Caledonian. (I felt it wise not to disturb her at her labors.) SL Insider is on there because I know Akela, one of its authors. Moral of the story: Easiest way to get on my blogroll is to have actually met me in-world…try coming down to the Cutlass Club sometime, especially after 6:00 PM.

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Filed under Fellow Travelers, Meta

In memoriam

It saddens me to report the loss of Chris Ellsworth, who died of a massive heart attack this morning, July 30, 2006. He was our friend, vendor of an exclusive line of T-shirts at The Cutlass Club, and soon to be “DJ Cabana Boy” on our staff. He leaves behind, in Second Life, his big sisters Danielle and Val, me as his brother-in-law, and his girlfriend Skye Galileo. He will be sadly missed by the entire Spira Enterprises family and all who knew him.

Requiem aeternam donum eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Fare thee well, Chris.

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Filed under People

Default Erbo

Have you any idea how hard it is to find decent menswear in Second Life? Or, at the very least, decent casual menswear?

Seems like, when you look at the various clothing stores in SL, 90% of the available goods are for women…and 90% of what there is for men, RL me wouldn’t be caught dead in. (SL Erbo has a bit wider taste now, thanks to the influence of people like Val and Danielle…but I digress.)

One of the first good outfits I ever created was the outfit I now think of as “Default Erbo.” It closely resembles me as I look when I go to work each day, which is at a company where casual dress is pretty much the norm, and, even then, I’m about the best-dressed person there. It’s been augmented a little bit here and there, and now looks more like “me” than ever before. Here’s how I wound up doing it:

The shirt and pants are from Swell Second Life. I found the Khaki Belted Pants there, and was delighted to see that they had a decent polo shirt as well, the Original Hippo Polo in Charcoal Gray. (Yes, I’m aware of the semisacred status of hippos in SL…)

The shoes are Brown Nubuck Leather Shoes from D2TK. They closely resemble my RL shoes (which are Timberlands) and come with built-in animation overrides for walking, which isn’t all that big a deal to me, but is a nice touch.

My hair is Metro Brown from Pazazz, one of the few decent sources for men’s hair. That style rather resembles the way I like to have my hair cut, and the brown tone is close enough to my natural hair color.

I’ve taken to wearing a Natural Skin, in a rather pale color and without facial hair. This was mainly Danielle’s influence, but I found it made me look more like “me,” so I was delighted.

The eyes are a relatively new addition, from Deadly Nightshade Design Studios. They’re contacts in Seamist, which, again, is close to my natural eye color.

And there are three attachments I usually go around with; one of Timeless Prototype’s incomparable Multi Gadgets, a Deluxe Hug & Kiss Attachment from Maura & Phil’s Animations (7th floor…but check out the rest while you’re there, they do good work), and, of course, my wedding band, which is part of the Diamond Platinum Wedding Set from RICX’s Fine Jewelry.

The one grace note of my outfit that is uniquely my own is the pendant I wear…it’s the Bent of Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society, which I am totally entitled to wear in RL (but the one I have is quite a bit smaller in proportion to the rest of me). I created it in SL as a reflection of my desire to master the engineering principles of the SL world. I used a gold texture I created in The GIMP; I also have silver variants (OK, white gold, really) that I use with other outfits. If you click it, it actually displays object text reading “Erbo Evans – Tau Beta Pi – California Sigma ’90.” (This is my actual chapter and graduation year.)

Note: This post would not have been possible without the use of the SLurlchatter 0.12.1, from Ordinal Malaprop. Get one from her freebie bin at Ordinal Enterprises at The Lighthouse, Caledon.

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Filed under Appearance

Philosophical Nattering During Grid Downtime

Inspired by some stuff I just read over in the forums…

If you come into SL expecting to find a “game”…you’re likely to be disappointed. As a “game,” SL is relatively poor-performing; it can’t be as speedy as a typical MMORPG, the system architecture forbids it. Yet that’s also what makes it so flexible.

If you come into SL expecting to find a new chat system, or a 3-D modeler…you’ll probably find what you’re looking for, but you may not fully grasp the possibilities of the system.

But if you come into SL with an open mind, not really sure what you’ll find but willing to seek out new things and learn as you go…you’ll probably find everything you ever imagined, and a great deal more besides.

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Filed under Downtime, Philosophy

Beyond the Dreams of Avarice

My nascent career as a club DJ (DJ Dr. Feelgood, thank you very much) is off and running. At first, my ability to play stuff was hampered by the fact that I don’t have a lot of “modern” music (my collection has primarily been composed of a lot of 80’s and earlier music, and progressive rock, and other stuff), but friends have chipped in to help. Danielle has sent me some tracks, as have two of our club employees, Zues Burali and ZoeyStar Rankin. My coworker Ed, in RL, has given me 2 DVDs (!) full of dance tracks, with the promise of more once we can figure out the partitioning on an external hard drive he has. I’ve found a few CDs of more modern music, for not too much money (thank you, Costco and Second Spin) that I’ve ripped for additional value. And even Pamela has chipped in with some tracks she’s gotten from her Finnish friends, of a Finnish pop band that sounds pretty good. So now I am incredibly rich in MP3 music.

How in the hell am I going to keep track of all this? I’ve downloaded an MP3 management application that looks pretty good thusfar, but running it alongside SL and the Live365 Broadcaster might be a bit of strain on the ol’ mojo…and I’d have to, so I can fill requests in mid-broadcast. We shall see. I’m going to have to build another set for tonight; even though Val (DJ ValleyGurl) is spinning tonight, I have to be ready to step in if she crashes out. Before I do, though, I’m going to have to dig out a couple of our CDs that I haven’t ripped yet and run ’em through the ripper. Busy busy busy…

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Filed under Audio

Lessons learned

A complete accounting of last night’s events would just cause unnecessary pain, and to no point. Instead, what I’ll do is give some bullet points of lessons learned, in hopes that others may benefit.

  • When looking for Arabian costumes in SL, about the closest thing you’re going to find is Gorean stuff.
  • Some Gorean types aren’t too thrilled about non-Gorean types wearing Gorean costumes, even if it’s in conjunction with an Arabian Nights event.
  • Be careful what you laugh at; someone may misinterpret exactly what it is you’re laughing at.
  • It’s important to keep promises…but some are more important than others.
  • Remember what I said about finding hidden talents? Sometimes, when you do, you run into the same sorts of problems you would in RL…and they can catch you off guard if you’re not careful.
  • Sometimes, the absolute worst thing you can do is…nothing.
  • Couples need some quiet time together regularly, to help them reconnect with what it is they love about each other.
  • The Beatles had the right of it: I get by with a little help from my friends.

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Filed under Business, Philosophy

The Importance of Hardware Upgrades

Decoding Ordinal’s latest post and converting the language from the Victorian…I think she got a new video card. šŸ™‚

This illustrates an important point, though: SL can use as much hardware as you can possibly throw at it, especially CPU, RAM, and video card. It seems to have issues with dual-core CPUs (for now), but screaming-fast CPUs are decidedly indicated. So is RAM, to such an extent that I would throw an extra gigabyte into my system (for a total of 2) if and when I could. And, when I placed the order for my components, I thought the Radeon X1600 Pro with 512 Mb was serious overkill. Wrong! (Mine is a Sapphire-branded board that Newegg sold me at a very reasonable price.)

Disk isn’t as important, as long as you have enough disk space for the client and its cache. But boosting that cache to 1 Gb in Preferences is often a Good Thing.

As a consequence of the above, there are very few notebook machines that really have the “oomph” to run SL. Those that do, such as the one that Allie has, tend to suffer from overheating when they get heavily loaded…and you can wind up with a nasty burn in sensitive areas if you have it on your lap at the time.

Mucho bandwidth is also a big thing. I’ve heard of people trying to run SL over dialup, but they strike me as masochists. Even DSL may not be completely adequate. We have Comcast cable modem service here, which works well (and thankfully, Comcast in Denver seems to provide us with more reliable service than Danielle is getting from them in Illinois). We use a Linux box as a router to supply both my system and Pamela’s; she never complains about slowdowns as a result of SL, even with the load she puts on the connection (basically, a Web browser and N instant messaging programs).

When it comes to hardware and SL, you’ll never go wrong by remembering the 97th Rule of Acquisition: “Enough…is never enough.”

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Filed under Technical