Eeep…

…it looks like I ended first in the SL Interface Contest finals. My heartfelt congratulations go to Jacek Antonelli and Rick van Wal, aka Digado, whom I undeservedly relegated to second and third rank, and to all other finalists. You did such a wonderful work — nobody should pretend I did better than you.

I’d also like to thank Dusan Writer for starting the contest, organising everything, and being a sweetheart all around, and also the judges, Keystone Bouchard, Vint Falken, Ordinal Malaprop and Eristic Strangelove. I’m still speechless and trying to get to grips with their decision.

Anyway.

Eric Reuters asked me yesterday what I was going to do with the prize money. In all honesty, I answered him I have no idea. Which is still true in a way, but I am thinking about it (or rather, thinking about what exactly to do besides blowing it on shoes, clothes, and hair). And one thing that has struck me since is that there is no need to sell my mainland plots any more. Until now, I have only had offers by land sharks, and have been loath to let go for the price offered. Now… I won’t either, but I will do this instead :

I will transfer the land, the total approximately 10.000 sqm located in Spinold’s Flats, as a whole or in parts, to any number of charities or artistic project(s) that can put it to good use.

This will take the form of a land sale for a symbolic price (I was thinking 1 L$ per plot). I can subdivide or merge plots if needed, too. Please contact me (in-world or through the contact form) if you think you’d like to take me up on the offer, and forgive me for announcing right away I’ll ask a lot of nosy questions when you do.

That’s all for now, I fear. See you on Plurk until RL relents.

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And another kick…

…proving I’m still alive, albeit barely. Well, to the blogosphere, that is. Anyway, here goes :

Thanks to Dusan Writer’s and his judges’ incredible sweetness in accommodating my RL schedule constraints, I will have the opportunity to present my entry to his Second Life UI Design Contest this Sunday, June 27th, at 4 p.m. SLT on Dusan’s sim. Although this is not a publicized event, it is open to the public, and I for one would welcome anybody interested enough to watch.

As to the rest,well, all I can say is :

Our programme will resume as soon as RL allows.

[Update : well, I went, saw, and bored everybody out of their minds with an erratic, decidedly too long presentation. Still, everybody was very sweet, or I would probably have crumbled into a nervous wreck (or more of a nervous wreck than I was already, actually). Ta an awful lot for being so supportive and accommodating, all of you !

The results of the contest will be announced in the opening segment of the next Metanomics show, if I understood a recent communication by Dusan correctly. I’m having a little wager with myself on the results (don’t ask : I won’t be sharing what I bet on, beyond letting on that it is definitely not myself winning 🙂 ). I will be very interested to see how close my guess came to the actual decision by the judges.]

Alive, barely kicking

I will keep it short.

Maybe some among you have been wondering where I have been — after all, it has been over a month since I last gave a sign of life on this blog. Now, I’m not going to treat you to one of these «  why I did not post lately » posts — the only thing less interesting than a blog that is never updated is a blog that tries to simulate activity with posts on why there is no activity. So, unless you want to follow me on new social media darling Plurk, where the bite size posting and short bouts of inane chatter better accomodate both my current RL schedule and my frame of mind, all I have to offer is an apology.

Or rather, something as an apology.

Without further ado (drum roll on cue), I give you what has kept me away from nearly everything the last two weeks, and up and awake the last two nights straight : Rheta Shan’s entry to Dusan Writer’s Viewer Interface Contest — a contest that, as detailed here and here, is aimed at developing proposals for a newbie friendly revision of the Second Life client UI.

Yes, I thought I ’d better put my hand where my mouth is, seeing I’m on record as a know all on Second life’s interface deficiencies, and as an official Dazzle hater. So, fans of the current viewer — here is your chance to turn the tables and tell me how stupidly impractical, frighteningly ugly and altogether badly designed my proposal is. In fact, I point out many of its weak points on the first and last pages myself, first and foremost among them that I have no talent whatsoever as a graphics designer, and that the whole thing is a lost twin brother to a Swiss cheese, as it has as many holes as it has substance (time, and the lack thereof, being the issue here).

But this sounds like I’m apologising. I am not, even if the entry itself starts with two apologies. In fact, and although I am certain my proposal will at best fare moderately well against what the many brilliant minds of Second Life will contribute to the contest, I am still happy enough with it to want to show it around.

Here it is.

[Update : To my great surprise, I made it into the final selection, among such illustrious names as Jacek Antonelli, Damien Fate, McCabe Maxsted and Rick van der Wal (aka Digado / Roy Cassini). I presume the rather low number of entries Dusan mentioned in a short exchange we had accounts for this, but I still feel oddly proud. And I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to all my co-finalists !

Further update : It seems the finalists will have a chance to present their entries to the judges before they decide on the results of the contest — go to Dusan Writer’s blog for an announcement of the panel. I am very grateful to Dusan, who has been an absolute sweetheart trying to afford me the opportunity to do so, too, despite my stupid RL schedule restrictions. Ta, Dusan, and apologies to your judges I have had jumping through hoops. Don’t hate me too much, please.]

The great escape

There has been a spate of posts about the balance between First and Second Life lately, starting with my friend’s Dandellion’s thoughtful and entertaining blog post Going Schizo. At its core is the question how to handle the realisation that the personalities we evolve in the 3D metaverse of Second Life might seep back into our atomic life (a distant echo of some of Dusan Writer’s earlier thoughts). Besides a fair number of comments, it has also spurned Kit Meredith to ask the question if atomic her is jealous of her avatar, and Botgirl Questi to complete her schematic of the relationship of metaverse and meatverse. Independently of those, Zippora Zabelin has touched on the same topic in her beautiful Life is a game.

The funny thing about all these is that, much as I wanted to give feedback and tell the authors how much I enjoyed their posts, my own uneasy balance between First and Second Life has not let me do so until now. Consoling and supporting a friend much in the same situation as Dandellion’s unknown avatar, but also saying a chance good bye to another one who was leaving SL, as well as finally accepting some other friends and lovers will never come back, has made me painfully aware how ephemeral our second life can be — and how fragile whatever fleeting balance we find is.

It also made me think. Because while we often discuss how, and why we leave this world for good, we rarely dwell on the question that maybe should have been asked first : why bother with the effort of two lives at all ? Why come to Second Life, and stay ?

I have an answer to offer, Continue reading

[RESOLVED] Codename Pitchfork

Sometimes, the weirdest things just happen.

Here I am, minding my own business in SL after a nice afternoon spent, well, actually, this is neither here nor there — minding my own business as I said, when this AV IMs me out of the blue. The conversation, if you want to call it that (and you will have to forgive the dazzling display of esprit that makes up my side ; I was a tad surprised) went like this :

[Name of avatar deleted for privacy reasons]
[15:14] Anonymous: don’t mute me plz don’t mute me
[15:14] Anonymous: their after me
[15:14] Anonymous: just listen to me just 1 min
[15:15] Anonymous: PLZE!
[15:15] Anonymous: their after me
[15:15] Rheta Shan: Err…
[15:15] Anonymous: thye will get me any min now
[15:15] Anonymous: u hav to let the world know
[15:16] Anonymous: SHIT
[15:16] Rheta Shan: Is this some kind of joke ?
[15:17] Rheta Shan: Hey ?
[15:19] Rheta Shan: Right, very funny, really…
[15:19] Second Life: User not online – message will be stored and delivered later.

Oh great, I thought, more to file under « another day in Second Life ». Shee-eesh.

Which would pretty much have concluded the whole episode (and made for a very poor blog post, if at all) if my subsequent spring cleaning hadn’t uprooted a notecard in my inventory I’m sure I never put there. Yes, I know there’s no way it could have gotten there without me agreeing to it. In fact, it should not be there, at all. But it is. Which, all things considered, is only half as weird as its content. If not less.

But read for yourself : Continue reading

Chimaera

I have never been much of a political activist. The way I see it, however passionate you are about an issue, politics have a way of wearing you down by making you argue the same things over and over again, until anything you say is but the n-th rehash of things said countless times before. And while repetition might hone your skirmishing skills, each pass blunts your heart as much as it sharpens your tongue.

That, and the fact that I am a hopelessly shallow person of course, have been enough to keep me away from the nitty gritty of political work. Oh, I might cheer and wave, I might even run that first, glorious mile when events are still fast paced and exciting ; but don’t look for me when the going gets slow — unless it is in the boutiques we passed on that first mile. It has always been that way. I have always been that way. 

But life moves in strange ways, especially when you have two of them, and in one of mine at least things have been… different, lately.

Not entirely surprisingly, this has to do with trademarks ; trademarks as made into policy by Linden Lab, and as protested against by so many in the blogosphere. And then again, more surprisingly maybe, it has not. It has not because when all is said and done, what the issue really boils down to is not a silly set of writing rules for bloggers, nor even the presumption to enforce these by brute force if need be, but one simple and far more general question :

What kind of world do we want to live in ?

Yes, yes, I know how that sounds. Don’t call the orderlies yet (later, maybe : being put in a straightjacket and manhandled by burly men, then locked into a cell, only ever to get out for an ice bath or some electric shock therapy … but I digress).

Let me explain what I mean. Continue reading