Sunday, July 29, 2007

Second Life Relay for Life 2007

As of this moment the Second Life Relay for Life 2007 event is still going on. This year they are suing 32 sims compared with last years 12. Thats 2097152 square meters! The vent concludes at 2pm SL time today, so there's still time to participate in the actual walk. Though I am not a formal member of any of the RFL teams, I did make some small donations here and there and purchase some RFL items at various vendors throughout the grid. And I did serve in the Caledon RFL Militia, serving as a warm body in machinima. Since the performance of SL on my lappy is not so good I decided to visit the track location late friday night, and Saturday morning so I wouldn't be slowed down by a large number of avatars. I took a lot of screenshots, over 120 in fact.

With that many screenshots I wasn't going to post them here, that would be unwieldy, Thanks to Linux I have relatively easy ways of mass renaming images, mass converting images, and mass uploading them to flickr.

For the conversion I used convert from the ImageMagick tools set:

for x in *.bmp; do convert -quality 95 $x $x.jpg; done

For the renaming I found a perl script that did the job:


my $dir = '/path/to/images/directory';
my $names = '/path/to/file/with/the/wanted/names';
my $files = '/path/to/file/with/the/real/name';

chdir $dir or
die "Could not change dir to $dir: $!\n";

open NAMES, $names or die "Could not open $names: $!\n";

open FILES, $files or die "Could not open $files: $!\n";

my $name = ;
chomp $name;

my $file = ;
chomp $file;

while($name && $file) {
print "renaming $file to $name...\n";
rename $file, $name;
$name = ;
chomp $name;
$file = ;
chomp $file;

close NAMES;
close FILES;

Just create a text file with the old names, another with the new ones and point the script at them and the image directory. To create those files I just did an:

ls -1 > current_names.txt
cp current_names.txt wanted_names.txt

and then used the search/replace functions in vim to get the names I wanted fast.

For uploading to Flickr, I used the flickr_upload Perl script. like so:

flickr_upload --tag='"SL RFL"' --description "Screenshot taken at the Second Life Relay for Life 2007" *.jpg

The phots are at CronoCloud Creeggan's flickr photos and have the "SL RFL" tag

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Skin Review: Minnu Model Skins

There's a been a plethora of new skin designers showing up in SL, and established designers that I have not heard of releasing new skins. I was dropped a Sample pack of Minnu Model Skins a few days ago. I had not heard of their creator, Minnu Palen before, and gave them a try. Originally I was not planning on doing any kind of a review, because when it comes to skin reviews, my boss Sabrina Doolittle is the best skin reviewer around, in my humble opinion. But she's away from SL, and I thought these skins deserved a review, at least on my own blog.

Lets get the basics out of the way. Minnu Model Skins (which I will abbreviate to MM) are mostly hand drawn with some photosourcing on the body, but not too much photosourcing, because Minnu believes too much can ruin a skin. There are 5 skin shades, Pale, Light, Mid, Tan, Dark. I, of course, am a pale face. Pale is the new tan! This is the Pale skin shade with the Dominate makeup.

First thing I thought when I put them on was: zOMG, I've got the "Aspire" look a la Colleen Desmoulins or Isabella Sampaio. I have to admit that I think the overall look is "generic SL glamour". There are a lot of skins that can give a look like this. However, most of those have much more photosourcing, which in most cases makes them look like crap on my avatar. MM skins keeps it more subtle. The abs are defined but not too over shaded, the knees are nicely done, and it's a very pleasant and easy to look at skin. It does everything reasonably well, even if it's not a "stand out from the crowd" skin.

There's a been a plethora of new skin designers showing up in SL, a

I even like the brows! They only currently come in this brown shade, though Minnu has said that different brow colors have already been requested. The faces themselves have that generic "slightly exotic SL glamour" look on me with the high contoured cheekbones. The lippies seem to be all frosts, which is a downside in my opinion. (I prefer matte, creamy and glossy lippies in RL) The faces worked well with full lips and thin lips as can be seen. I tried them on a bunch of different shapes and the face flattered them all, even the famous Spin Spin Sugar shape. That may be the reason for the "generic SL glamour" look, that look may work on more shapes and faces than other basic looks.

Here's the Light shade in the 40's makeup:

Now the standard MM skins may not be "stand out" skins but the Mia's are. The Mia's are "Asian" skins. Very pretty skins. In fact the Mia's are IMHO the best "Asian" skin in SL that I have seen:

On the left is the Mia Deep on the right is Mia Ice Queen. You can also see the boobehs, which are the standard boobehs on all the MM skins. Yes the nipples are blurry but that could just be my shape, which seems to make ALL nipples blurry. They could also use a bit of highlighting/shading to enhance the cleavage, IMHO.

Now, I am no Sabrina Doolittle but here's a kitty shot:

The kitty is important to some. Now I'm not that familiar with kitty's in SL, but I think this kitty's pubic hair is a bit sparse. As for the bits themselves they aren't scary looking. You can also see the hands, which are very nice with knuckles and prettily manicured nails that don't look like someone dipped them in white paint.

So overall do I recommend these skins? Yes, for those who want the look this kind of skin gives, and for those who want a bit of photosourcing but not too much, and for those who want a reasonably good skin that's very pleasant to look at. Single skins are $L 1100, fatpacks of four are $L 4000, older skins are $L 900, and eyes are $L50.

Minnu Model Skins is located at: JT World VI 211,208,22 The build does NOT suck, and you know how I am about builds. There are also other locations. In addition to skins, MM also sells shapes and eyes.

One other note, the location above has a small fashion runway with seating suitable for a small fashion show. Minnu has said that she wants to support new designers and give them a place to show off their stuff, which I applaud. Contact Minnu Palen for more details.

Sorry for the image problem folks, I had a duplicate of this post saved thanks to a glitch and when I deleted the duplicate it deleted the images too, and I didn't realize it was doing that fast enough.

Monday, July 23, 2007

A new micro-nation, Avendale

I just found out about a new micro-nation in SL, Avendale, founded by Mystical Cookie of Mysti-Tool fame. It sounds very interesting from the Notecard:

Hello, and thank you for your interest in Avendale!

We currently have land available in the following beautiful sims:

Avendale Town Square, Avendale (204, 201, 21)
Nevi Community Public Park, Nevi (142, 192, 22)
Adeo Community Tavern, Adeo (153, 106, 22)
Cila Community Park, Cila (123, 123, 21)

Anyone is welcome to visit and enjoy our wonderful community! We are a real community of friends living in beautifully landscaped island estates. Please do not be afraid to say hello to us, we love to meet new friends!

Are you looking for land? Tired of moving and discovering one week later laggy casinos, shopping malls, strip clubs, etc have come to your mainland sim? We have no such things here. Come and see for yourself. :) Each sim has a different setting and feel, from town settings to countryside forests!

Even if you do not own land in our sims, we would still love to meet new and friendly people to assimil.. um.. integrate into our community! Please be fun, friendly, and pardon our sometimes twisted sense of humor. :)

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a notecard to Mystical Cookie!


And the Covenant is somewhat similar to Caledon's.

So I think it's worth a look for those looking for a nice place to settle down, build a shop, hang out.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Contest entry and skin comparison

Yeah, I entered the Ginny/Starley Are you the face of style contest, but I had to get a Starley skin first. I only had a Passport and I don't flatter it and it makes me look like Salome. So I tried demos.......lots of demos and figured out right off that I don't like the Vogue/Deviant Nation brows. Can't stand them. Course, that's me being picky on brows. After doing some searching I found the Carrot and Auburn Charmed series and got a Carrot:

My shape flatters it much better than the other Starley skins, I actually look like me and the I can tolerate the brows. I know, I harp on brows, but they're very important, especially to redheads. The shape and color just has to "work". Give me a groomed, shaped, "classic" brow with a nice arch, but not too much arch any day.

For comparison a shot in TaP Sophisticate 1, one of my favorite skins ever:

Yeah, I'm Roslin and CJ's ***** all right.

I'm lip picky too, but that is another story.


Yay, it's my SL rezday! Has it been a year already? Seems like only yesterday that I was a starry eyed newbie Ruth.

Here's an image from my early days, from about July 24th, OPIUM suit and Ruth skin/hair.

And look at me now, well June 25th anyway, suit from Marzipan's Closet:

If I go back and look at my older posts, I start looking like "myself" around the 31st of July, and look pretty much like I do now starting in mid August when TaP Deux came out.

I've really enjoyed SL over the past year. If I'd have been told that in the future:

1. My avatar would sometimes get recognized by avatars I have never met.

2. That I would have contributed to PXP.

3. That I would be a Linden Lifestyles Lackey.

4. That I would be known for dancing on cows.

5. And have over 10000 items in the inventory

I would have not believed it. Among the highlights:

Schoolgirl Antics in Luminosity
Cow Dancing
Meeting Sabrina and Sachi Vixen during the building of Dickens Fair
Meeting Roslin and CJ in the old TaP store.
Meeting Swirly Cyclone in Paper Couture.
Making the Picture Perfect Studio Light Effects
Discovering Caledon
Becoming a Caledon Gun Bunny (We wuv you Guvnah Shang!)
Meeting Salome.
Meeting tons of other Fashionistas.
Voting for Kit, at the Big Brother Habitrail.
And many many more.

I just want to thank everyone who's friended me. It's the people that make SL great, not just the shopping and playing dress up with my avatar.

I've just went back to the first sim I entered. I joined SL through an SLURL for a Geekbrief SL meetup, so it was the old CC. Chapman headquarters in Shatgogae I appeared at, not newbie island, so I was totally and completely lost. My first landmark was:

C.C. Chapman's Podcast & Digital, Shatgogae (243, 196, 50)

My first fashion related LM was:

OPIUM Everyday + SKIN, Alpha Centauri (215, 8) created on July 23rd. Which is still a valid LM for OPIUM. Yay Alaska Metropolitan

I have LM's from Caledon dated July 28th.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Missing my bosses, oh no it's faux Sabrina and Salome again.

Yes, I'm missing Sabrina and Salome's post on Linden Lifestyles very much. No, I don't know when they'll be back. Summer is a very busy time for them, something similar happened last year. But not only am I their Friday Interview Lacky, I am their #1 fan or should be. So when I really mis the "Red Headed Shameless Hussy" or "The Patootie Haired One." I'll dress like them, and then sit in my skybox and say "Pants" and "Squee"

You see, Sabrina and Salome are among my favorite people to hang out with, though I haven't done that a lot, they're very busy ladiee. Theyr'e even funnier and wittier in virtual person than they are in their blog posts.

Sabrina, or as I like to cal her, "The Red Headed Shameless Hussy" is in part the inspiration for my own "Red Headed strangeness".And it is because of her, that I can't spell jewellery and favourite in the US way anymore. This is one of my favorite Sabrina outfits, i'ts a mixture of different pieces Armidi Bombshell hair and a Gala skin. This is my only Gala skin. I've always wanted to know what Gala looked like on me so I finally broke down and got one. I reallylike it...mostly, except for a minor quibble with the brow color, but I'm extremely picky about brow color. I think Gala skin looks better with thinner lips so I tweked them down a bit just for this skin. The outfit itself is a little bit punk, a little bit girly, and a lot sexy. Details are in her original blog post, and of course she looks better in the total ensemble than I do.

the eo/last call/wrong/oi/heart headband outfit post:

Ah Salome, everyone's favorite Patootie wearer and Mistress of Squee. She's my shoe inspiration. These outfits are from Reasonable desires, the purple bodiced gown and the nun set. That's the only Passport skin I own and frankly my shape does not flatter it. I'm also not fond of Starley's default brows but that is just me and my brow pickyness. I've said it once and I'll say it again redheads are hard to please, especially when that redhead is me. Salome is not a redhead though and like her I'm a fan of ETD's browns, especially Chestnut. Salome looks much cuter in the nun's habit than I do.

nun habit and purple bodice dress from reasonable desires review

I have sometimes thought of myself as Sabrina and Salome's strange "love child" because I'm like a combination of them in some ways stylewise. And has been said on Linden Lifestyles, they show their love by telling each other (and me) why they hate what they're wearing. Sabrina is one of the reasons I switched to less intense greens in my eyes. And I am their #1 fan, but not a stalker! Really. I'm not that crazy, Sabrina has sticks! I just like to do "faux Sabrina and Salome" when they go missing, like I said, yeah that's the ticket. But I am too much Roslin and CJ's ***** to look like them all the time. I love my Tete a Pied skins.And I have my whole "CC looks like a 50's housewife / sophisticated businesswoman / ocassional hussy / penguin" thing going on.

But wherever they are and whatever they are doing I wish them a speedy return to blogging, so that we all may read "Pants!" and "Squee!" again.


I've been using the First Look Voice Beta's since they became available, and I have a few things to say about voice:

Yes, it surprises people when they hear my voice. I think people understand that SL is different than most online "games" and realize that most of the female avatars are actually female, unlike the old joke applied to IRC, World of Warcraft and the like. So that when I speak, there's a disconnect. There are such things as voice morphing software, like MorphVox but since I am honest in the profile, I don't think I'll use them, though I have played with them a bit.

Voice works best in small groups, in large groups it's just too chaotic, and unlike text chat, you can't scroll back to see what you've missed. Also in large groups there always seems to be some disruptive person, either being a misogynist, homophobe, asshole or just simply cursing every other word.

There is also the problem of language, there are tools that can translate text like the Babbler mentioned in the previous post, but translating speech isn't as polished. Even turning speech to text is not all that easy.

Voice actually works well, it' amazingly clear, as good or better than a landline phone voice quality. However I think the voice clients are more resource intensive. They do not seem to play well with other applications running. That could be an issue for those with low-end "SL is a slideshow" machines like mine. (Integrated graphics, 852GM/855GME chipset)

Now I'm not going to say that I will never use voice, but I don't think I will use it too often. I can imagine it might prove very useful to others, so unlike some, I've not been opposed to implementing it. I am surprised that more people don't use the voice enabled first looks. LL needs as many people testing it as they can get. I've not tested the direct voice conversation parts of it, I don't think I have anyone in my friends list who's voice enabled.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Babbler, a translation tool

With the increasing number of international users of SL, there is an increasing need to be able to understand each other. While I took a year os Spanish in High School, it was many years ago and I have forgotten most of it and I don't understand German, French, Italian or Portuguese at all other than recognizing some root words and the like. That's where Babbler comes in, its a HUD by Max Case that uses Yahoo Pipes to translate what you say, or what others say to you. I was gifted with one bya German speaker and it has proved it's worth already. But here's the best's free. Not only that but you can gift it to others by pressing a button on it.

The Linden's ought to add this thing to the Library, it's that useful. You can get more info on it at Max Case's website

You can also find it in world by using Search.