Burning Man 2010

“I got a golden ticket!’ That’s what I was humming while packing for Burning Man.

The playa was beckoning to the thousands of crazies getting ready to arrive to the Black Rock desert in Nevada. Another year. Another excuse for a major party… and I mean major!

I did hear the words, “The Purple Palace Bus.” Hmmm, no way? Yes, way. The ultimate party bus!

In real life, I don’t even own a camera, except for the one on my mobile phone. But, the friends that are going will be armed to the teeth with laptops, iphones, video cameras, live cams and technology to network with the entire world!

A couple of friends are in Europe paying homage with art car creations as this will be the first year that they missed the grand party. They are already posting the art cars on the net and wishing all the Burners goodwill.

Weather is promising, people are cool and I got a golden ticket.

Have a safe Labor Day Weekend everyone! (Now where is that portable shower?)

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BURN2 ?

BURN2 is beta for 2011!

I waited 2 years before I attempted to build for Burning Life. The builders at the event are phenomenal, and I was just plain intimidated by these grand creators. Fantastically designed creations are born from the brilliant minds of these digital builders to delight and mesmerize us. And, finally, last year I got to participate at Burning Life for my first time.

Burning Life is a quasi-reflection of the real life Burning Man. BM is an event of magical proportions. Long ago, in the San Francisco Bay area, there was a group of people who I would call groovers. They were the remnants of the hippie drug-culture of scientists, engineers, artists and designers who wanted to have a party to celebrate life, art and love in a rave-style event.

What began on a small San Francisco beach mushroomed into an event of almost 50,000 people where BM finally settles in the dust of the dry playa of the Black Rock Desert. Now, Burning Man becomes part of Burning Life in the virtual metaverse of Second Life.

As Linden Lab downsizes its staff, it is inevitable that many programs may be left hanging without the company’s sponsorship. Thus, in 2010, we watch as Phil Linden announces the partnership between BURN2 and Burning Man. I think we have finally come full circle with the original dreamers finally coming in identified as the old guard and ready to rave both in RL and in SL.

unreal avi meets real avi

Whether or not, BURN2 is successful in both attendance and participation is a wait-and-see affair. As I read the BURN2 blog, I realized that this entire program has to come together rather quickly in both funding and in execution. Is it possible to get everything in place so soon? Can Phil Linden galvanize the troops and create a buzz on the grid? Or does this event mark the demise of all lab sponsorships?

So far, two sims are rented and ready to go for this year’s burn. 2010 may be the year that creates the template for Burning Life in the future. What would be so cool is if Burning Man would adopt Second Life’s homage to BM as part of their own marketing and buzz creator. In partnership, the two entities could create an event in both worlds. Imagine if LL could have a RL build at Burning Man highlighting the digital arts much like they did at the Shanghai World Expo.

Fundraising for the SL Burn could be year round with the culmination of the major fundraising to occur around the end of summer right before the actual event. The possibilities for future fundraising events are endless. And, I personally would love to see more fundraising for the SL community and its members than send Linden$ to the outside world. (don’t throw stuff at me… it’s my personal opinion).

With land space being a premium at this year’s burn, I imagine the builders will be invite only(?). There will probably be no land grab or possibility of small builders like myself to participate in the grand scheme of things. That part is kind of sad. I always looked forward to those new builders who bring such a fun passion to their creations. Not everything has to be so darn serious!

Whatever happens, I will be visiting the BURN2 site looking for inspiration and new concepts. Here is the news link for the BURN2. Keep checking the blog for any updates or news for this year’s burn. Burn baby burn…

In the meantime, I got (2) tickets to the real life Burning Man where a collection of my friends, crazy artists and cool musicians will be participating again in the desert. So, I will be out there in Nevada spitting sand out of my mouth and brushing the dirt out of my hair. No matter what happens, the Burning Man concept lives on… and on… and on!

Viewer 2.0 Upgraded

raftwet jewell

wet builders in second life

I was a naysayer when I first checked out Viewer 2.0. Argh! I hated the way the right side menu jolted out decreasing the window by half. I especially hated the huge image of the view box. Too big and extra clicks to go back in forth between vertical/horizontal and orbit. In the old viewer, I use both keyboard to navigate and also use the view box when I wanted to use only one hand.

The inventory file list for the new viewer “bounced.” When you scroll or look for something, the entire file list has a tendency to bounce up and down. But, I knew it was a glitch that could be fixed. Several other annoying things discouraged me and I quickly left and went back to the original viewer.

I coud hear the nagging in the back of my head, though. “This is the direction we need to go. Browser-based format.” So, one weekend with a bad cold, I hunkered down with my alt and dove in. My alt is a builder only. She has no friends, no groups; she just builds. I use her when I need to focus on a WET Builders project. There is a vanity in using your main avatar as you want your name attached to the creation. When I use her, I know that no one will know that I built it, and that makes me reluctant to use her for anything but practice.

wet builders

raftwet jewell of wetlands group

At first, I was hovering over the keyboard… hunched over, hands tight, wrists in pain. I couldn’t relax. When I use the old viewer, I am almost in dream state when I build. I reset my entire preferences on my computer to address the tension in my hands. I took off all the soft touches and set it at a default setting until I could get used to the new viewer.

Today, I love the tidiness of my desktop. Gone are all the little windows that I used to shove into corners. Now the window is large and easy to use and with one click it disappears into the right side. The annoying IMs and blue notices are now at the bottom of the screen. Small orange dot highlights tiny thumbnails letting me know that someone has “called” me. And the notices flash briefly, and then, disappear into a nice tidy little envelope.

second life builders

wet builders in second life

I got into a rhythm building multiple boxes stacked on top of each other. Each with the same texture, but I changed the variables of the texture for each box. A simple script was placed into each box; each script was modified slightly so that the texture changes were subtly different. A good practice build for using the new viewer.

Then I went into a sculpty build. Same thing. Get into a rhythm and play. I could feel myself start to relax. My hands were loose and fluid. The inventory though was still a bugger. The bounce is annoying. I kept thinking that maybe Linden Lab was trying to tell me to decrease the inventory load! LOL!

By Sunday, I decided to delete the old viewer. I didn’t want to fall backwards to an abandoned viewer. I have been here for a long time, and I have watched the changes sometimes in dismay. But, each change brings new challenges, opens more doors and I didn’t want to be that old stuck-in-the-mud kind of person who won’t accept change. Better that I jump in with both feet and help to fine tune the system.

riverland and wetlands regions

raftwet jewell building on wetlands group regions

I know there are glitches in the viewer. I have heard from my builder friends that there are issues with machinima, scripting, etc. but I hope they hang in and file the reports necessary for LL to fix these glitches. Second Life is beta and always has been. This is a testing ground for the future and those who leave over a viewer upgrade are short-sighted and probably shouldn’t be here anyway.

wet builders raftwet jewell

wet builders : raftwet jewell on riverland

I am not an expert, but I can see where this is going. The future of digital worlds is the internet. Maybe not the one we have now, but it will be a network of all digital worlds including both real and virtual. There will be no division between the worlds. All worlds will be interconnected for artists, consumers, businesses, retailers, services, educators and governments.

Those of us who stay involved will be rewarded in knowing that we helped with this new world. When I hold my future grandchild on my knee, I can tell them how I helped create the digital world they use everyday. The excitement I feel now is one of a child on the night before Christmas. I can’t wait to open up all those colorful, shiny packages under the tree.

For more pictures, see raftwet jewell in flickr.

second life, phil linden and browsers

Summer of 2010 and many things are changing on the Second Life landscape. Recently, Linden Labs laid off 30% of their staff. Included in that group, were part of their dev team, some from support teams and other well-known Lindens. I saw a memorial over on Codie’s Rouge sim that was installed honoring those laid-off avatars. So many well-known avatars such as Blue Linden, who had reached out to the grid community in way of forums and meetings on a regular basis. When I saw Blue’s name, I was, quite frankly, shocked. Is Torley next?

Svarga in Second Life

Yesterday M. Linden aka Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Labs stepped down, and ┬ámy favorite avatar, dreamer, Philip Rosedale has stepped up as intermin CEO. Welcome back Phil Linden! (Gawd, just in time… I hope!)

When a company lays off their employees, there are usually several motivations. First, of course, is a cost cutting measure as labor expenses are usually the largest in a budget. Or, LL could be consolidating departments and job duties to be more cost effective. Or the grid is not supporting the amount of employees that the lab has hired. Or, LL was getting rid of employees who were not team players. Who knows?

Whatever the reason, Second Life is about to morph. We have seen it coming for many years. And, I am feeling quite privileged in knowing that I got to be here during the beta (hey, it’s been beta since it launched!). Now, I am very excited to see what is coming next… Mr. Rosedale, the dreamer extraordinaire… my hopes are with you!

WISH LIST & questions:

  • Browser based with a killa search app (which entities will partner up in this quest for control of the virtual metaverse?)
  • Who will be divine? and reign this metaverse?
  • I see Apple and Google and MSN and Sony and Second Life and others joining together to bring an easier platform.

IMAGINE:

  • a browser that handles the virtual world with a tool bar that we can load up with specific apps
  • builder’s tools; sim building, artist palette, clothes design, scripting tools, photoshop and more
  • media tools; music, live music, performance, DJ tools, musician tools, machinima, video apps, video streams, websites, and more
  • business tools: spreadsheets, writing, b2b tools, purchase tools, service lists
  • retail; buying power, cc merchant services, store, inventory management
  • social media networking; virtual, business, social etc
  • education; school, resources, educators tools, books, presentation, etc
  • photography/video; social network, photo/video tools, photo/video directories

Uhhhh… it’s already here. It’s just not in one neat little browser that includes the virtual metaverse. That is coming very, very soon…

Welcome back, Phil… we missed you… a lot!

RAFTWET Jewell is in the Virtual Metaverse

rafee dream in second life : raftwet jewell

My friend and I made this video together on my regions. We also tp’ed into several sims to get the running sequences. Aoshi is a machinima artist and creates wonderful videos in the virtual world. He helped make this video while I covered the art direction with my personal concepts.

I am running because of many things. The grid can be stressful and frantic at times. We are real humans behind our digital characters. We hurt, we feel joy, we love and we crash and burn just like we do in real life.

The video is a dream… frantic pace while surrounded by surreal beauty. I love it here… and I love making the videos.

Builder’s Projects in Second Life

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Builders Land: Sandbox Limitations

In 2004, I tried to do Second Life, but my computer just wouldn’t handle the visual assault and components of SL. So, I had to wait and meanwhile, I studied many hours about virtual worlds and their applications to the business world. And now, here I am working for whitewater rafting companies and helping them to promote rafting in our world and in real life.

I build. I can’t stop building. It’s like having a personal sandbox here on the land. Even when I finish a project… I go back, I see something that’s just not right. So, you tear it out and do it again. Sometimes, doing it again makes it worst. So, you tear that out and start fresh. I’m never done.

Many of my artist friends have told me that building is an art. And as artists, we criticize our own work constantly. I am my own worst critic. Never satisfied… especially after seeing someone else’s build.

The worst problem at this time is my prim count. I’m obsessed with counting prims. And the scripted water is causing lag on the sim. How do I create my vision without sacrificing the servers? It’s a constant battle.

I did tear out two large waterfalls recently. They were “old style” with primitive rotation scripts to handle the movement of the water flow. Too many rocks were needed to “hide” the seams when I built it originally. Way too many prims for the effect. Now I’m using new textures and new scripts that make the water look so real.

The builds go so much faster now, but it makes me want to create several more waterfalls and rivers… again, too many prims and too much lag. The limitations can be frustrating for builders…

I also started creating particles because I just love the beauty of the event when you release them. Stars, dots, shapes exploding into a kaleidescope of colors that you can wear or release around you. Practicing particles on the land creates a horrible lag, and I’ve crashed frequently while playing with the scripts. Oh, but the results are sooo fun.

Well, it’s Saturday morning, and DJ Audrey just sent a tp to her party. I’ll be checking it out since everyone will be there. I’ll dance with Ronnie, Bio, and I’m sure Aaron will be there… lots of the ZenDivaz ppl and Mack’s group always come out to hear Audrey… then I’ll go check out Cherry’s newest art installations in Venice or her sim.

Whew, it will be a full day of partying with my best friends in SL. Hugs to all of them… they make working and building easier. They support me by helping me in every way they can. I’m off to dance now… no crashing today, pleeez, Lindens!

Notes: this is an old post from November 24, 2007. That’s why there are some very old references… more to come soon….