Tuesday, November 17, 2015

FLASH! Major Savings, and a Minor Update

Just a quick note today...well, two.

First, LL has dropped the setup price for new private regions by 40% across the board.  The $1,000 USD startup fee has been a huge barrier for people wanting their own region.  Now that cost has dropped to just $600 USD.  There have been other changes, too...for example, if you bought another resident's grandfathered region, the region reverted to the current $295 per month land fee, instead of the grandfathered rate of $195 USD.  Now you can purchase the region and get the grandfathered rate, provided you pay the $600 fee up front. 

Second, the popular Firestorm viewer has a new release, 4.7.5.  It's mostly bug fixes and a few new features, but it should increase stability for most people and may even provide a small performance boost.

There may be terrorists running wild, but at least here you found some Good News today!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

We'll Always Have Paris

As I write this, the world is still reeling over the series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris.  I am hearing things like:
"This is just terrible"
"I can't believe anyone would do this."
"I'm praying for the victims and their families."
"We must express our support and sympathy."

Well, yes, of course.  But while I sympathize with all the innocent victims, my main reaction is anger.

I am angry at the terrorists themselves.  Cowardly psychopaths who think that killing other people, strangers who never harmed them, somehow earns them points with God.

I am angry at our government, and the government of France, and governments everywhere who continue to permit scum like these people to exist and operate.  I am angry at the weak responses to incidents like these.  The responses are too often words, and too seldom deeds.

I am angry with the churches and the secular humanists who knuckle under to the demands of radical Muslims for special treatment, for the implementation of "Sharia law".  Those who, instead of opposing radical Islam, permit it to exist and flourish in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance."

Will the terrorists win?  I don't know.  I want to say "no," but it depends on all of us.  For the purposes of this discussion, we can divide the world up into four groups:
  • The terrorists and radical Muslims themselves
  • Those who knuckle under to the terrorists' demands
  • Those who oppose the terrorists and the spread of radical Islam
  • Those who actively fight against the terrorists, the military and police
It's the middle two groups who will decide the issue.  In this case, the meek will not inherit the earth...or, if they do, it will be very small pieces of it, approximately six feet long by two feet wide.  It's way past time for hand wringing and voicing shock and dismay at the latest atrocity.  It's time to take a stand against terrorism.  The lines are drawn, and it's Us against...against whatever they choose to call themselves.  Against Al Quaeda.  Against the Taliban.  Against the Islamic State.  Against jihadists of every stripe and in every place.  Against the demands of radical Islam.

Will Rogers once said, "Your freedom to swing your fist ends where my nose begins."  My nose, the noses of all France, and the noses of most of the world's billions have been bloodied for the last time.

Back off or die, you bastards.  We'll always have Paris.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Visit to Art in Hats

This is a short update to my earlier announcement of the Art in Hats diabetes benefit exhibit and sale.  I visited the event, and you NEVER saw so many whimsical, lovely, bizarre, far-out HATS!  Even if you never wear hats in Second Life, it's worth going just to walk around and marvel at the things that designers think we want to put on our heads.  Some of those designers must be, I think, twisted indeed, but others are obviously Artists of great skill and imagination.

The event is set up so that you can buy either the hat itself, or a piece of accompanying artwork that showcases the hat.  Or you can buy both!  That's why the full name of the event is "Art in Hats - Hats in Art."

If you do buy some hats, and are having trouble getting them fitted with your hair, here's a tutorial that may be of help:

Here are a few pictures I took, but they're only the tip of the iceberg.  DO visit this extraordinary event!




Friday, November 6, 2015

LL Listens to Mentors! New "Classic" Starter Avatars!

For the last year or so, those of us who frequently help newcomers to Second Life have complained about the all-mesh starter avatars.  They can't be adjusted with the Appearance sliders, can't wear traditional layer-based clothing, and when a newbie does manage to detach the mesh body, they often leave the alpha mask layer on and disappear entirely.

This is all very confusing to a new resident, to say the least!  A lot of the newcomer help areas have developed signs and tutorials to help explain this situation and persuade newcomers to switch to one of the older, "Classic" starter avatars, which are much easier to customize.

Now Linden Lab has (finally!) come to the rescue.  They've added a new series of Classic starter avatars, and they are available at the "Choose Your Avatar" page during the signup process.  These new avatars are part mesh, where mesh makes sense, but they respond to the Appearance sliders, and can wear clothing layers.  Not only that, but they look great too!

Check out the official blog post here:

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Art In Hats - SL Benefit for Diabetes

This arrived in my inbox, and I'm passing it on to all of you!



The coordinator of Art in Hats 2015 is Emma Portilo and this year ART in HATS has selected Team Diabetes of Second Life (, an official and authorized team of the American Diabetes Association, as a charitable beneficiary of the event. A portion of proceeds will go to the charity and we will be holding a unique hat auction at the end of the event with exclusive designs!

-OPEN TO THE PUBLIC November 4, 2015 at 6 AM SLT

-GRAND OPENING DAY November 7, 2015 - Featuring Fashion Hat Shows and a Grand Gala Event - Open to the public

-BRING IT ON Public Styling Contest November 8, 2016 at 3 PM SLT

-FINAL DAY LINE UP November 14, 2015 Including:

ART in HATS was founded by Quan Lavender in 2013. Quan is a blogger, curator of the Art India Gallery (currently on hiatus) and member of the LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) committee. (

Team Diabetes is the official and authorized team of the American Diabetes Association in Second Life.  Team Diabetes of Second Life’s mission is to raise awareness of diabetes, promote greater understanding of the issues those suffering from diabetes face, and to raise funds to further research into cures for diabetes.
For more information:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Charity Benefit at Creations Park

A note arrived in my inbox today announcing a ten day-long charity benefit for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The Winter Festival benefit is being held at Creations Park from November 6 - 15.  It includes shopping, with products provided by some of SL's top designers  including BamPu Legacies, Blue Moon Designs, and Kari's Kreations.  There's also live music and DJs, including  Seth Regan and over 25 other live singers.

There's a Hunt, free gifts, and amusement rides from Dutch Amusement Rides and Entertainment.  And, for your Winter enjoyment, a sim-wide ice skating area!

See more about Creations for Parkinson's on The Drax Files, Episode 13, available on YouTube:  Creations for Parkinson's  or read their blog at

100 percent of all donations go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.  Here's a great opportunity to have a lot of fun while Doing Good!  My Dad suffered from Parkinson's, so I'm planning on visiting Creations Park...more than once!  Here's your taxi: Creations Park Winter Festival

Friday, October 23, 2015

60 Clothing Layers!

When I first came to Second Life, most clothing was on "clothing layers."  These are textures that are painted directly onto your classic avatar body.  (See my earlier post, "Layers and Layers of Layers" )

At first, there were only skin and clothing layers.  Over time, new layers were added.  First we got tattoos.  Then came the "physics" layer that isn't really a clothing layer at all, and is used to make your body jiggle.  Finally, the old invisiprims were replaced by alpha mask layers to hide parts of your body under mesh clothing and other clothing or body part attachments.

The big problem was that you could only wear one thing on each layer.  One undershirt, one shirt, one jacket.  Clothing designers often provided the same top on all three layers, so that it was easier to put together an outfit.

Then Linden Lab made it possible to wear up to five items on a clothing layer by using the ADD command instead of WEAR.  This made it possible to stack shirts, for example...but the biggest benefit was that we could add multiple alpha for your SLink feet, one for your hands, one for your mesh pants, another for your mesh top, and so on.

But people were still running out of layers.  I had to compromise some of my outfits because I maxed out my available alpha masks.

Now LL has come to our rescue again.  They've implemented the "LayerLimits" functionality in the viewer.  I am not sure exactly when this moved from a project viewer to the released viewer, but it's been in place there for at least several months.  (Nobody ever TELLS me these things!)  It's in the Firestorm viewer too, and probably most of the other popular third party viewers.

LayerLimits removes the five items per clothing layer limitation.  Now you can wear up to 60 (!!) clothing layers IN TOTAL, in any combination.  This does not affect the "Essential Four" items (shape, skin, eyes, system hair) or the physics layer.  Only one of each of these items is allowed.  But it does affect tattoos, alpha masks, and the traditional clothing layers such as jacket, pants, gloves, etc.

Woot!  Good job, LL.