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The first landmark in Second Life

In Second Life, I’m a bit of a landmark hoarder, and I noticed that I had kept the very first landmark I saved when I became a Second Life resident in 2006. As was common for new residents, I’d saved the location of the casino whose chairs I used to sit in to gain Linden dollars. Those were the days. So, I then decided to visit the landmark itself and found that the University of North Carolina at Pembroke has replaced the casino of my Second Life youth:

It’s hard to avoid the juxtaposition of Second Life’s evolution since 2006 and my landmark experience: gambling, along with unregulated banking and activities like ageplay are no longer, with educators a stalwart community. There’s both upsides and downsides to those changes, but what hasn’t changed is the uncertainty over where Second Life will go next.

So now it’s over to you: do you remember your first saved landmark, and if so, what was it and does it still exist? Or has something else taken its place?

Popularity: 3% [?]

Freedom Expressed

Freedom Xpress is one of the more recent memorials to appear in Second Life. Its subject is freedom of expression and the journalists who have been killed for doing their job.

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The organisers of the memorial, Dakila Lacava and Galilla Sinatra, describe their motivations:

“Freedom Xpress is a place of tribute to those who have fallen in the name of freedom of expression and the press. We are also a group dedicated to promoting these freedoms as indispensable to genuine human development and understanding.

Today, people continue to be persecuted, even killed as governments and groups with dire agendas seek to suppress the truth and those who bear witness to it. Freedom XPress is our small contribution to the effort to stave off the darkness from descending on us.

At the moment, we have erected two monuments, one to Philippine journalists murdered since 2001, and another to slain Russian journalists.

We would like to invite journalists from as many countries as possible to join us, to build their own tributes to the heroes of press freedom and free expression in their lands. We also welcome those who, journalists and non-journalists alike, wish to join us spread awareness through SL about how freedom of the press and of expression continue to be threatened and attacked all over the world.

If you want to know more abut Freedom XPress or get involved with us, please feel free to IM Dakila Lacava or Galilla Sinatra. We would be honored to have you on board.”

Check it out in-world

Popularity: 11% [?]

Interview – Dexter Ihnen (Dexter Moore)

Dexter Moore (SL: Dexter Ihnen) is one of a growing number of Australian musicians performing in Second Life. Like most, he’s a well-established real-life musician who’s built up a loyal SL following. At present, he’s number one most played artist on Slusic.com, so he’s obviously doing something right. We caught up with Dexter this week to find out a little more about the life of an SL musician.

Lowell: When did you first get interested in Second Life?

Dexter: I started performing in Second Life March 2007 – SL was mentioned to me and I had seen it in passing on TV too. Since then I’ve been doing up to 8 shows a week. I’ve pulled back to 4-5 for now as my RL career is extremely busy both coming up to Christmas and after my award for RnB Song of the Year on ABC Australian Radio. Anyway, I entered in to SL in Feb 2007 and spent a month just getting used to the virtual world experience. It’s been an amazing experience since I started, right up to today.

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Lowell: Was music the drawcard for you initially or were you just checking it out?

Dexter: My brother said he thought it might be a good platform for my music. I came in to have a look and a listen I didn’t really think it would become integral in my life – but I do follow up ideas

Lowell: What are the attractions of performing in-world versus real life?

Dexter: Performing in Second Life is quite unique, The most fascinating aspect is the direct personal feedback you experience whilst playing. This is not very possible in RL as one person in an auditorium cannot make themselves heard over the volume of the concert, but here they can talk directly to the artist and the artist to them – I really dig that :)

Lowell: Without getting too technical, how do you actually get your music and voice in-world?

Dexter: In my studio I have 2 separate mixers and 2 computers also. One mixer has in built FX and I plug my stereo Godin guitar, vocal, congas and roto-toms into it. As well as that I record any backing tracks I create and choose to use into it also ( it is an 8 track hard disk recorder too ) I send a stereo mix out of that into my main mixer which has a Firewire connection to my main music computer. This is also wher I take my headphone feed. I stream the out of my music computer with SimpleCast. Meanwhile, I run SL on my other computer which I run at standing eye level. This is the one I interact with while performing. The reason I run 2 computers is that if I crash I know that the stream is still stable.

Lowell: How would you describe the music you perform?

Dexter: Interdimensional SOUL – FUNK ;)

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Lowell: How have you built up a following in SL?

Dexter: I worked my butt of for 6 months – to the point of burn out! Up to 8 shows a week, plus 3 RL shows and a major recording project. I moved around a lot in that time – but I am pretty much in a holding pattern until the New Year now until the RL Christmas season commitments subside.

Lowell: What are your goals in the longer term with performance in SL?

Dexter: I want to tour the world playing live to my SL fans plus whomever else is into my music. SL fans though will always have a special status with me. Prior to that I have a number of ideas to bring to life here in SL;

Lowell: Who inspires you in SL?

Various types of people inspire me in SL: Dane Zander – Lost Gardens of Apollo builder. Skribe Forti, Film maker. Circe Broom and Slim Warrior, entrepreneurs. And anyone having lighthearted fun :)

Lowell: What are three SL landmarks that you keep coming back to again and again?

Dexter:
1. The Lost Gardens of Apollo
2. The Wild Coast
3. Tableau – Roller Disco, 10 pin bowling, Cool shops,

Lowell: What are the pet hates you have about how SL operates that affects your ability to perform?

Dexter: In this order:
1. Crashing ( sim crash excepted – we all have a strange affection for that one lol )
2. Freezing & heavy lag
3. Notecards ( they cover up my guitar controls )

Popularity: 6% [?]

Toxic Garden

I’d still argue that the Greenies Build by Rezzable is the most impressive SL presence I’ve seen. I’d read about some other Rezzable builds like The Cannery (SL Artwork from a number of artists) but hadn’t checked any out. When I TP’d to The Cannery I went to the Map View and noticed the enourmous array of sims that Rezzable own.

One that caught my eye was Toxic Garden. It’s very different to the Greenies build but contains its own fascinations. I won’t wreck the spontaneity of exploring Toxic Garden by giving too much away, but do ensure you pick up the anti-toxin armband at the entrance.

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Toxic Garden is in beta and there are opportunities to give feedback to Rezzable.

Check it out in-world

Popularity: 6% [?]

NORML make the jump into Second Life

The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is an American organisation that has set up a presence in SL..

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Who are NORML?:

“Since its founding in 1970, NORML has provided a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana smokers. A nonprofit public-interest advocacy group, NORML represents the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly.”

A launch event is scheduled for September 6th at Noon SLT (5am on the 7th AEST) will feature a chat with NORML’s founder and Legal Counsel Keith Stroup, talking about NORML and answering questions plus “marijuana related music, NORML info and freebies.”

Whether you agree with the decriminalisation of cannabis or not, this may be a fascinating event to attend.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Facing the harm

The SL Herald has run an article entitled ‘What’s the Harm?’, mirroring the name of the exhibit covered by that and this story. The exhibition is essentially an onslaught of images depicting sexual ageplay and some extreme fetishes within Second Life, most sourced from the SL search feature.

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It’s powerful and has already engendered a lot of discussion. We’ve covered the ageplay issue previously and made the point it’s a murky moral area with wider societal implications. One of the more admirable aspects of the exhibition is the ability to provide your comments, which are then posted as part of the exhibit if you consent to do so.

Check it out in-world (You’ll need to walk across the bridge and click on the ‘What’s The Harm’ sign to teleport to the exhibit.)

Popularity: 6% [?]

Virtual Africa

Many years ago a group of musicians got together and in the name of social justice, put on a world-wide concert called Live Aid. It was aimed at alleviating famine in Ethiopia.

Sadly, little has changed on the continent of Africa when it comes to the tribulations that befall it. There’s a very real attempt to create an SL presence that has as one of its primary goals, the linking between a South African based social justice organsiation and the virtual world.

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Uthango Social Investments has created an offshoot blog site called Africa’s 2nd Life, our Virtual Reality, which is the information and news centre for Virtual Africa.

A look at the Uthango website shows this endeavour is aimed at developing projects that “are dynamic and innovative and focus on bridging the digital divide, micro-enterprise development, intercultural dialogue, crime prevention, community mental health and most importantly, infrastructure development.”

The SL Africa is a work in progress and it will be revealing to see how it can be used to help develop solutions to the problems and challenges being faced by the many countries that make up that continent.

Popularity: 4% [?]