Thursday, July 31, 2014


So, the days of Disappearing  Attachment Syndrome are numbered, and in many places already a thing of the past! And who do we have to thank for that? The lovely people of Kitely Grid, who have donated a patch to OpenSim core that fixes the problem! Obviously, older versions may still give you pause (or not give you paws, if you see what I mean) but this week's Wednesday Safari was a hair-tastic treat. If you want to know 'how' they fixed it, and can read Simulatorese, look here.

We had more than thirty avatars from eleven different grids joining us at the Clubhouse this week, which was officially called 'ContraptionFest' and this event looks like becoming a regular feature of the Safari, because it was thoroughly entertaining (once you got a handle on how gears work). 
It is great to play around with vehicles by yourself, or with a pal, but when you're on a gigantic Varregion, with a huge group, it adds a whole other dimension to the experience. Lifted Pixel shared a scripted toy comprising blue blocks which was hilarious, and I'm sure we will do many more physics tests in future Safaris.
Everyone had their own take on Contraptionfest, and their choices revealed a little bit of their personality. Some used the two vehicles included in this week's LM package, while others went to the mall and brought back a variety of land and flying machines, hovering above us or landing among the crowd. 
Sandbox Plaza is the size of four normal sims, with no sim boundaries. It's breathtaking to be there on the sand, it's like a proving ground in Nevada or on another planet.
At Lani Mall (that's sim Lani on OSGrid) you will find a couple of dozen small shops by a host of different scifi creators producing avatars, weapons and tools, skins, just about everything you can think of inspired by all your favorite Tv shows, movies, along with original ideas. The mall is one of the Landmarks you will find at the Clubhouse on Teravus Plaza, if you want to retrace our steps. We're talking quality and fantasy. Contraptions like the spaceships of Pete Camino, the spankingly cool Tron bike of Tina Bey, and the physics-enabled Curiosity Rover and Bullet Gocart of Cuteulala Artis. 
We set up some prims on SandboxPlaza III in OSGrid, and played around there. Turns out Fuschia Nightfire is deadly behind the wheel, and doesn't care who knows it. I on the other hand, crashed my vehicle and then abandoned it. Gears schmears.
          But ContraptionFest was sandwiched between two other outstanding destinations.  30 made the jump from OSGrid to Dorena's World, our first stop.
DorenaVerne and Anachron Young with Mal and two Art Blues
 Anachron Young, Dorena Verne and other native Doreneans made us exquisitely welcome with a party, lots of dancing and some great music, the perfect start to the trip.
I think we were all amazed by the experience not only of getting there but also of begin able  to cam around the lovely builds, while dancing... or sitting at the bar...
And after ContraptionFest, we moved on to Joe Builder's USS Enterprise. 
 This amazing ship is on 4 sims, and is only one tiny part of the Lost World Joe has put together. From the Welcome region I counted more than a dozen portals leading to themed areas including a wonderful junkyard, an abandoned city, a terrarium and way more.
Joe Builder
He made available free to copy 3 of his impressive collection of ride-able vehicles, a flying bus, a helicopter, and a jeep, and we entertained ourselves on the Bridge, with Wizardoz Chrome wearing that fabulous Predator avie - which goes invisible... this is a pic taken through her.

I got to use the all 40 of my Star Trek sounds... 
and with Serene, found the bar! And no, I can't share the photo of the handsome barman with you. That would be illogical. Go see for yourself.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Spike, SIDA, and Sara Fari

          They say it's wrong, but it's not. Traveling in a group of twenty-plus avatars from grid to grid, I mean. Not that other thing, which is very wrong and you really need to quit.

          Every Wednesday, in the three hours of the Safari, we lose people. Some just drift back to more important things, some get bored or called away, some don't realize that we are still online even though we show up offline - a simple IM will resolve that, and get you back with the group! - and sometimes we all get frozen or can't see much but then there are moments like this, from yesterday, on Francogrid's SIDA monument to AIDS victims, when it is just so worthwhile...
          There are three things that go wrong when hypergridding, one is Attachments disappear, we are working on a Safari strategy for that, two: people get lost, ditto, and three: some grids and/or servers just can't take the strain, but even here, the outlook for the future is good. 
          Meet Sara Fari. During each Safari, she is going to hang out at Teravus Plaza, Osgrid, at our main HQ. If you get lost, go back to see her. She will let us know where you are and we will tp you to where we are.  
         This is us at our first stop, looking at the HG Safari stand, part of the OSGrid 7th anniversary party. We're on the North sim, there are two other 0.8 Varregions hosting exhibits, OSG7BW and OSG7BE. Try saying that 3 times fast. Hey, that's Pathfinder's Map on the ground with pins in it! How long till someone sits on a pin, I wonder. 
Oh too late.
         After Francogrid,we visited the Metropolis grid TP center that is on Spike Sol's home computer - yes home computer! In 21! and we didn't crash it! 
          That's not to say we could see everything: it isn't built for numbers. But we visited, and I hope made Spike realize how much her fantastic collection of Metropolis destination portals means to the hypergridder. Likewise the genuinely wonderful friends on Francogrid who are always so welcoming.
          After Metropolis, it was time to try visiting Pete Camino's Firefly-themed build on sim Landfall and surrounding on OSGrid. I say 'try', Pete warned me before hand that they might not take a lot of avies all at once. Indeed, many of the party had departed, and many crashed like me; only to come back online to find this going on. Not even the presence of Pathfinder Lester was enough to rein in the madness.

Pathfinder , OK I can see that happening. But Nara of Nara's Nook? *looks shocked*
          This region is wonderful. Pete has made available dozens of different spaceships for you to copy and fly. There are interesting buildings and a variety of shops 'selling' firearms, furniture and more. We were too much for the place, and gradually decamped, returning to HG Safari's home on Teravus Plaza, where Mal, Allelia, Miso, Mr Mips, Wizzy, snow and I exchanged Movie Gestures, and pondered on this travesty to the spirit of safariing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Seven Year Grid

OSGrid turns seven this month. Take a look at a map of the grid, and you'll notice it is mind-bogglingly large. Those are not simply cookie cutter regions or abandoned builds, either; the variety and wealth of creativity going on here are equally impressive, not least because, as a non-commercial grid where resources are less plentiful, a lot of ingenuity goes into making even the simplest thing. Just a little bit of the magic of OSGrid is on show at the birthday celebrations, held officially this weekend July 26 and 27.  There are three exhibition regions this year, OSG7BW, OSG7BN, OSG7BE plus a performance region, and the sims themselves are special, because they're the new 0.8 release Varregions, much bigger than an ordinary sim and with many other bells and whistles. This also means to get to the show, you need to depart from an upgraded sim... long story - the simplest answer is, go to sim LBSA, and teleport from there.
All kinds of interests and initiatives are expressed through stands and exhibitions, from the real life natural world to the history of virtual environments, to building and scripting ideas
Jeff Hall, for example, is a forestry engineer in the real world, has a fascinating exhibition on trees and the way they make our world beautiful and livable. Enjoy the woodland feel, complete with owls and boards giving some pertinent lessons in the way our planet's forests are being maintained - or not. He has a particularly interesting element, the tallest tree in the worldThe best bit for me is the part of the install where you go up to the exact height of the tallest tree, and you can actually feel what it must be like for a bird or an insect to perch up at the top, and it gives you renewed respect for our barky friends.
Fabulous creators Sarah Kline and Ada Massenberg have a completely different build but equally useful and interesting, it's on how to build better, in scale and proportion.
 Sarah Klein: I missed the first 2 Birthday celebrations here in OSGrid. It wasn't until the 3rd one that I had a stand. (here's a video of that). We used the same set up from the previous years and it was an impressive build by Adam Frisby and others. There were 4 regions, which the next year was turned into a Megaregion. We had a few problems with that though and the amount of people it could hold initially, but now we have Var regions and other improvements - it's so much better! This year there are about 50 exhibits across 3 var regions compared to about 30 across 3 regular regions last year so Vars definitely have been an advantage to us, there are always many new faces joining the exhibitors each year which is always encouraging and makes for a great exhibition. Looking at all the amazing creativity amongst the community here is certainly enjoyable and last year we left the regions up for a couple months afterwards for people to see. The party and music at the end is always great fun! 
          There's Danger Lytton's OSMax Theater, and Caro Fayray's Tree of Life, Samuel Greenway's Hatteras Lighthouse; Nebadon Izumi's stand which will teach you more about the Periodic Table than you've a right to know.
          There's a Roman Bath and Temple right next to a Greek fantasy night club. There are goodies from Wickenshire, Lani and much much more. Some builds are still in a work in progress, the fun doesn't start till Saturday,  but it's clear this is going to be quite an event.
            Gimiso Cerasa's script house, to Tina Bey's hot and hollow hill that represents the heart of football players, are two more unmissable stops. Wizard Gynoid has a geometric tower, with a meeroo barbecue on the roof.  Each of the birthday sims has its own dance hall, and there will be live music with Truelie Ellen on Sunday.
          Fuschia Nightfire has put together HG Safari's contribution, including a machinima showing some of the many grids we have visited so far.
OSG7B starts on Saturday 26 July. See you there!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Safari High

          You know you've been on safari when the trip starts out with an elephant farting, and ends with a dinosaur eating a giraffe.
          The new HG Safari meet up point is still in OSGrid, but we moved to a different sim, Teravus Plaza, a homestead township where the weather is less picturesquely stormy. Probably just as well, since a whopping 24 people showed up for our trip this week. I'm not sure Ilha Magica could have taken the strain.
          There is an indoors to the clubhouse, with freebies, and chairs, a TV showing some of our exploits, 'helpful' posters, and a patio with a meeroo cooking on the barbecue, but everyone ended up in the front yard, somehow. Please drop by any time. TP to Teravus Plaza and look for the waterfall. We are next door. Feel free to grab freebies, get the notecard with LMs to freebie stores, and do not forget to click on the elephant's tail.
          It was so cool to have valued regulars with us, and also lots of new friends along, including SL pals like Apmel and Desdemona Enfield. Finding a look that works for you on a grid without all your favorite shops, let alone marketplace, is a challenge and they both made it work in different ways.
Apmel Opensson and Desdemona Enfield. Apmel is the one with pants on.
           Just friending everyone took about 5 minutes. Why friend everyone? Well, obviously they're all exquisite human beings, but on the practical side it makes it easier to keep track of who has crashed or lost the group, and you can tp and chat to someone when you're on another grid. Sometimes. 
            Fuschia Nightfire had organized our first jump to a truly lovely ensemble installation called Dreamtforest, on a tiny grid which frankly I doubted could take the strain of two dozen avies. Art Blue aka Ervare Farroretre was there to meet us. He explained how this build is part of the RL contemporary art expo, the Santorini Biennale, and that it's an interactive install. You get a tree from the dispenser near the big blue stargate, and then plant it and water it. I'm not sure how you water it, but I have my suspicions. Anyway, then it grows leaves and such, and you can go back and visit it, and see it develop. 
          We are those tiny dots and clouds on the tray being held by the gardener high above the lush vegetation of the adjoining sim. It is a place to return to, not only to visit your tree, but to explore. Here's a link to get more information about what it's all about.
          Safari lasts more than 3 hours usually, and nobody expects anyone to stay for the whole thing because you people have lives to live and Wednesday is often a busy time. Not only that, jumping is frustrating and laggy and annoying at the beginning, so it's only natural that people get fed up and go off to do something more comfortable and/or productive. So it was quite a shock to find  that almost everyone was able to stay with us to make the next jump, to Calchester on Kitely grid.
Calchester panorama
Some were able to use the Landmark, some used the map address, others needed a tp, some hopped back to OSGrid and then on to Kitely, some had to change sims in order to get the Landmark to work for them. We haz strategies. There's been quite a bit of talk about making a HUD for Safari, and while I appreciate the thought, honestly, hypergridding is way too unstable right now for that to be a viable option. But it will be, in the near future. For sure. 
Arriving in Calchester, Kitely grid

          Alexina Proctor and Prax Maryjasz welcomed us to Calchester, a 4 sim region, or 'world' as they call it in Kitely, with a truly enchanting atmosphere. There are castles, cottages, and creatures everywhere. If you're looking for a calming place to visit, this is perfect. Many simply cammed the regions, hence the standing-around pose here in the gazebo, but take time to ride one of the animals (find nessie if you can!) and just soak in the loveliness. 
          I went to take photos for a poster before the event, but snuck back several times, just to enjoy the scenery, which is probably very naughty because as I understand it, Kitely charges sim owners for every time somebody goes to visit. I hope not in this case! 
Foreground: our hosts Paislee, Prax and Alexina
          More gorgeousness on the Tolkein themed build of Paislee Myrtle, also in Kitely. I wondered what her response was to people who say that open sim is a 'desert'.
Paislee Myrtle: I say any virtual world is what you choose to make of it. Opensim forced me to learn how to make most of my own things.
Serene.Jewell: How many worlds have you built here, Paislee?
 Paislee Myrtle: hmmm... at the moment... 6 worlds. But there have been several storage. I hope to start a straight up fantasy build soon. Have the flat land. If one gets in the goes pretty quickly.
Serene.Jewell: You do a lot with windlight settings.
Paislee Myrtle: yes. I love the option windlight offers. I tinker with them and make my own versions.
Serene.Jewell: That must take hours of tinkering. so many options.
Nara Mistwood: It's lovely.
Paislee Myrtle: not as much time as you would expect.
Alizarin Goldflake: soft and misty
Paislee Myrtle: after a while of doing catch on to what to change and what to keep hands off of!
Serene.Jewell: (By the way, this avatar is one of the free ones from Francogrid's Avatar region.)
Serene Jewell
          The interesting thing about Kitely is that it gives you the genuine feel of being in another country with other customs. Like, you know, the way blowing your nose in public is considered very rude in Japan, or like the whole multiple kiss greeting you get in France. It's an underlying cultural difference that lets you know you're truly abroad. In OSGrid, the idea that you'd want money for the things you make is not considered 'quite nice'. It's like a social contract: If you take freebies, you ought to, in turn, make freebies, and pay it forward. But Kitely seems to be not like that. It's different. Different is good, seeing it helps us grow.
Paislee Myrtle's Ismadril region on Kitely
          By the time we'd explored both these regions, and taken LMs so we can return because boy there is way too much to see in one short visit, we were down to about seven or eight avatars. Nine weeks ago, when this adventure started, it was just me and wizzy. More than twenty is a bit mad, to be honest. Not what we expected at all. But we'll work on a plan to keep things managable and pleasant for all. 
          Six of us were still up for some grid hopping, so we did a bit of a tutorial: try to get to Triton Grid. 
The Fellowship of the Blam
Step 1. We went to Kitely Welcome Center, using the viewer Map. (Whenever trying to jump to a small exotic place, go to the 'main' sim of the grid you're on, it's more likely to work from there.)  
Step 2. We tried to jump to Triton via LM (didn't work) and copy/pasting the address (ditto)
Step 3. We went to Sanctuary Grid using the Map; that's For quick copy/pasting, I keep a grid-address Notepad doc on my desktop. Tip - need to quickly find out the address of a grid? Google the *name* + grid + 'URI'.
Sanctuary is home to dozens of hypergate portals or Blamgates; you arrive high up in the sky, and must go down to ground level on sim Eld, the main arrival region, to find them. 
          The Triton grid gate was hard to spot in the forest of portals, so we let Alizarin pick a destination - she chose Selea Core. Using gates is fun, but since it's a scripted item, if you click on it too much too quickly you just confuse matters. Four of us blammed there, me and snowy just copied the address into Search on our Map, and tp'd there that way. But the blam of the blamgate never loses its charm.
           Selea Core contains other portals, with a more futuristic look...
          Someone said, let's go to PMGrid! Where HG Safari has its new sandbox, and where soror Nishi has a sim full of lovely trees. Trees first.
          And then the HG Safari sim, which is just getting started. It's odd how sometimes your hair makes the jump and sometimes it doesn't. All those proxies probably. If you just went back to your home grid each time you jumped, that might fix the situation, but where would be the fun in that? Before long, the high jinx had begun. The T Rex (I call him Harrison) was eating the giraffe, and there was some funny business going on in the Official Landrover. Shocking behavior that is typical of this group. 
Nobody tell Bob.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cornflakes Woodcock

          His name was Ulf, but I don't think too many of us knew that. We knew him as Cornflakes, Corn for short. He had been in SL, and then he found a true home in OSGrid, where he made things, and made visitors welcome not just by giving us a chance to see and own his creations, but with a sandbox where anyone could visit, collect, and build. 
          One look at his things would inspire anyone to create, whether it be your own invention or a little scene put together of Cornflake's creatures.
          In Cornflake's world, impossible creatures sat gleefully beside mischievous rodents and startled hens, jokers and shopping carts and spaceships all came together like items from a giant toybox. The joyfulness of the pieces was undercut by a sense of the absurdity of real life where things go awry and we can't do much about it. 
          There is a chaotic nimble cunning in the colorful vehicles, full of life and movement, with disaster, or victory, just on the cusp of realization. 
          Everything is alive, giggling, letting go, poised for action or quietly plotting. Even the sleepy fishy spaceship hovering above the sand.
          Sadly, about a year ago, Cornflakes died. Many of his friends noted his absence, but thought perhaps, in that way we do in Virtual Worlds, that he had become busy with other things. The news was made public, but it seems that it didn't reach everyone until now.
Dorothea Lundquist: I was today visiting the OSG7B region, I was totally shocked to read that Cornflakes is gone, I really had no idea. Big big shock. He was such a colorful person; he was wonderful, it's so sad. He was a person who can make you smile :))
 One of the last things Corn did inworld was to pass a complete region of his work to his good friend WordfromtheWise. He has set the sim up for anyone to visit, and indeed tributes are showing up all over the place. To find this sim, go to OSGrid, and type Cornflakes into the Map, or visit the OSGrid birthday builds.
Cornflakes sim, OSGrid. Visit soon!
Foxx Bode, one of the first people Cornflakes talked to when he arrived on OSGrid, gave his reaction.
Foxx Bode: Cornflakes was friendly, Mad in a good sense, and insanely creative. He liked to make people laugh and think.  He had more "fans" and friends than he realised I guess, and I'm sure many people will miss him.
Foxx Bode, at the Cornflakes store on Wright Plaza
          Lara Nguya, who has a store close to Cornflake's on Wright Plaza, will miss him too. Virtual Christine, who blogs about her travels in the metaverse here, was another friend. And Hylee Bekker also spent many hours with him; in their final tandem build, they put together a Halloween region. For a short while, Hylee set out tribute museum on her Ptarmigan Sea region, where this photo was taken.
Hylee Bekker at the Cornflakes Museum on Ptarmigan Sea
Lara Nguya: Cornflakes was a truly generous character who gave his time freely to others. His wacky but innovative ways will be remembered.
Cornflake's store is still on Wright Plaza
Virtual Christine: A couple of years ago, when I first came to OpenSim, my new friend Hylee Bekker gave me a landmark to her old friend Cornflakes "mad world" build.I was stunned that such a tremendous artist was just GIVING AWAY all his stuff. We exchanged  some letters when I wrote about him; he was very kind and unpretentious.He said his purpose was to make the world a sillier place. He would have LOVED Hylee's wacky  "Cornflakes has left the building" tribute- it  had me  howling with laughter and crying my eyes out. Humor is the perfect tribute to this wise  and witty clown, and I for one, pledge to be forever silly! So fare thee well gentle Cornflakes, and thanks for all the fish!
Christine at the Cornflakes Museum on Ptarmigan Sea
      The same sentiments from designer Avia Bonne
Avia Bonne: The first time I met Corn, as I use to call him, was at the Sandbox Plaza/Osgrid. I was astonished to see those funny, colourful creations of him and wondered who made them. So I clicked on his prims and just send him a message.
Cornflakes Woodcock: I have no valuable thingys in my inventory, only silly prims :-)
Cornflakes Woodcock: Dam, I need to learn how to create mesh. I could do really weird stuffs if I learned that. I can create better if the limitations of prim was not.
Cornflakes Woodcock: But your right when you say that the challenge is to work with prims. Otherwise I just end up as a 3D creator, and that's to many of them hehe
Avia Bonne: During the conversations we have inworld, we mostly talked about his prims and he had his own special idea about Open Sim as he expressed that in his own way...
Cornflakes Woodcock: Well thanks, I do my best to mess OS grid up with sillyness. Not so fond of Ken and Barbie. They are often not creative ppl, as you can see on their avas Ken always looks like Arnold Sweitzerneger or what the dam his name is :-)
Avia Bonne: lol
Cornflakes Woodcock: And Barbie has missiles for boobs
Avia Bonne: not much ken and barbies among here
Cornflakes Woodcock: True and that's because we have more imagination. Why be realistic in a unrealistic world? :-)
Cornflakes Woodcock: I see that you have multiple creators on your sim and that's nice.
 I started a freebie sim a year ago for several creators
Cornflakes Woodcock: But it turned out bad - To much rubbish. So I decided to do a sim for me alone hehe. It also was timeconsuming talking with creators asking them for their works, time I rather spend on creating thingys. So I shut it down :-)
Avia Bonne: I lost him on the way while being busy helping in other grids, and when I came back he seems to be disappeared. Reading the logfiles with our chats gave me a dark feeling of guilt, I left him alone.
Avia with some of Cornflake's 'silly things'
Cornflakes Woodcock: Well I know who I am anyway. I'm Cornflakes nothing else. I see my self as a cereal hehe...I bet I will taste badly. No laundry done for a while
Avia Bonne: your shopping cart furniture is a very well found idea
Cornflakes Woodcock: Well I can't take all the credit for it. I saw a chair on the net, but the table is my own invention. Sometimes I see something and from that I got a new idea I'm the same as you. All that I want I create :-)
Cornflakes Woodcock: I prefer to call it silly prims.  I am working on my own style, and it includes minimalistic texturing on maxmalistic megaprim use :-) My creations are often heavy prim use. Therefore I love OS grid
Avia Bonne: For me he definitely was Corn in his full being, lonely but interested, but also a very kind man who didn't believe in his own qualities. I hope he has found his peace,
RIP Corn!
          For every person who made a comment in this article, there are dozens and dozens more who liked and admired Cornflakes. I thought he was cool, kind, original; a deep man with important ideas that he found easier to share through shapes and colors rather than through words. A genuine artist. 
           All around the planet there are people who have met Cornflakes and even more people who have seen his not so 'silly' prims, admired them, kept them, displayed them with pride and amusement on their regions, taken photos of them and most of all laughed at his jokes. We are laughing with you still, Cornflakes. You will not be forgotten.