Drax’s Our Digital Selves Documentary is Now Available to Watch on YouTube

Cody and Donna at Linden Lab
Cody Lascala and Donna Davis at Linden Lab headquarters in San Francisco (still from the documentary Out Digital Selves)

Earlier this month, I had written about Draxtor Despres (a.k.a Bernhard Drax) and his documentary on the experiences of people with disabilities in virtual worlds, titled Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me. Drax interviewed 13 people with a variety of disabilities for this film. Among the locations which Drax visited for this documentary were the corporate offices of High Fidelity and Linden Lab (the latter is the company behind the Second Life and Sansar platforms).

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day,  the purpose of which is to is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. So Drac decided to release his documentary today, instead of tomorrow as he had originally intended!

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I was able to watch a preview of this documentary, and I enjoyed it very much! I think you will too.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Best Lucky Chairs for Women’s Fashion and Skins

Cynful 22 May 2018.png
The lucky panels at Cynful

Lucky chairs are a freebie institution in Second Life. How they work is simple: if the first letter of your avatar name starts with the same letter as the one on the lucky chair, you sit down on it and you win the prize pictured! Sometimes instead of a chair, you have a panel that you have to click (as in the image above). They’re not as popular as they used to be in Second Life, but they are still around if you know where to look.

Sometimes you might have to sit and wait a long while for your letter to show up. It goes much faster if there is a crowd present, especially if the word has gotten out that there are new lucky chair/panel prizes to be had! Sitting and waiting for your letter to show up gives you a chance to sort through your inventory or chat with other avatars who are waiting with you.

Here are ten of my favourite lucky chair/panel locations in Second Life for women’s fashion and skins. Please note that the links given below are SLURLs to the exact location of the lucky chair section; in some cases, you might have to follow the red arrow to find the right area of the store if the store owner forces you to arrive at one preset starting point on the sim.

  • 7 Deadly s[K]ins (skins; 4 panels are located in the back of the store on the first floor; 3 require you to join the 7 Deadly s[K]ins group for L$225, while the 4th requires no group)
  • Alien Gizmo’s (clothing; located inside and to the right of the main entrance; join the Alien Gizmo’s group for free to play these five lucky chairs)
  • Belle Epoque (clothing; no group is needed; there are 5 lucky panels on the lawn in front of the store)
  • Caboodle (clothing; you’ll need to join the Caboodle group for L$50 to play the 3 lucky panels here at the back of the store)
  • Cynful (clothing; located on the second floor; join the Cynful group for free to play these three lucky panels)
  • monaLISA (clothing and shoes; no group is needed; these panels are located to the left of the main entrance, next to the group gifts; at least one of them appears to be broken)
  • Oubliette (clothing; located just inside the store to the right; join the Petite Mort & Oubliette VIP group for free to play these four lucky panels)
  • Petite Mort (clothing; located just inside the store to the right; join the Petite Mort & Oubliette VIP group for free to play these four lucky panels)
  • Shoenique Designs (clothing and shoes; located inside the store next to the group gifts; join the Shoenique group for free to play these eight lucky panels)
  • Wow Skins (skins; no group is needed; the lucky chairs and panels are located in the far left wing of the store from the main entrance)
Lucky Chairs at Alien Gizmo's 22 May 2018.png
Lucky chairs at Alien Gizmo’s

What are your favourite lucky chair locations in Second Life? Feel free to leave a comment on this blogpost if you know of one that I’ve missed.

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Virtual Universe: How Good VR Design Helps You Avoid Feeling Queasy

FULL DISCLOSURE: I am choosing to participate in the Virtual Universe (VU) Initial Coin Offering Partner Program. Why? Two reasons:

  1. After my recent guided tour of VU, I feel very strongly that this is going to be a successful and popular virtual world/MMO hybrid platform, and I want to be a part of it when VU launches their beta this summer. This is the very first blockchain-based virtual world that I actually feel excited about!
  2. As a Canadian citizen, I reside in one of the three countries where I am currently legally forbidden from purchasing VU tokens (the other two are the United States and China). This means that the only way I can legitimately earn VU tokens to use in this social VR space before the beta launch is via the VU ICO Partner Program.

I want you to know this up front: this blogpost is a promotion for VU, in exchange for VU tokens.  You can follow on this webpage to see how many VU tokens I have earned by completing tasks in this Partner Program if you wish (right now, I am at number two on the VU Token Leaderboard). There’s nothing stopping you from participating in this Partner Program yourself, and earning some VU tokens!

IMPORTANT: VU Tokens are not a real currency. They are ERC-20 based blockchain tokens intended to permit players of Virtual Universe exclusive access to digital assets within a VR game known as Virtual Universe (VU). They are a form of in-game virtual currency.  Virtual value attributed to the VU Token will be as a result of in-game efforts by players, and no future value is represented or guaranteed.


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Ciaran Foley, the CEO of Ukledo and Immersive Entertainment, Inc. a Southern California virtual reality software company which is developing a new virtual world/MMO hybrid platform called Virtual Universe (VU), has written an interesting article about the various ways which VR software developers can avoid users experiencing motion sickness and nausea while using their programs.

In summary, those five ways are:

  • Using high-quality VR headsets;
  • Developing haptic feedback systems;
  • Developing a “virtual nose”: Researchers at Purdue University have suggested the mere act of including a virtual nose to the VR headset display can significantly reduce the effects of nausea by 13.5% (small but still significant);
  • Keeping things steady by tethering the player to a single spot;
  • Focusing on the environmental design of a VR platform.

Ciaran writes:

There is a slight learning curve to the mechanisms and feel of VR, and it is something that participants of VR will have to have patience with, monitoring their own tolerance, levels of use and ideal comfort settings. Those growing up with VR will adopt it far more easily, much like what we are seeing with Gen-Z having grown up with cell phones. VR has the potential to be just as common as gaming consoles, and people who spend a lot of time around these types of devices will also find it much easier to adapt to VR hardware.

Using what we and the industry as a whole have learned about optimal VR, our VU — Virtual Universe aims to improve on existing models and technologies without detracting from the experience. Instead of restricting core functionality like free movement as in other titles — which can be less immersive and perhaps a bit restrictive — visual tricks will be implemented such as playing with perspectives and field of view to give the environment a smoother feel, improving comfort for the player and helping them keep their lunch in the real world.

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: The Best Six Groups to Join for Freebies

Veteran Second Life freebie shoppers know that many stores have a group gift wall, where (if you join the group indicated) you can pick up a free item! Yes, there are many groups that offer freebies to their members through arrangements made with the various stores in SL.

Here are a couple of examples of group gift walls in stores I visited today. The first is at Suna Designs:

Suna Designs Group Gift Wall 22 May 2018_001.png

And here’s another, this one at Anny’s store:

Anny's Group Gifts Wall 22 May 2018.png

In this example below, if you join the Mesh Avatar Appearance Maniacs (MAAM) group, you get not just one but all six versions of this lovely dress by Asteria:

MAAM Group Gift Asteria 22 May 2018.png

So, what are the best groups to join for freebies?

I’m glad you asked! Here are the top six groups to join:

  1. Fabulously Free in SL: group is free to join; here is a list of gifts you can pick up with that group tag active
  2. Maitreya Gifts, Sales & News: group is free to join; follow their blog to find out what gifts you can get with this group
  3. Mesh Avatar Appearance Maniacs (MAAM): L$50 to join group; here is a list of freebies you can pick up with that group tag active
  4. SL Frees & Offers: group is free to join; here’s their blog
  5. TeleportHub.com: L$10 to join group; here is a list of gifts you can get
  6. THIRD LIFE [Frees, Gifts & Hunts]: L$10 to join group; here is their blog

So join these six groups, check their blogs, and vacuum up some fabulous freebies!

I’ve Been a Very, VERY Bad Girl…

After picking up the various pieces of my free punk rocker outfit at the 7 Seas fishing spot at Sn@tch, I decided to go whole hog, and give Vanity Fair a complete punk makeover, complete with safety pin facial piercings!

Punk 22 May 2018

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You can check out Vanity in action in the following YouTube video. It was fun to do something completely different with this avatar!

Vanity is wearing:

Top: black BPD crop top by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Miniskirt: black BPD ruffled mini by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Thong: freebie lingerie panty (group gift from Addams)

Choker: BPD Choker by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Earrings: Crime and Punishment earrings by Silver Wheel (old Twisted Hunt gift; this store is no longer in Second Life)

Bracelet: Atlantean skull bracelet (7 Seas fishing freebie from the Twisted Hunt Headquarters; I’m not sure whether this is still available or not)

Boots: Sn@tchers combat boots (7 Seas fishing freebie from Sn@tch)

Full Body Tattoo: La Mexicana tattoo by Taox Tattoos

Safety Pin Facial Piercings: Safety Pins by Littlefish

Cigarette with Built-In AO and Smoke: Esther Bento AO from Vista Animations

Vanity Fair is also wearing:

  • the Kimberly Catwa Bento mesh head
  • the Maitreya Lara mesh body
  • Daria skin by The Skinnery
  • Astra hair by Truth (a Valentine’s Day group gift)
  • …and my favourite forest green Darcey eyes by Suicidal Unborn

These pictures and this video were taken at the FMD club in Second Life.

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Alien Gizmo’s

Alien Gizmo’s is another Second Life store that all freebie hunters need to know about. Next to the lucky chairs in the Alien Gizmo’s store are 14 group gift vendor panels:

Alien Gizmo's1 22 May 2018

You’ll need to join the Alien Gizmo’s group to get the group gifts; the group is free to join.

Here’s how to find the free gifts section:

  1. Teleport to the Alien Gizmo’s store using this SLURL
  2. Look for the Teleport sign and click on the sign that says “Alien Gizmo’s”
  3. Walk into the store using the main entrance. The group gift area is to your right

Here’s another freebie hunting tip: Join the Alien Gizmo’s group and watch for regular announcements that they are giving away a L$200 gift card, good for any outfit in their store! Then just come to the sim, click on the panel at this SLURL to pick up your gift card, and head off to do some serious shopping!

Here’s what you do, step by step:

  • Find the gift card in your inventory, right click it, and select Add from the pop-up menu. This will attach it to the bottom right-corner of your screen:

Alien Gizmo's 2 22 May 2018.png

  • Find a vendor for an outfit in the Alien Gizmo’s store. When you have found an outfit you wish to buy using the gift card, simply click the vendor panel. You will get a blue pop-up window in the upper right-hand corner of your screen, just click Ignore to remove it. You will also see a small icon of the outfit you have chosen appearing on your on-screen gift card, as shown by the red arrow below:

Alien Gizmo's 3 22 May 2018.png

  • Click the Buy Now button under the outfit icon on your gift card, and your gift will be delivered to you! You can then detach the gift card.

The Drax Files #182: Our Digital Selves Documentary

On Friday I did something I had never done before—I participated in the taping of Draxtor Despres (a.k. Bernhard Drax in real life)’s regular podcast/broadcast The Drax Files.

I saw Drax posting a link to the private Sansar experience where he records his show on his Slack channel, and I decided to come and crash the party! Drax has asked me several times in the past to take part in his broadcast, but I never could do it before today, because I am at work when he records. On Friday, I was on holidays from my job so I could take part.

Drax Files 1 18 May 2018.png

Among the many people present at Drax’s taping of the episode was the anthropologist Dr. Tom Boellstorff, who conducted the research project that Drax was documenting, as well as the following people who were profiled in the documentary:

  • Cody Lascala
  • Shyla the Super Gecko
  • Jadyn Firehawk
  • iSkye Silverweb
  • Solas  NaGealai
  • Alumnia

Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Sn@tch

One of the best-kept secrets of Second Life freebie shoppers is Sn@tch. The store offers a bunch of fashionable freebies, just head into the main store’s right entrance and turn right…

Sn@tch 1 21 May 2018.png

There are even more freebies at the Sn@tch Outlet store, located to the left of the main store:

Sn@tch 3 21 May 2018.png

And every two weeks, Sn@tch offers a new set of outfits, accessories, shoes and hair at their 7 Seas fishing location right in front of the store. All you need is a 7 Seas fishing road and some patience to pick up some great freebies!

Sn@tch 2 21 May 2018.png

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Today Vanity Fair is wearing:

Top: black BPD crop top by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Miniskirt: black BPD ruffled mini by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Thong: freebie lingerie panty (group gift from Addams)

Choker: BPD Choker by Sn@tch (7 Seas fishing freebie)

Earrings: Crime and Punishment earrings by Silver Wheel (old Twisted Hunt gift; this store is no longer in Second Life)

Bracelet: Atlantean skull bracelet (7 Seas fishing freebie from the Twisted Hunt Headquarters; I’m not sure whether this is still available or not)

Boots: Sn@tchers combat boots (7 Seas fishing freebie from Sn@tch)

Vanity Fair is also wearing:

  • the Kimberly Catwa Bento mesh head
  • the Maitreya Lara mesh body
  • Daria skin by The Skinnery
  • Astra hair by Truth (a Valentine’s Day group gift)
  • …and my favourite forest green Darcey eyes by Suicidal Unborn

So get to Sn@tch and snatch up some goodies for your avatar!