Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: A Fifteen-Minute Elf Angel Makeover for FREE!

OK, here’s another one of my fifteen-minute avatar makeovers. I started off with one of my old alts, named Peace Dove, who is essentially the avatar embodiment of peace. Here’s the “before” shot, taken back in 2012:

Peace Dove 27 Sept 2018

And here are the “after” shots, all taken in the gorgeous fantasy sim called Lost Unicorn. Everything I am wearing I picked up for FREE!

Peace Dove 9 Oct 2018

Peace Dove 4 9 Oct 2018.png

Peace Dove 2 9 Oct 2018.png

Peace Dove 5 9 Oct 2018

Here are all the details on what I am wearing and where/when I got it:

Bento mesh head with animated elf ears and mesh eyes: Jessy 3 head by Safybelle, who you can get for free by earning 30,000 points on her in-store roulette wheel game or piggie sploder (scroll down to the very end of this blogpost to get more information). Seriously, this beautiful head is one of best-kept freebie secrets in Second Life!

Bento mesh body and hands AO: the Jenny Altamura mesh avatar head and body from the Freebie Megastore at London City (free; one skin tone; has Bento hands and head; more information here); you can remove the head and replace it with any other head, only if you got the freebie Jenny body from last year’s Women Only Hunt; however, you cannot remove the head on the version you can pick up now at the London City Freebie Megastore!

Body AO: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. Perfect for an angel wearing a ballgown!

Bento animated wings: angel wings by Blueberry (I picked these up for free using the discount vendor and the generous L$500 gift card offered by Blueberry at the Second Life 15th Anniversary Shopping Event)

Gown: Nadia ballgown in white from Hilly Haalan (free group gift; group is free to join)

Shoes (not shown): White flats by Garbaggio (part of the free sample pack for Slink feet; available on the SL Marketplace). Altamura mesh avatar bodies have Slink-compatible feet.

Jewelry: Daphne collar and bracelet by Beloved Jewelry (two free hunt items from the September Free Dove mini-hunt at the Beloved Jewelry mainstore). The included HUD gives a choice of 12 different metals and 33 different gemstones, so you can match any outfit!

Hair (the only thing I kept from the original avatar): Say 2 hair in white by elikatira (this was a freebie I picked up years ago, way back in the pre-mesh hair days, and I’m not sure it’s still available; I checked and it’s not on the SL Marketplace)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: FREE!

UPDATED: Google Is Finally Yanking the Plug on the Failed Google+ Social Network

google+

Google’s failed experiment to create a social network to compete with the 800-lb. gorilla Facebook is over. Today the company announced that they are shutting down Google+:

Google+, a social network that we can certainly say existed and not much more, is slated for a long-overdue trip down the memory hole.

A ten-month sunsetting period was announced in a Google blog post today about increased security efforts, dubbed Project Strobe, which found a bug in Google+ that could have leaked some personal information users posted to their profiles, though according to Strobe’s analysis no one else was aware of or took advantage of the vulnerability.

That may have something to do with Google+’s relative obscurity as an online social destination. Despite integration with the company’s other, hugely successful products like Gmail, Blogger, and YouTube, Google admits usage is negligible. In the company’s own words, “90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds.”

Given the potential for abuse, and the fact that almost no one is using Google+, Alphabet opted to take the path of least resistance and yank the doddering network off life support. Users (whoever they might be) have had plenty of time to download and migrate their data before the platform’s final days arrive in August of next year.

According to an article in The New York Times:

Google said it would shut down Google Plus, the company’s floundering answer to Facebook, after it discovered a security vulnerability that exposed the private data of up to 500,000 users of the service.

When the company’s technical staff discovered the bug in March, they decided against disclosing the issue to users because they hadn’t found anyone that had been affected, the company said in a blog post on Monday.

That decision could run afoul of relatively new rules in California and Europe governing when a company must disclose a security incident. In the blog post, Google said its “Privacy & Data Protection Office” decided the company was not required to report the security issue.

The incident could face additional scrutiny because of a memo to senior executives reportedly prepared by Google’s policy and legal teams that warned of embarrassment for Google — similar to what happened to Facebook earlier this year — if it went public with the vulnerability.

The memo, according to The Wall Street Journal, warned that disclosing the problem would invite regulatory scrutiny and that Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, would likely be called to testify in front of Congress.

I actually will be rather sorry to see Google+ go, but I can certainly understand the decision. Nothing can compare to the initial excitement when the social network launched, but the feeling of euphoria didn’t last very long. As I have written:

…I joined Google+ when it launched in the summer of 2011, and I immediately began having real conversations with people instead of avatars [on Second Life], participating in face-to-face in hangouts, and posting items that people enjoyed and thanked me for writing. That first year was a heady and exhilarating time, hard to describe to someone who wasn’t there.

But after that first year, things went rapidly downhill and usage dropped off precipitously. Hangouts, which were great fun and a novelty at first, did not catch on the way that Google obviously hoped they would. Eventually, Google+ became a virtual ghost town.

Now I’m going to have to sit down and figure out exactly how to back up all my Google+ posts (over 18,000 of them!). I don’t want to lose them. I guess I’d better figure out how to use Google Takeout to save my stuff…

delete_google_account_banner

One group that will be hard hit by this decision is the Opensim Virtual community, which has been a primary source of information on OpenSim developments for years now. Perhaps Talla Adam will move the group over to Facebook, where any number of Second Life related groups seem to be doing well.

UPDATE Oct. 9th: Lauren Weinstein has written a must-read editorial on Google (the company) in general and Google+ (the platform) in particular on his blog: The Death of Google.

And a petition to save Google+ has already gathered over 10,000 signatures over on Change.org, but I personally don’t think it’s going to make Google change their mind:

Petition

Mike Elgan, who was a passionate user of Google+, writes:

Remember Yahoo? Twenty years ago, Yahoo.com got more traffic than any site on the internet. But it failed to evolve.

In place of evolution or innovation, Yahoo simply started buying everything with the intention of integrating it. But it was unable to integrate anything in a compelling way.

Eventually, Yahoo simply became the company that closed things. It quickly became clear that nobody should invest any time, energy or money into supporting or using Yahoo because whatever product you invested in would likely be shut down, killed off, closed for business.

Now, Google is the new Yahoo.

Google is the company that kills its own products.

Google’s M.O. is to launch some new product or service with great fanfare, convince it’s loyal fans to go all-in, allow those fans to devote countless hours with the product, then kill the product and leave the devoted fans with nothing.

They did it with Reader, Inbox, Answers, Lively, Glass, Orkut, Buzz, Wave, Nexus Q, Dodgeball and many others.

The closure of Google+ is the biggest slap in the face ever, by far.

Google told us Google+ was the future of Google. So we jumped in and engaged. Personally, I’ve spent thousands of hours lovely crafting publication-quality opinion pieces. This is what I do for a living, and I gave my time and labor over to Google+ for free.

Now, Google is going to flush all my work down the toilet.

Yours, too.

Google has been working hard for years to push away its most loyal fans. Now, Google is going even further.

In fact, the killing of Google+ is a perfect storm of Google’s vision vacuum. It’s driven by their antipathy toward passionate users, and also their failure to understand the human element generally.

Google has failed utterly with every social network they’ve ever launched, and the reason is that, culturally, Google simply can’t understand human beings.

I recently got rid of my MacBook Pro and bought a high-end Pixelbook. And I was leaning toward buying a Pixel 3. But now I’m off the fence. I’ll be buying iPhones from now on.

And I can’t even imagine what will happen when Google decides to kill Google Photos.

Google simply can’t be trusted.

Google is the new Yahoo, the company that kills its own products.

Which Google product is next?

UPDATED: High Fidelity Sets Another Avatar Region Capacity Record: 426 Avatars!

Yesterday, High Fidelity had another one of their monthly stress tests of the platform. (They moved it to a Saturday to encourage more people to show up.)

They were able to bring together 426 avatars in a single domain (The Spot). They also had a Best Avatar Contest, and here is a picture of the contest entries:

HiFi Custom Avatar Contest 7 Oct 2018

Here’s a snapshot from High Fidelity, showing CEO Philip Rosedale addressing the crowd:

HiFi Load Test 7 Oct 2018.PNG

Frankly, I am having a bad weekend. The urologist has put me on a heavy-duty course of industrial-strength antibiotics post-surgery, and it is wreaking havoc with my body.

But I’m glad I did pop in just to experience the madness. I’m still really impressed at how well the High Fidelity platform can stand up to the stress of over 400 avatars in a single domain! Congratulations to Philip and his team.

UPDATE Oct. 9th: Here’s a one-and-a-half-hour video of the event, which gives a good sense of what an event with over 400 avatars present looks and feels like! If you don’t watch the whole thing, be sure to skip ahead to the 42:20 minute mark, where you can see the Ganesha blue elephant god avatar, which was my personal favourite of all the contest entries and the grand prize winner! The Ganesha avatar took two weeks of work in Maya and Substance Painter to create, and it features extremely well-done rigging, including flapping elephant ears and trunk movement!

Staramba Spaces Launches Their Shop: Act Now, There’s Only 412 Coveted Spaces Next to Paris Hilton!

Staramba Store 6 Oct 2018.png

Staramba Spaces (you remember, the social VR space/virtual world with links to celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan) has launched their online shop, where you can buy… well, not much, yet. All they offer for sale right now are “bidding rights” for various sectors:

  • Celebrity Sector
  • Soccer Sector
  • Tennis Sector
  • Hulk Hogan Sector
  • Paris Hilton Sector

They explain, in the product description of the Paris Hilton Sector:

Plot Bidding Right for the Paris Hilton Sector. This early access Bidding Right enables you to bid for your own real estate plot in the Paris Hilton Sector of the celebrity cluster Primus of STARAMBA.spaces. You will have the opportunity to participate via your Staramba Tokens in the non-public Investor Phase (starting in November 2018) before any public bidding begins.

Be the first!

Bid for a real estate plot with your Staramba Tokens before the public bidding begins.

Next to YOUR star!

The plots will be in Paris Hilton Sector in the celebrity cluster Primus on our first planet, Pasyra.

Here’s a picture of what the planet Pasyra will look like, with the location of the Paris Hilton sector:

Planet Pasyra 6 Oct 2018.png

I note with amusement that these “bidding rights” are limited to one per buyer, and there are “only 412 left in stock”:

Paris HIlton Sector 6 Oct 2018.png

I’ve been trying to figure out what the bidding cost (25 STT, or Staramba tokens) works out to in US dollars, but I haven’t had much luck in finding a website that will do the conversion for me. All I can find is this rather long-winded Medium post explaining the projected lifecycle of Staramba tokens, with the following less-than-helpful timeline:

Staramba1.png

Now, I also follow the chatter on the Staramba Telegram discussion forums, where someone posted the following information:

After the ITO: restricted trade and trade of STT

In November a restricted trade will be possible depending on regulations. This trade is only possible inside the Leondrino Wallet. It is most likely, that initially trade restrictions must be followed: on a daily, monthly and yearly basis as well as per transaction. These specifications are imposed on us by the competent authority in Germany. This means that the STARAMBA.Tokens can be offered and bought once. The price can be made by the seller or the buyer but cannot be lower than 0.25 USD per STT, which was the last price during the ITO. As soon as the STARAMBA.Tokens changed the owner or wallet, the new owner cannot resell those tokens until token class A was reached.

But you can still use them to buy services and products in the STARAMBA.spaces shop.

Tokens which were not sold during the ITO will be offered by Staramba as sell orders (instant exchange) for 1.00 USD per STT, as this is the value per STT reflected in the shop offers, to give all interested parties the possibility to fill up their STT account and afford desired products and services in the STARAMBA.spaces shop.

The token class B will be the next step and an “advanced” restricted trade will be possible.

At this time trading on other exchanges (selection process has already started) will be possible. Furthermore, the possible limits defined for the restricted trade might be loosened.

That means that today, no exact date can be provided when token classes B and later A will be reached. Every step is made due to all regulations and has to be approved by the regulator in advance.

The aim is to have the STT listed on exchanges that meet all regulations. Therefore, we are in close contact with the regulator to get information about which licenses are needed. At the moment, there is no final decision on regulations regarding trading tokens on exchanges from the side of the Financial Supervisory Authority, but we know that they are setting them up and we are in close contact with them to meet all requirements with the highest precision.

Depending on the time it takes until regulations are defined, we cannot tell you when the STARAMBA.Token will be available on exchanges or which exchanges are approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority.

Our goal is to get the STT listed on established exchanges as soon as the applicable regulations are in place and to make the STT as liquid as possible by October 2019. Nevertheless, our product development team of more than 70 people is working on STARAMBA.spaces and the whole company with more than 100 employees is doing its best to have a successful STARAMBA.Token.

If you should have any further requests regarding regulations or trading of the STARAMBA.Token feel free to contact us and we try to answer all questions as good as we can in the next newsletter.

So, you got all that straight? You basically need a Ph.D. in crypto to figure this thing out.

And for what?!?? A coveted space next to Paris Hilton or Hulk Hogan?? Or rather, a possibly-animated “lifelike scan” or “lifelike 3D avatar” of Paris Hilton, or Hulk Hogan, or some soccer star, or Gene Simmons from KISS?

KISS 6 Oct 2018
Image from the Staramba website

I’m sorry, but this simply makes no sense to me at all. Caveat emptor!