The 13th Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference Will Take Place in Second Life from March 26th to 28th, 2020

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…”  If you are looking for my blogposts about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, please click here. I have returned to the original purpose of this blog—covering “news and views on social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse”.

The long-running Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference will take place in the virtual world of Second Life from March 26th to 28th, 2020. (Last year, over 1,000 people from 30 countries attended the 2019 VWBPE conference.)

The keynote speakers are (thanks to Inara Pey for the details!):

  • Thursday, March 26th – Dr. L. Robert Furman: Dr. Furman is an educator, leader, scholar, speaker and author; he is also a contributing Educational blogger for The Huffington Post as well as Ed Tech Review. 
  • Friday, March 27th – Dr. Michael Thomas: a Professor of Education and a Principal Fellow of the HEA, with a focus on digital learning, social justice, social mobility and the student experience. The title of Dr. Thomas’ keynote is Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda.
  • Saturday, March 28th – Lorelle VanFossen and Daniel Dyboski-Bryant : Lorelle and Daniel will share their experience creating and running the first-ever Educators in VR 2020 International Summit, which was a resounding success with 160 speakers over six days on five different social VR platforms, and a model for future virtual conferences. The title of Lorelle and Daniel’s keynote is Lessons Learned from the 2020 Educators in VR Conference.
Lorelle VanFossen and Daniel Dyboski-Bryant, Educators in VR

Here is the complete conference program. If you are interested, you can view previous years’ VWBPE conference sessions on YouTube.

See you there!

How I Will Be Keeping Busy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

So (you might be wondering), how will I keep myself occupied during the coronavirus pandemic?

So glad you asked 😉

I have prepared for a pandemic as best I could. I have stocked up on food and toiletries, soap and hand sanitizer, and I have three months’ worth of all my prescriptions, plus a supply of over-the-counter medications.

I only expect to have to leave my apartment for appointments with my psychiatrist over the next few weeks (and perhaps the occasional visit to my mother and stepfather for supper, and to my best friend John’s house). There will be no other outings unless I have a damn good reason!

As you might already know, I have received permission from my employer, the University of Manitoba Libraries, to work from home, starting on Monday, March 16th. I do expect that, during my regular workday hours, I will be taking many shifts at my university library’s virtual reference service, answering users’ questions via live chat. We still don’t know how a pandemic will impact the usage of that service.

I have actually been manning our virtual reference service all day today (Sunday, March 15th), just to get a better sense of how busy we will be at off-hours (so far, three questions since 7:00 a.m. this morning). As a hermit who already lives on the internet, I do assure you this is hardly a additional burden. 😉  I also will be keeping a window open to my work email, which will be the primary way I communicate with my coworkers (along with my personal cell phone).

The many evenings that I used to spend hanging out in the chat rooms at the now-folded site—often having as many as four conversations at once—have thoroughly trained me for this work! 😉 and trust me, I am quite fast on the keyboard.

Of course, I will still be blogging my little heart out, sprinkling my coverage of social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, with blogposts about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 (you can find all of them here).

As well, I have received all the raw footage from the unfinished episodes of the Metaverse Newscast, and I intend to use that footage to learn how to edit digital video using Adobe Premiere Pro and! I’ve got a lot to learn.

As somebody who regularly went out to restaurants to eat, I now intend to try my hand at a little more more cooking and baking, having stocked up on the basic ingredients. I have stocked up on flour, sugar, and yeast, and I intend to try and bake my first bread, since I will probably run out of fresh bread fairly quickly! (Wish me luck.)

I also have tons of books I have bought over the years and never got around to reading. The Japanese actually have a word for this: tsundoku (積ん読).

In addition, I intend to convert my stationary exercise cycle from its current use as a glorified clothes hanger, dragging it from my bedroom to the living room and setting it up in front of my television set, so I can exercise while I follow the news channels (CNN, CBC, and CTV).

Also, I am an infamously relaxed housekeeper (“slob” is such an ugly word)…so I have stocked up cleaning supplies and I intend to thoroughly clean my apartment! It’s way, way, waaay overdue!

This may or may not be an actual picture of my apartment… 😉
(image by levelord from Pixabay)

So, as you can see, I have lots to keep me occupied.

How about you? What will you be doing as you practice social distancing, and stay at home rather than go out? Please feel free to leave a comment on this blogpost, thanks!

I leave you with this thought-provoking YouTube video—quarantined Italians sending messages to themselves ten days ago:

We must all listen to these Italians. STAY HOME IF YOU CAN.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Impact Supplies of Virtual Reality Headsets

If you are looking for my blogposts about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, please click here

The virtual reality news website UploadVR has reported:

Valve warned us that supplies for its Index VR headset would be limited when it went back up on sale this week. And it wasn’t kidding.

Within less than an hour of going back online, the full Index kit is backed up to shipping after eight weeks. In fact, people on Twitter report that that was the case around 30 minutes in to them going back on sale. Some users also had trouble completing their orders, which may have lost them an early unit. The headset on its own ships between eight to ten weeks and Index controllers are scheduled between three to five weeks. Base stations by themselves are totally sold out, too.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S also remain heavily backordered. In quite an unprecedented situation for VR, it’s now practically impossible to buy an Oculus or Valve VR headset through an official online retailer…

Basically, if you are waiting to purchase an Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, or Valve Index, you’re going to be waiting for several more months. The only VR headset that has not been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic is the HTC Vive, which is manufactured in Taiwan. In fact, this global public health crisis might actually lead to more business for HTC.

HTC Vive Logo

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Atenea Female Mesh Body from LUCYBODY

We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming…”  If you are looking for my blogposts about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, please click here. I have returned to the original purpose of this blog—covering “news and views on social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse”.

Back in 2018, LUCYBODY offered a Midnight Madness prize of a female mesh body called Afrodite. Well, they have now decided to do it again! This time, you can get the Atenea mesh female body as your gift.

Just teleport into the LUCYBODY store (here’s the exact SLURL) and hit the Midnight Madness board here (this time around, you don’t even need to join their store group!):

The same as last time, instead of locking down for the day when the Midnight Madness board reaches its target, it just resets the counter for the next group! (The prize is not delivered until midnight SLT, though, so you will have to be patient and wait until tomorrow to receive it.)

In the pictures below, I have paired the Atenea body by LUCYBODY with the free Maya static (non-Bento) mesh head available from the gift room at Altamura. The pink minidress shown comes in the package with the Atenea mesh body!

Here’s what the HUD that comes with the Atenea body looks like:

As you can see, you have a good selection of alpha cuts available, so you can wear just about anything with this body and make it work. You can choose from 14 different base skin tones, which you can further adjust with 16 different skin tints, which gives you a staggering 224 possible skin colours! Under the Nails tab, you can select from 24 different nail colours and patterns, and seven different nail lengths. The feet are Slink-compatible and come in three heights: high, mid, and flat (here I am wearing the Sonnet suede pumps, a free group gift from Hilly Haalan). The hands work with Bento animations.

This is a wonderful, fully-featured, fully-adjustable Bento female mesh body that compares quite favourably to brand names that cost thousands of Linden dollars, for free! So head on down to LUCYBODY to hit their Midnight Madness board, and wait until after midnight Second Life Time to receive this lovely Atenea body as a gift.

I will be adding this as one of the many options in my popular, constantly-updated list of free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female avatars.