I am the founder of the virtual civilization Second Life, populated by one million active users, and am now CEO and co-founder of High Fidelity — which has just released a real-time spatial audio API for apps, games, and websites. If you want to check it out, I’d love to hear what you think: highfidelity.com/api
High Fidelity’s Spatial Audio was initially built for our VR platform — we have been obsessive about audio quality from day one, spending our resources lowering latency and nailing spatialization.
Ask me about immersive spatial audio, VR, virtual worlds and spaces, avatars, and … anything.
During the brutal combination of a bitterly cold winter and a code-red, province-wide pandemic lockdown, I have been steadily working with my lawyer (mostly via email), who is drafting my will, power of attorney and healthcare directive documents. Over the past 26 months, I have slowly been in contact with a number of people who have expressed an interest in inheriting one of my Second Life avatars.
A bit of background is probably necessary to provides a little context. In July of 2019, I wrote on this blog about an undertaking that sprang from a recent bladder cancer scare (which thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm):
I am still working on which Second Life avatars I will leave to other people in the event of my untimely death, via my will. You can read the entire saga here, here, here, here, and here on my blog to see how this quest got started! I know it might sound really silly to some of you, but I consider them perfectly valid possessions, and it would please me greatly to know they will still be providing entertainment and enjoyment to others after I am gone. (If you’re interested in inheriting one of my avatars via my will, please contact me and we’ll talk. I still have a selection for you to choose from!)
That blogpost was followed up with an updated list of available avatars in November 2020, which led to a few more people coming forward, asking to inherit one of my avatars. Now, as my lawyer and I draw up the final version of my will, it’s time for one last call. (Speak now, or forever hold your peace…)
At the time of this writing, I have 23 Second Life avatars whom I am planning to leave to 18 different people (some have requested more than one, which I was happy to oblige). So, my next step is to re-contact all those people, to get a legal, real-life name for my will, if I don’t already have one, and a reliable means of contact (a telephone number or email address, preferably both). All the information about who inherits what avatar will form an attachment to my will, and will be kept private. The only people who will see this information will be my lawyer, and the executor of my estate, and perhaps one or two other key people who will take care of the administrative details after my passing, contacting people and giving out the usernames and passwords of the SL accounts.
I should hasten to assure you that I am only 57 years old, and I have every intention of living at least another quarter century! I may even outlive Second Life itself, which would make all this work superfluous! However, given my underlying health conditions, which put me at risk of a severe, possibly even fatal, response to an infection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, I feel that I have to cover all the bases here. I hope you understand! Don’t worry about me! I am taking care of myself.
If you are interested in inheriting one of my small army of alts, attached is the current list of who is available, updated as of today.
Almost all the male avatars have a similar bounty in their inventories, including the free group gift Bento mesh heads from Akeruka (Aron, Keiji, Leon, Clay, and the M02 model), the recent Chase head from LOGO, and the recent free group gift of the handsome Alain head by LeLutka! They also have all six free Altamura mesh avatars (Robert, both versions of Max, Tommy, Aaron and the full-version Romeo body), the dollarbie Classic body by Meshbody, and the Rick and David mesh bodies from ALANTORI. All male avatars also have a complete set of the freebies from Kauna men’s clothing and the free men’s clothing from Fitch for the brands of mesh bodies they own. Again, you’ll be able to hit the ground running!
All the avatars in the following list which are marked “unisex” have both the male and female mesh avatar heads and bodies listed above.
Most of these avatars were created before Linden Lab retired last names for avatar accounts (although there are three that have just the name given, plus Resident as a last name: MissDrag, OrangeCheeto, and PlayboyCenterfold). In some cases, you might want to ask for an avatar because the legacy first name-last name combination appeals to you, or tickles your funny bone (e.g. Coupon Clip).
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are interested in inheriting one of these Second Life avatars, please contact me via email at ryanschultz [at] Gmail [dot] com (or via the Contact page on this blog). You can also approach me and talk to me in-world in Second Life (my main avatar is named Vanity Fair, whom I am leaving to Strawberry Linden via my will). The best way to contact me is to ping me on one of the many community forums or Discord channels for the various virtual worlds, of which I am a member. I am almost always on Discord!
I will need your legal (real life) name for my will, and a reliable means of contact (telephone number preferred; email address is acceptable). I will be in touch with you (via email, Second Life IMs, or Discord chat), just to touch base, and I alone will make the final decision as to whether or not to let you inherit one of my avatars, and which one(s).
UPDATE Feb. 24th, 2021: I have had a number of people already contact me about the possibility of inheriting some of these avatars via my will. As I meet with people and accept their requests, I will be adding a note to their profiles on this list below, that they are no longer available to be bequeathed.
2My Fairlady: a female avatar, originally created just so I could have her sit on Lucky Chairs and slap Lucky Boards when they displayed “0-9” 😉
Alexandra McKenzie (originally created a female Scottish pirate for historical roleplay, and still a pirate to this day)
Artist Scientist (unisex avatar; can be either male or female)
Autumn Winter (originally created as the avatar embodiment of Autumn, now a generic female avatar; owns a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Beau Coeur (a male avatar)
Betsy Blitz (a female 1950s/1960s historical roleplay avatar)
Chi Mai (a Chinese empress)
Coffee Philter (unisex avatar; either male or female; owns a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Coupon Clip: one of my absolutely favourite avatars, in whom I have invested a lot of time and energy over the years, and therefore I am going to be very, very picky who gets this one in my will. Coupon is currently a 1950s-styled dancer for tips at various bars (no, she doesn’t escort; after all, a girl has rules 😉 ); Coupon usually is wearing her signature 1950 bouffant hairdo, Akeruka Maia mesh head, and Belleza Freya mesh body as pictured below; this avatar has also has also played Alice in Wonderland, Mother Nature, and over time, she has became my avatar embodiment of Winter/Christmas, with lots of snowy/winter/white/ice blue outfits, both mesh and pre-mesh! UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Diana Huntress (a female avatar, originally created as a medieval archer)
Easton Weston: Piggu Jonathan fat man avatar with a Fat Boy AO by Voir, who plays Santa Claus every Christmastime; more information here; Easton also has the Piggu Jamie fat boy avatar, who is essentially styled to look like me in childhood (I was always a chubby kid)
Elvis Popstar: an Elvis Presley look-alike classic avatar, complete with white jumpsuit, microphone and wearable spotlights! I am actually rather surprised that nobody seems to want an Elvis avatar…think of the fun you could have, wandering the grid, looking for Priscilla and peanut butter and banana sandwiches!
Eve December (a female avatar, originally created as a Cabaret singer/Liza Minnelli look-alike, but now she’s just a generic female avatar)
Evil GossipGirl: a female devil 😉
Fairy Queen (a female fairy with a large inventory of wings and wands!)
Fidelity Constantine (a young Victorian woman) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Fire Bird (a unisex avatar, either female or male, whose avatar originally was a freebie Firestorm phoenix I picked up several years ago!)
Fortune Telling (a fortune-telling female gypsy, complete with crystal ball!)
Happy Delight (a unisex avatar, either male or female, usually female, who currently sports a Kalhene Anya Maitreya Lara-compatible mesh body)
Hearts Delight (a 1960s hippie chick, whom I trot out to the BURN2 festivities in Second Life every year!)
Heilige Nacht (a Seawolf fire-breathing dragon avatar!) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
Joy Delight (a female avatar)
Layne Carpool: (get it? “carpool lane”?) a generic female avatar
Ledba Loon (get it? “lead balloon”? This was the very first female avatar I ever created, so her inventory goes way, waaay back in time. Today she usually wears the Piggu June fat girl mesh body, which I recently updated to version 2.0, along with a set of full-perms clothing to fit it; Ledba is also my witch avatar at Hallowe’en, who has in her inventory all my assorted witch outfits, brooms, skins, etc.)
Lily Pond (a female avatar, whom I have recently upgraded to a Legacy mesh body) UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
MARlLYN Monroe: Marilyn Monroe look-alike classic avatar, with a lowercase-L instead of an I in the first name; her nametag looks like “MARILYN Monroe” in-world. I’m actually kind of surprised nobody has snapped her up yet!
Mason Carver: a male avatar, Mason—very fittingly—is currently a grey-and-blue stone god with an outfit and skin I won at Fallen Gods, Inc. in a fortune-telling game.
Maya Sass (an Indian/Indo-Canadian female avatar who has my entire collection of saris; more information here)
Moesha Heartsong: my beloved female Black/Afro-Canadian avatar UPDATE Feb. 24th: Someone has asked to inherit this avatar via my will, and I have agreed.
MissDrag (my drag queen avatar, who owns various male and female heads and bodies, plus the Alexa transgender mesh avatar body from Kalhene; you can see her many different looks here, here, and here)
Notecard Writer (my professional librarian avatar, male, currently masquerading as an angel)
Oceana Waters (my female mermaid avatar; has a complete collection of mermaid outfits and AOs; more information here)
Schnitzel Wiener: originally a male avatar wearing German lederhosen and hoisting a beerstein; now another one of my generic male avatars:
Silver Quick (originally created as an male elf or troll; now unisex, either male and female)
Sim Hopper (another unisex avatar, either male or female; usually a male hiker with a random teleport backpack; formerly a female classic superhero avatar)
SisterMary Blister: a stern-looking Catholic nun who comes with an Abranimations HUD to rezz a flock of penguins to follow her around; more information here
Sitcom Writer (a unisex avatar, but almost always presents as a well-toned, butch lesbian, with a DEV mesh head and body; picture the Linda Hamilton character in the Terminator movies, and that’s pretty much her! Sometimes, she even totes an automatic rifle around…)
Sternen Nacht (a male wizard, either from Harry Potter or perhaps Lord of the Rings)
Summer Fall (a female avatar; she usually wears the freebie Giselle mesh head and Jenny mesh body from Altamura which I picked up several years ago)
That Guy (“Yes, I’m that guy.”; a male avatar who usually wears a combination of the Akeruka Aron mesh head and the dollarbie version of the Classic male avatar mesh body, with a complete set of all the clothing hat The Mesh Project used to sell for that body, when it was free to pick up for a short time before they shut that store down)
Treehugger Cliffhanger (unisex; either male or female)
Valentina VonBaum (a redhead female avatar, who was originally created as the avatar embodiment of Valentine’s Day)
War Hawk (a male warrior; Roman gladiator and the avatar embodiment of war; he has an Aesthetic mesh bodybuilder body and a number of shields and weapons)
Woofie Roffo (wolf; TWI Timber Wolf avatar)
Yvonne Leblanc (a female *DOLLCOCO* ball-joined doll by Coco Designs)
So, if you’re at all interested, contact me and we’ll talk! As I have said before, it would give me the greatest of pleasure to know that the avatars I have created and styled over many years as a pleasurable hobby, would have a life after I shuffle off this mortal coil!
Well, it finally happened: I caved, and I joined Clubhouse. (God help us all.)
If you know nothing else about me, know this: I have been a lifelong tire-kicker of social networks of all kinds over the years, starting with Friendster and MySpace (I wrote about my many misadventures with Friendster here and here). I was an early adopter of Facebook and countless other social networks (remember Tribe? Hi5? Orkut?!?? Trust, Auntie Ryan was on them all, sweetheart). I was an early adopter of Flickr way, waaay back, when they were still a tiny Vancouver startup. And I was also a part of the whole wild, crazy Google+ rollercoaster saga, from beginning to bitter end.
So this is not my first time at the rodeo! Far from it. If my past experience with Friendster, Flickr, Facebook and its ilk repeats itself, I am in for a head-first, deep dive into Clubhouse! (I may not resurface for weeks, people. Google+ basically took over my life for months in 2011.)
Be afraid…BE. VERY. AFRAID.
I have lived and learned, made many mistakes (which I hope I will not repeat this time around), and basically, I have become rather bitter, cynical and jaded about it all. 😉
What had seemed like such good, clean, harmless fun back in those halcyon MySpace, Friendster, and Orkut days has turned into something more suspect, more sinister, more polarizing and divisive, and more weaponized (and yes, I do think I have some form of Facebook PTSD, which tends to colour my perspective).
Therefore, I am now much more reserved and cautious when it comes to new social networks and social media platforms. In fact, at the very end of January, when there was such a big fuss on Twitter about Elon Musk hosting a room in Clubhouse, I tweeted:
I am following all the chatter on Twitter about Elon Musk and Clubhouse, and half of me is feeling FOMO, and the other half is thinking: do I *really* want to join yet another social network that is going to get worse the more it opens up from its exclusive, invite-only phase?
However, when an acquaintance on Twitter posted about a new virtual worlds discussion group starting up in Clubhouse tomorrow night, I was in like a dirty shirt! (Thanks to Shawn Whiting for creating this new group, and thank you to the kind person who shared one of her precious Clubhouse invites with me. so I could take part!)
So, yes, I am excited, but I am also cautious and wary (and no, please do not ask me for an invitation to join; I only have two and I am saving mine for a few, select people whom I already have in mind). Half of me feels like one of the cool kids, and the other half thinks I have drunk the Kool-Aid. So we’ll see how this all turns out. The sentiment I expressed in my tweet above still holds as true as when I wrote it.
Clubhouse, which is still in beta and isn’t yet available to the public, was founded by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth. It’s an audio-based social platform. You can enter rooms (or create a room) and hear or participate in discussions on topics: how to pitch your startup idea, the future of marriage, whether Clubhouse is getting boring. Rooms generally have speakers, the way conference panels do, and moderators. The conversation is in real time, meaning you can hear folks throwing in their opinions about the subject at hand, and you can raise your hand to toss in yours as well.
“Imagine if you were in class with everybody in the world,” said Natasha Scruggs, an attorney from Kansas City, Missouri, who’s been on the app for a couple of weeks.
Clubhouse is the latest manifestation of our desire to connect to each other at a time when social distancing and remaining isolated at home is the new norm. But while videoconferencing services like Zoom have blown up for everyone, Clubhouse’s largest appeal is its exclusivity and its ability to draw in notable figures including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Officially launched less than a year ago, in April 2020, Clubhouse has racked up some truly impressive user growth statistics (source):
May 2020: 1,500 users
December 2020: 600,000 users
January 2021: 2 million users
February 2021: 6 million users
In fact, Clubhouse is currently valued at one billion U.S. dollars (up from $100 million in May 2020), making it a unicorn along with the likes of Uber and Facebook (yes, Mark Zuckerberg is a user, too, and yes, I’m sure that the breakout success of Clubhouse is giving him some sleepless nights).
So, like I said, we’ll see. I hope that I will be able to use Clubhouse to interact more easily with the many wonderful and talented people who work and play in social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse, in much the same way as I do on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server.