I have been tearing my hair out since last night, when I noticed that my blog, which normally looks like this:
Suddenly started looking like this, with all the fonts wrong:
Now, I am very picky about my blog, and this is the kind of thing that drives me crazy! I spent half an hour in live text chat with a WordPress support person early this morning, and it turns out that I had to turn off two plug-ins I regularly use with Firefox, Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin (which I use to block trackers on most websites as I surf the web).
Privacy Badger is a program from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). It’s a browser extension which stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. uBlock Origin is an excellent, free-and-open-source (FOSS) ad content blocker, available for several of the most widely used browsers, including: Chrome, Chromium, MS Edge, Opera, Firefox and all Safari releases prior to 13. I can recommend both programs highly, but I sometimes run in trouble (like I did yesterday evening and this morning), when something stops working or doesn’t work properly, and I forget to check to see if either Privacy Badger or uBlock Origin is the source of the problem.
So, if you are visiting my blog, and it looks like the second picture instead of the first, try turning off uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger (or both) if you have them installed. (There are other ad blocker plug-ins like Adblock Plus, which might cause the same problem. I no longer use Adblock Plus, because I find uBlock Origin to be superior in every way.)
I will be taking some research days (mostly, successive Mondays) from my regular job as a university librarian to devote to these projects. It will likely take me the rest of this winter and probably well into spring to do this work. Thank you for your patience as I head out to herd cats!
When I started this blog in July of 2017, I had never intended to become a Second Life blogger. There were hundreds of other bloggers out there who were doing a far better job than I could of covering Second Life, and they still are! Throw in the Facebook groups, Discord servers, and YouTube channels, and you have a thriving commentary community on the vibrant ecosystem that is Second Life.
The original purpose of my blog was to write about Linden Lab’s foray into social VR, Sansar. I had been fortunate enough to get into the closed beta test of Sansar in January of 2017, an event which prompted the purchase of my first virtual reality headset, and I timed the launch of what was then called The Sansar Newsblog to coincide with the official opening of Sansar to the general public, on July 31st, 2017.
But my abiding passion for all things metaverse was born on March 20th, 2007, when I set up my first Second Life avatar, Heath Homewood. I often joke that I got my Ph.D. In the Metaverse from nearly 16 years of study at the University of Second Life! And I still believe that SL is the perfect, fully mature model of a metaverse, which newer social VR companies would be wise to study, learn from, and emulate.
I started writing about Second Life because I wanted to share my bounty of tips and tricks on how to pull together a good-looking avatar, without spending a fortune in Linden dollars! I still get an immense sense of satisfaction from creating a polished, head-to-toe avatar look as inexpensively as possible, and sharing with you exactly how I did it, so you could do it, too! I wanted to share my passion with you all.
Second Life was my first love, my introduction to the concept of the metaverse, and a love I still have, and probably always will have. But I have also been doing a lot of thinking these past few months about this blog, and the direction in which I want to take it.
Therefore, I have decided to cut back substantially on my Second Life coverage, and refocus on the reason I started this blog in the first place: virtual reality in general, and social VR in particular.
This doesn’t mean that I will never write about SL again. For example, Second Life will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer, and I have every intention of reporting on that milestone!
I turn 59 in a few days, and it’s time for me to re-find the joy and wonder I once had when I first slipped on my trusty Oculus Rift VR headset five years ago, and went exploring, to see what I could discover. There’s a lot going on in the VR/AR/MR/XR space, and I want to refocus my attention on that.
I know that many of you who followed my Second Life coverage will be disappointed, but I hooe that you will understand and respect my decision. And I also hope that you will continue to join me on this journey!
As you might have noticed, my formerly feverish pace of blogging has slowed to a glacial crawl lately. There are a number of reasons for that, among them the fact that I am extremely busy with my full-time paying job as an academic librarian, where among many other projects I am juggling, I am working on a project to set up a virtual reality lab in one of my university’s libraries.
But another reason is that I am tired. Bone tired, after almost three years of pandemic living. I also turn 59 this month, and I have had my fair share of health issues (Type II diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, obesity, etc.). Because I have these underlying health issues which would put me at risk of a severe case of COVID-19 if I were to become infected, I have basically upended my former life in an effort to stay safe and healthy.
I am quintuple-vaccinated, I still practice elaborate social distancing wherever possible, and I wear a facemask when I am indoors in public spaces. I have a rule I have not broken in almost three years now: no indoor restaurant dining! (I do meet up with friends during the summer to enjoy some outdoor patio dining, however. Obviously, that’s not an option the rest of the year, up here in wintry Winnipeg!)
Thankfully, my employer (the University of Manitoba) is listening to the scientists, and still has imposed an indoor facemask mandate on both its campuses for this Winter term—a lone island of sanity in my city, I fear (of course, healthcare settings like hospitals and my doctor’s and dentist’s offices still require masks).
I really only leave my apartment to go to work, visit my parents at their life lease condo across town, and pick up my prescriptions at my local pharmacy (where tomorrow I will be getting my Pfizer bivalent booster shot!).
I have also gotten into the habit of ordering my groceries online via Walmart, then picking them up Sunday mornings between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m., when it is not busy. They load up my car, while I stand and watch (masked of course), and I drive away; it works well, and I see no reason to change it. During the last three years, I have set foot into a grocery store exactly once.
Anyway, long story short, I’m not sure where I’m going right now, and how this blog fits into everything else that I’m doing. So I am going to take some time to figure things out. In the meantime, there won’t be very much blogging, I’m afraid.
When I do have something to announce, I will let you know! Thank you all for your patience.