Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I've been on a very long hiatus, as my real life got very complicated. Several moves, career shifts, and a touch of SL burnout generally kept me out of SL for the vast majority of my time. Now, I'm consolidating my rental business to simplify my second life and hopefully I will have more time to do things I enjoy when I'm here.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Jacqueline Trudeau released another timelessly beautiful yacht, the Columbia. I couldn't resist its siren song, and bought one. It is spectacular to look at. It will take a bit of time to learn how to master it. I haven't mastered the J-Class yet, my lovely Joyeux. Columbia will be even more realistic, and will require greater skill than my (dusty) nascent sailing skills. I am not sure what I'm going to name her yet, but I am leaning toward Clarion. We'll see how that works out.

Jacqueline also released another smaller boat, the Patchogue. Funny to see this boat, named after a place I've actually been to! In a nutshell, the boat is a larger Leetle Cat, but with a motor and some other goodies... a faster sister to the Twenty. I was not possessed to buy it because I feel that the Twenty is sufficient for my small-boat needs, as is the Leetle Cat for when I want to challenge myself. I'm not a racer, so the Patchogue is something that will just have to wait. It is cute, though.

As I set the Columbia down along the channel that surrounds my island, I looked at my fleet of boats and I was amazed that I had so many, for a novice sailor. My Ketch, still beautiful and perfect for casual sailing; the Larinda schooner, with her majestic lines; the Leetle Cat and the Twenty; the Shelly Fizz, to see what the hype was about; the WildWind dinghy, DG-70, which I haven't really used yet; and the grand J-Class. Adding Columbia to the collection doesn't bother me in retrospect, because it's just an amazing vessel.

I need to make some time to use them more. In the new year, I hope that will be forthcoming.

Happy New Year, be safe.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Knaptrackicon, revisited

I have had two recent comments about Knaptrackicon. One let me know that the situation changed and that there was better access. The second was a nastygram from a member of the group that used to own most of that land.

I expressed my opinion as an explorer frustrated with exploring the wider world that a major north-south passageway into Nautilus was effectively blocked by landowners. I am entitled to my opinion, that is why I wrote it here instead of presuming to tell the landowners personally what to do with their land.

No matter how much I dislike banline morons and other obstructionists, I understand that they are entitled to do whatever they like with their land. But that doesn't mean that everyone else has to like it! And I sure as hell will voice my opinion here on my blog if I well please. It's not as if they cared about anyone else's opinion when they put up banlines and obstructions to begin with. I'm not sorry for hurting your widdle feelings.

As I said before, "While I don't agree that people should be told what to do with their own land, I think that selfish people who put up banlines and other obstructions should be prepared to be shunned by their neighbors and be banned in kind. You have to get as good as you give." That is my ultimate point. This is why people flee to private estates, because neighbors aren't neighborly and they make other people miserable. Only a private estate can control the banline situation between neighbors.

I own land that is at the end of a major waterway in Nautilus. If I wanted to, I could block the neighbor who is at the end of one of the two inlets I border from having access to the water, but I don't. In fact, I recently did block the neighbor since they noobishly put up banlines. Why? Because those who don't listen, feel. I did, however, put in the description of my land that if they wanted to be part of a community with water access, they would have to give access. They took down their banlines, and I stopped banning them. We are back to peace and harmony.

These examples further prove the point that most people cannot be trusted with water sims in a wider world. It really is Linden Lab's fault that they didn't carve out a protected waterway between the two ocean sims, because space and prims are at a premium and it is only natural that a landowner would maximize the use of their land, even to the detriment of others. Even though it may be open now, it's not guaranteed to stay that way.

People can do whatever they want with their land, but no one is going to kiss your ass when you're the one not being neighborly.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Still Alive

I am still alive... things have just been crazy for me in real life. I'm barely here, because I've been moving and changing jobs, and my time has been really limited. I will get back up to Corsica to finish my trip.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Corsica Rising, part 1

This post details my first attempt at a peripheral exploration of Corsica by boat. I actually made this trip a couple of days ago, but the postcard feature wasn't working and as a result, it took about half a day before they showed up in Snapzilla and Flickr. I was afraid that they might be lost, but had a feeling that the queue was just gummed up by yet another brilliant move by Linden Lab.

I chose the Larinda, for its speed - it was faster than all of the boats in my little fleet, except maybe the new WildWind DG-470. I don't know about the new J-Class, though... I suspect that the J-Class is potentially much faster. I haven't taken the time to learn the WildWind just yet, and I was anxious to take a look at Corsica, so here I am.

I started out at Watchman, where I stopped last time from my trip to Corsica from Nautilus. Gabriele Graves is a fellow sailing aficionado and has a friendly port there in Watchman, so I figured it was an ideal place to start. That's Gabriele's Tradewind and another tall ship in the background of the above picture.

I sailed east, picking up from where I left off last time. I didn't get quite as far as I'd like to, because I didn't have the time and the ugly crash that ended my trip came at an opportune moment. Basically, I made it from Watchman to Majistral, but it's a decent trip... there is still much to see in this short trip and I'm happy I made it.

I love seeing mainland shoreline, because it reaffirms the diversity of Second Life sailing. It's all over the place. Water is such a valuable property, and access to large bodies of unobstructed open water is a monumental boon to any property.

I think that some people think of the SL sailing community as that relatively small group that is often the somewhat insular and yet vocal folks that populate the USS regattas and associated yacht clubs. In truth, it's much bigger than that, as evidenced by all of the countless heretofore nameless harbors, marinas, yacht clubs and general sailing geeks that dot the shores of the mainland continents. And let's not forget the other private sims that boast open waters for sailing.

But I digress.

I found a Linden infohub, Degrand Infohub. I found it highly ironic that the parcel in the sim was called "Water Activities" and yet there was no place to actually rez a boat or jetski, or whatever. I mean, duh, Lindens, come on. I need to remind myself to put in a LDPW ticket to address that situation.

At first I didn't know what Degrand was, so I circled the island a bit to see who was on it. A few people were there, although I couldn't really see them as they were clouds to me. I hope that they found the place enjoyable. I wonder what they thought of me circling and hanging out nearby in my schooner?

I took a photo of Degrand from an aerial viewpoint. It's a very small island, complete with a nigh-ubiquitous shipwreck. Think of it as Half-Hitch's Mini-Me.

I opened up the map and saw that I would be passing the sim called Oryx. I had to stop, because my friend Oryx Tempel shares the sim's name and I wondered if it would in any way happen to reflect her personality. Ehh, not really. It was rather bland in general.

I was grateful for the little harbor that someone set up at Oryx, though. I couldn't help but feel contempt for the idiots two doors down who were super-aggressive about access and security in the description of their property, and the dreamer selling his 1024 for 90k. As for the aggressive couple... I sincerely hope your neighbors banned the crud out of you.

The only thing of note is a friendly little sail-up bar on the edge of Oryx, some place called Scoundrels. They over-used these prims for a mountain backdrop, though. It hides the water slide they've got from certain angles.

I think just a scultpy or two would suffice...

But what was really interesting was not Oryx but what was next to it, a sunken city with "lost treasures" - I have GOT to go back with scuba gear. I just need to avoid the shark. ;)

I had almost passed it by without looking under the water, but I circled back to find it. At first it wasn't terribly interesting, as I was on the edge, but I'm glad I did, as the view got a lot better.

I thought that was pretty neat. While sailing over the city, I saw some things glowing that appeared to be possible treasure. Must, must get there and scuba... but I don't know if I will be able to moor my boat for too long, need to check autoreturn time.

One cool thing I did see while circling around was this whirlpool. My first thought? Charybdis!! lol.

One disappointing thing about cruising mainland is seeing the repetitive nature of the housing. I am pretty sure this is a rental community, because of the ever so familiar housing by Ace's Spaces/Park Life.

Yes, their work is beautiful - this is by no means criticism of them. But it's getting to the point where it's not distinctive. I see the houses and I'm like, ho hum. Big deal... their houses are everywhere. I'm not saying it because I would like more people to buy my houses, but because it really does get boring after a while. I would love to see more property developers exercise independent thought and do something different.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't take too much longer before I crashed and crashed hard. I made the mistake of trying to traverse a plot off the protected path, and *whack* I hit a parcel that was full, and it returned Majestad to me and sent me off into the deep blue negative numbers of the sim. I teleported home and I still kept going into negative numbers.

Le sigh, Linden Lab.

PostScript: here is the map of the crazy trip.

Joyeux, J-Class!

I am ever so pleased to report that I have the fortune of having purchased one of the brand new beautiful J-Class yachts from Jacqueline Trudeau. She is a thing of beauty, isn't she?

Getting the hang of the spinnaker and the new HUD info display is a bit of work. Luckily for me, I don't give a rat's tush about racing!

It will be a great pleasure getting to know my lovely new J-Class. I have named her Joyeux, to express my happiness. I have also painted her hull in sleek black.

As an aside, I have also finally decided on a name for my Larinda schooner: Majestad. Yes, Majestad breaks my recent trend for alliteration, but I think it's really fitting. Now I just need to get off my butt and start working on the graphics for naming my lovely boats. The only one with a customized name on the hull is Renaissance, the Ketch. So much work to do...but it will be a labor of love.

Thank you, Jacqueline, for these fantastic yachts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Skin

I'm so excited about it I have to put it somewhere... I got this gorgeous new skin from :Genesis: by Ryker Beck. Candace, in Coconut skin tone.

Ryker's work is exquisite, and it is, so far, the best skin for this sailing gal's body. If you want to take pictures, this is definitely one to try. So far it comes in 8 makeups but Ryker has more fun and pretty makeups in the pipeline.

Sailing gives me an excuse to wear all those swimsuits I've bought, and I love that this skin will make the whole image even better.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More Fizzy Thoughts

Apparently Mothgirl has resolved her key dilemma and decided to release her scripts full perm for free instead of charging shipbuilders a premium to build with it.

I'm very sorry to hear that. It's good for the community and for modernizing standards, but she should be rewarded for putting about a year of her life into those scripts. I don't see why it was so objectionable to charge a premium for a reseller version. She knows shipbuilders better than I do, maybe she knows that most of them would never pay that kind of money and they would just leech off her stuff. If they were eager to modernize, why wouldn't they pay her a premium for a transferable version?

I should be happy, I suppose, but I'm not. I'm glad she's made her peace with it but I'm very sorry that it came out this way.

Wild is the Wind...

I got a new boat. This time it's a dinghy designed for racing, a WildWind DG-470, upon recommendation from a friend. It was so inexpensive I really didn't have to think twice about buying it.

This is a VERY different sailing experience. On this boat, I have to manually shift my weight, and it has a spinnaker. Oh boy!

Ironically enough, I've never used a Tako, which has a spinnaker. I've got a bit more to learn about sailing! It's all well and good, I guess... that new J-Class coming soon from Jacqueline Trudeau uses a spinnaker, I will need the practice. ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Considering the Shelly and Her Ilk

The Shelly Fizz debuted the other day to much fanfare at the Starboards Yacht Club. It is a free boat, developed by the Schiffsratten Yacht Club and Mothgirl Dibou, the proprietor of the Flying Fizz boat. The Fizz has just been updated to include more realistic features, and she graciously allowed the Ship Rats to make a training boat with the new Fizz engine.

As a teaching boat, it's fine. It only has two modes - fun mode and novice mode. Fun mode is as simple as it gets, just hop on the boat and steer. Novice mode is more of what I'm used to, with adjustment of the sheet versus the wind. The key difference in my experience is that there is no HUD, you have to tell by looking at the sail whether or not you're getting it right.

So far, so good. I also benefited a little bit from going to the beginning sailing class and practiced "beating" - shifting back and forth to sail upwind. This was the thing that really got me about the Leetle Cat, that made it less enjoyable - I wasn't good at sailing upwind and desperately wanted a motor. To dock my boats, I would drop the sails and start up the motor at a low throttle power, to have more control over where the boat went. It felt more finessed than messing with the wind.

So I at least feel better about sailing upwind, and will give the Leetle Cat more use. Like the Leetle Cat, the Shelly has a centerboard that can be raised for going through shallows. It's just a very different experience since there is no HUD. I don't mind it, although I still prefer a HUD telling me the wind speed and direction.

Is this what the Fizz itself is like? I don't know. It can't be too far off. My reaction in light of what I already experienced while cutting my teeth on Trudeau yachts is "meh." But it would take a full demo to find out, and I don't know if I care to do that in light of what I've read about future Fizz-style boats. Just some ugliness since Mothgirl plans to sell a separate key to make Fizz derivatives work. Instead of just licensing the engine to shipbuilders, she is collecting from individuals who want to buy Fizz-powered boats, 500L for a separate key on top of their boat purchase. It is highly inconvenient and raises the relative cost of owning a Fizz-powered boat, even though the cost is a one-time purchase.

I don't think this is a wise business decision, but it's not mine to make. The vast majority of people who sail in SL don't give a rat's tush about the sailing clubs or racing. They just want to have fun and enjoy the water. So far, this is exactly what I've had with the Trudeau boats. Pure fun, with a little bit of a challenge in learning how to control the boat's sheet angles.

If the shipbuilding kit really is all that, and so many people are anxious to build with it, then I feel that she would be better served licensing it at a reasonable rate such that shipbuilders would be able to resell at a rate comparable to the Fizz (L$ 1250) instead of selling us their stuff at L$ 1250ish and then oh-by-the-way, you have to pay Mothgirl an extra 500L, albeit once.

I don't know Mothgirl from Adam, and the things I've read from her and some others - venting her frustration at others, most especially at Jacqueline Trudeau, about the slow adoption of her new engine and her new windsetting scheme - definitely make me cool to the concept of buying a Fizz at all. I know she's done a lot of work to improve upon the work already done by Kanker Greenacre and possibly others, and she deserves to be rewarded for her hard work, but I don't think this is the wisest way. Plenty of people who know a heck of a lot less than I do about her may be disinclined to bother paying for a key. She says it'll go to good causes like Sail for Life, and that's great. But why should anyone who hasn't even heard of the yacht clubs care?

It's not really about the money, since just about everything in Second Life is less than the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee, but it sort of is - it's both money and inconvenience. But relative to other boats? It begs the question if dealing with all this brouhaha is really worth it.

For me, that jury is definitely out.

Reunited, and it feels so good...

I really am dating myself, if you know what the title of this post references.

I am finally reunited with my desktop computer, and its superior graphics card. It's the return of the pretty pictures!

After reading about Orca Flotta's trip to Triumphal Yacht Club on, I had to take a trip out there myself. I am pretty certain that I must have passed it on my forays into Nautilus looking for a feasible path to the interior. But as I commented in Orca's article, there are so many places to look at that if you keep stopping, the trip would take forever. So I'm happy to go back and take a look around.

And what a feast for the eyes it is. It's a mixed rental community and yacht club. It is also the personal home of Charlz Price and his partner Fiona Haworth. That awesome steamer is Charlz' home, which he allows people to explore.

The property spans about a sim and a half and is located in southwestern Nautilus. Nautilus City and the Blake Sea are a godsend for a property such as this. I happened to meet Charlz, and he said that when he bought the land, there were only about 5 sims of open water. That number has exploded with the expansion of navigable water and his club is in a very convenient place. It had nice amenities to begin with, but this is even sweeter now.

Charlz and Fiona have a charming fantasy treehouse that overlooks the protected water adjacent to Triumphal. It doesn't get much better than this!

He and Fiona make furniture, which they sell from a store in Devilbrook, on the eastern side of Triumphal with even more navigable water.

Charlz also has some more fantastic boats in his waters. He's got a beta copy of the upcoming Trudeau J-Class, and a modified Larinda schooner.

He's also got one of those WildWind boats that I keep hearing about, the 44. I have also been recommended to pick up one or two other WildWinds, the 14 and 470. My little fleet might just expand soon...

One other thing to thank Charlz for is the change to Devilbrook. That cityscape used to border a vehicle graveyard. Charlz talked to the land owner, who had no idea that he had banlines up and didn't realize the effect of limiting access. Now, Devilbrook is navigable and Charlz is working on getting a racing course through that section of the water. Thanks, Charlz!

He hasn't gotten to the point of having any events yet; his club is only 3-4 months old and is growing. He's working with Jane Fossett of Nantucket Yacht Club and others and stuff is going to happen. I'd love to join his club but I just don't have the room in my groups for it. He should consider a Subscribe-O-Matic or HippoGroups. More sailing groups should consider it, or some kind of listmaking device. I know I saw one on XStreet. It's really late, though, and I can't be bothered to look it up now.

Anyway, it was a sincere pleasure to meet another kind sailor with his beautiful club.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Broken Habits

One of the things that surprised me about myself in Second Life is learning just how much of a girly-girl I am on the inside, and how much I like jewelry. It didn't take long to lose the noob fascination with bling, but I still love beautiful jewelry. But now that I've taken up sailing, my jewelry habit is broken.

How did that happen?

Well, one day when I was busy tempting myself at Jacqueline Trudeau's shipyard, I came across a gal who told me about my Avatar Rendering Cost, or ARC. It was well over 8000(!). Although some of that could be attributed to my hair, shoes, etc., it was primarily my jewelry - a rose quartz starflake set from Alienbear Designs.

The gal had an extremely low ARC, just 59. She was barefoot, with no jewelry or any attachments. She said that it helped in sim crossings to have less prims attached to my person, and that I should only wear the minimum amount necessary. Interesante.

Now me, I like to look pretty and look like a lady - so I normally wear a full gamut of stuff: prim hair, eyelashes, nails, jewelry, and some kind of shoe. I even have some animated eyes from Insolence that require prims. And of course, my other attachments - my hugger, Mystitool implant, etc.

All this stuff adds up.

So I boned up on what factors increase the avatar rendering cost by digging out the old blog post on it. For this blog entry, however, I have linked to the wiki, which is good enough.

As such, when sailing, I am now almost as bare as I can be, attachment-wise. I lose the nailpolish, take off the shoes, and use a standard set of eyes. Although I am vain enough to keep my eyelashes on... but no jewelry.


Oh well, if it will reduce rubberbanding and getting left behind by my yacht, I'm all for it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Video Testing

Tested out the new video capture software.

Jing is nice, but it has a low framerate and is not really suitable for sailing voyages. Xfire it is, it seems. One problem, though: I can't record from both my mic and the sounds in the game. Sheesh, why is creation always so hard?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I happened to see a blog post from Torley about tools to make videos. I have downloaded some software and I'll be making video documentaries of my journeys.

To get started, I will probably use Jing or XFire. I have installed Jing so far and it looks really nice and easy to use, it has an excellent design. I am not a YouTube-r so I probably won't need to go Pro, but if I do decide to use YouTube, I will probably upgrade to Jing Pro.

I'm new to this, and something of a Luddite. I don't use my phone for much beyond calling people. I do text from time to time, and on rare occasion, use the camera. I'm going to branch out and become more modern, more connected. So we'll see where this all goes. But for this blog in particular, video is going to ROCK. Especially when I get back home and onto my desktop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Map HUD Progress

I figured it was time to give an update. There isn't much progress. First, I have to say that the resolution for any donated maps should be 1024x512 to get a decent resolution and detail.

As far as donations... there haven't been any. I made a request, however, for a set that I knew of and I have received some very great maps from Anu Daviau, who has made the awesome trip from the USS Sims to Corsica and Gaeta. Anu graciously provided me with copies of her maps.

I have my shiny new Bay City Map, and the maps I made from my first trip from Grumio to Watchman.

I have a few rez zones that I know of that I'm going to put on a map of friendly ports, but those are fairly few. I'm looking for more, however, especially on the older continents: Heterocera, Sansara and Jeogeot.

But I need more trip routes and rez zones (friendly ports), as well as the obstacles. Maybe that'll come along after I get the first HUD together, kind of like the old fairy tale, about the stone soup.

Once I come up with something a little more substantial than just Bay City and Anu's maps, I'll publish the HUD and we'll see what happens from there.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The City By The Bay, Part 3 (of 3!)

The third time is the charm.

I ventured inside Bay City's canal system to have a look around. As expected, it's a lovely unobstructed waterway and it's a pleasure to sail here, for that reason and the fact that the place is just so dang pretty. It deserves exploring on foot, to see more.

Or by hot air balloon, but still, by foot is the best way.

My favorite thing about Bay City is probably the system of draw bridges. That's pretty cool. The design is simple but elegant for most of the bridges, with a sign to touch to raise the bridge. It adds a level of realism that makes the journey really neat.

I am a fan of the LDPW generally, and they have made some really nice looking stuff. Bay City also has some random Linden content in there, thanks to the moles. There is an "archeological dig site" called Molexandria. I wasn't terribly impressed with Molexandria, but it is still kind of cute in concept. I do wish that the moles would be allowed to use abandoned land to put up random Linden content all across the grid. Land prices are so miserable and have been, for some time now. A few interesting, artistic pieces on protected land around the grid could only help.

I didn't see any rezzing areas inside the city proper. It looks like you're stuck at New Port, Moose Beach and the Gulf of Lauren rezzing areas. I made a map, but it needs resizing for use inside a HUD. I will need to work on scaling it. The map is actually a composite of other images grabbed from

Bay City is a sailor's dream. It has substantial open water, unobstructed water passages and great views. It's not too shallow and even big boats like the Larinda or the Tradewind should be able to handle the shallow depths.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The City By the Bay, Part 2

This is a somewhat lengthy series, in part because exploring this area takes a lot of time. If you're going to do it right, that is.

I resumed my exploration by heading back to Moose Beach via the landmark I made where I previously washed up. Last time, I started from New Port, went north through South Channel and North Channel, into Barcola Sound and west toward Bay City's Inner Harbor. I had fallen asleep, however, and beached at Moose Beach. Upon returning, I was directed to an inland landing point back by the street, away from the water.

Moose Beach is an entire sim with no sub-parcels. As such, the entire sim is a rez zone. This is probably a mistake. There isn't much here, although what is here is kind of neat - a small oceanside club/restaurant and a shop or two.

As you can see, the water here is pretty shallow for a good distance out from the land but Tania was able to handle it. I would need to try again with Renaissance just to make sure, since the Ketch keel is so deep.

I decided to continue heading west toward the Inner Harbor, through the Gulf of Lauren and into Daley Bay.

The harbor has a very industrial feel to it, although apparently it doesn't take too long before you can see privately owned land. It's interesting here, as there is a pipe crossing and a pretty cool trawler.

One bad thing about the Harbor is that this would be a natural rez zone, but there aren't any rez zones in here that I could see. Maybe I missed one, but I don't think so.

Another bad thing about it is that you can't get across the western canal to the edge of the Bay City sims. That low bridge holds railroad tracks and is not a draw bridge. Too bad.

I went back out the bay into the Gulf of Lauren, and found another rezzing zone. I have learned Michael Linden's M.O. - look for a rusty buoy by a lonely unmarked pier, and there is probably a rezzing area somewhere nearby. Turn on your view of property lines, and make sure you can see through the water!

To be honest, had I been on my desktop, I probably would never have found it.

While drifting northward, I got an aerial shot of the end of the rail line. There are no signs, no warning, nothing to block access or signal the end of the line as there would be in real life.

It leads me to wonder if Linden Lab intends to extend the railway northward. Probably not; I would imagine that if they make another set of planned mainland sims that they would be near another continent, such as Gaeta or Jeogeot, which could probably use the stimulus and extra sailing water.

To round out today's excursion, I checked out the lovely open water north of Bay City, the Gulf of Lauren. I had to wonder whose wife is the Gulf's namesake. ;) Bay City is also blessed with a healthy amount of open water sims, although not as vast as the Bingo Strait and the Blake Sea. It makes for great sailing and great views.

After heading north to the end-of-world sim edges, I veered east again in the northern sims of the Gulf of Lauren until I could shout, Land Ho!

I came upon Shermerville - the Lindens' first structured community, if I recall correctly. It is suburbia, with a structured grid of streets and walkways. It's not bad as far as I could see, but I didn't get to look very long. I will definitely have to go back.

Sailing is opening up SL for me in ways that it has never been for me. I've spent so much time with my business that I feel that I really lost out on some of the wonder of exploring SL. I have so many places that I need to go and see, and yet in my mind, all I can think about is how much time it all takes, and how little time I have to do much of it. I have a list of places in my head that I need to visit and explore, but the time... gah.

Speaking of which, time is why I have to do a third installment of this series about Bay City. I haven't even touched the canals! Fortunately, the canals are all protected water (they should be, anyway). There should be no obstructions at all, thank God, to sea travel inside the city. We will have to see, of course, and hopefully there are a few rezzing areas inside the city for people to put down their boats. Probably not, but we will find out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The City By The Bay, Part 1

Photo courtesy of Linden Lab, on the Second Life ® wiki

Bay City is the first big Linden community experiment since the population explosion of 2006, and was designed by Lindens and resident "moles" - residents getting paid cheaply by the hour to build content for Linden Lab, and they are part of the Linden Department of Public Works, or LDPW. These folks are doing a bang-up job of beautifying Second Life and making things more interesting.

Anyhow, as regards Bay City, they went for a retro feel, kind of like pre-80s urban locales. Unfortunately, many of the folks who bought land in Bay City (at grossly ridiculous prices) haven't done much with it or have not bothered to keep in theme.

We'll see more of that later. You see, I started out looking for a place to rez my boat. Well, that took a while. I eventually located and went to the Bay City Yacht Club (which is really just a designated area for boat slip rentals) and couldn't find it at first.

I eventually enlisted the help of one of Bay City's greatest advocates, Marianne McCann, for help with a rezzing area. She too thought the placement was odd. It's a little awkward, but there is a rezzing area off by a lonely pier away from the Yacht Club in New Port, try this for a rezzing area. There is no sign, just one of the many rusty old buoys that the moles have created that could mean pretty much anything. If you can't see under the water and don't have the view of property lines on, it's even more meaningless.

I decided to take Tania, the Twenty, since I anticipated shallow waters in and around Bay City.

I went east a bit and then north through the channel, per Marianne's suggestion. There is a really interesting draw bridge that connects Bay City to the old mainland continent of Sansara, the first continent. I actually forgot that it was a draw bridge and my mast crashed into it. That's a pretty low clearance - it's not like I used the Ketch!

There is a device to touch as you approach the bridge, in order to raise it and pass underneath. I figured that out pretty quickly, after I got over feeling sheepish about hitting the bridge.

What intrigues me about Bay City is its design, especially the canals. It's not your typical grid, and it's intentionally designed to have an old world European feel - something that would have developed by horse and cart, not like the huge (lazy? efficient?) grids that line the midwestern and western United States.

I will confess my shame right now: this blog isn't complete because I fell asleep. As you can probably tell, I'm a night person. I was pushing myself and my body conked out. I ended up beached on the northern coast of Bay City at Moose Beach, which, as it happens, is another public rezzing area. I'm too tired to go back into SL to get the slurl from my landmark.

I'll save that for part 2, when I actually complete this trip. I'm looking forward to sailing the canals and seeing what the hubbub is about up close. And before I forget, I will have to make a map.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me A Map...

Okay, that was a bad pun. Don't know what that's a pun for? My God, you're just a baby! ;) Google "Salsoul Matchmaker" and you'll find out.

Anyhoo, this is a call for maps - of friendly ports, best routes, obstructions, etc. in the vein of what you see above and below. I will compile maps into a friendly navigation HUD or set of HUDs for free distribution.

I often find it a pain to yank up the inworld map because it takes forever to load. And to go around that task, I often have to take my eyes off the horizon and go outworld to to chart out my course and spy potential obstructions.

I'm a relatively new sailor, and that's already gotten old!

I'd rather navigate with a HUD and some decent maps. I realize that not everyone is map-oriented, but many people are. It would be a boon for me... ahem, them. ;)

So, I had a great idea. I'll collect maps and publish them in a nice, neat Thincbook HUD. Please make them 512x256, for a longer landscape view. Thanks :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I had a long, casual cruise with my good friend Tony Upshaw, of Upshaw Properties. Tony is a fellow property developer, who operates more in the estate business. We are so busy that we really don't get to talk often enough. But today we just started talking randomly and I invited him out for a sail. Thankfully, he agreed. We rode out on the Renaissance, my beautiful and trusty Ketch. (I'm still working on a proper name for the Larinda schooner. The Twenty has already picked up the name Tania. Blame Dr. Zhivago, which I saw a couple of weeks ago.)

It was a lovely ride. We started out from the boat house in Eiger, headed northwest and then back east a little into Nautilus, the continent. When the wind died, I fired up the motor and we trekked across the northern coast of Nautilus City and then headed north to show him some of my friend Avion Raymaker's properties, the Devolin Paradise Resort and the Masocado Hotel.

As property developers we can understand (and commiserate) with each other. Tony and I are very similar in our views and we have a natural synergy. We teach each other things. So although we did talk shop a bit (among other subjects), we also got to enjoy the beauty of Second Life. I had to stop the boat when we saw this amazing blimp on the Nautilus continent mainland, along with a couple of impressive ships - including Jacqueline's Tradewind, my next purchase... *blush*

Tony hadn't sailed in a while, and I don't think he'd had the pleasure of operating a boat with a motor. Sailing is great until the wind dies down! But thank God Jacqueline installed a motor for her boats. I wish the Leetle Cat had one!

The picture above was taken with Tony just before hitting an end of the world section in the lakes of northeast Nautilus. (The continent. Geez I wish they had named the city something different!) We had a thoroughly pleasant ride, even when I got a little lost, and then it fittingly ended after I crashed into someone's banline somewhere near Red Snapper. Ah, well.

It was a pleasure to share, and I hope that our trip has sparked Tony's interest. It is something I would love to share with him and more of my friends. I can only imagine what it could do for newbies to SL and retention.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Growing Pains

Good news! I bought another yacht to expand my burgeoning fleet. I bought a Trudeau Twenty, as seen above :)

I know, I know... I'm addicted. Yes! To something wonderfully peaceful and fun, although frustrating at times when you crash or your boat leaves you behind... but still amazing.

I started out from Grumio and headed south again, to see how far down into Nautilus I could go. Again, those shallow waters made it a little difficult...or maybe it was the so-called smart waves someone had up, but I felt the pull of another boat... wanting a smaller boat that still had a motor. That boat is the Twenty, which is probably the most versatile boat in Jacqueline Trudeau's fleet.

I know I should practice more on the Leetle Cat but I really want the motor. I don't like "cheating" by setting the wind. One of these years, I'll get over it.

Now the bad news: I had intended to purchase some more land in Grumio, and adjacent plot to my own that would give me more water, a big enough chunk that I would feel comfortable making a marina. Well, I decided to go for a sail down to southern Nautilus, just to see how far I could get. I know that I cannot reach the Bingo Strait which lies between Nautilus, Nautilus City and Satori. But I can get pretty far.

Or so I thought.

The sim adjacent to Grumio, Balthasar, has a club that is apparently expanding across the water. Although I was able to sail under it with my Ketch, I felt extremely claustrophobic doing it and it soured me on the purchase. It is hard enough as is getting to open water, but this is getting ridiculous. I was barely able to make it with the Ketch. And one of the people in the club's group is the guy with banlines, so getting around their expansion can't happen either, since his banlined plot is on the other side of their expansion. Frickin' Scylla and Charybdis.

I understand not wanting to have people mess with your place, but it's getting ridiculous. I respect the fact that people can do whatever they want on their land, but if we all crowded things up to the point where there was no open space, or just tight, cramped passages, we would hate it. It is no wonder people complain about mainland and flee to estates. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to sell my mainland and create a unified estate. If the land market wasn't so abysmal, I would have done it already.

To mollify myself, I was going to buy the plot adjacent to the Boat House in Eiger, only to find that the plot was sold and that I have a new neighbor. Drat, foiled again! Just couldn't win for losing, eh.

What that tells me is that there is going to be a fight for a particular sim that is set to go on auction. A full sim connected to the Bingo Strait.... how much money is that going to go for? I want that sim, I have a great idea for a resort and sailing community, complete with a marina and public rez area. But it's clearly valuable real estate, so it's not going to go without a fight. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Group!

Well, I decided to pull the trigger and create a group for organized sailing events. It's not a formal inworld group, and messages would be distributed via hippoGROUPS, the Hippo Technologies cousin to Subscribe-O-Matic.

I'm maxed out on my inworld group allowance. Between my landholding groups, fashion groups, business groups, friend groups, etc. I am just plumb out of groups. I joined the SL Sailing Association and the Mowry Bay Yacht Club. Manul Rotaru has been an absolute gem in helping me find out about the Mowry Bay Cruising Club's routes and cruises. I would love to join MBCC but I just can't. Heck, I can't even join the Concierge landholders group, and I've got around 3 sims worth of land (although, to be honest, that's probably a form of a blessing based on stuff I've heard/read elsewhere about that group).

So now comes the Cristalle Properties Watersports hippoGROUP. Although it is primarily intended for my tenants, I think we would benefit from having other sailors from outside the group join if they want to. Maybe that is what is needed to get it rolling. I'm going to have to nurture this thing, I fear - can't it ever be easy to get people together in SL? I know, I know, stop whining.

Anyhow, any casual readers who might want to join us for spontaneous cruises or organized cruises can stop by the boathouse in Eiger and join the group. I also have a terminal at Grumio Point.

I may use an alt to create an inworld group for the Watersports group, so that members could enjoy the jetskis and windsurfers. Eh, I'll sleep on that. I couldn't even join it myself! But it would achieve the goal of sharing my toys. Hm... later.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm currently traveling, and all I have is my laptop. It's not a gaming machine by any stretch of the imagination. It's about 18 months old, with an Intel 945 display processor. When I purchased it, I had not intended to use it for SL. I later found, however, that SL would indeed run on it, even with a feeble display system. Cool.

But as you can see above, the rendering is orders of magnitude inferior to my desktop, which produced the vast majority of the lovely pictures seen in my flickr. Although I'm running a Windlight-enabled viewer (either KirstenLee Cinquetti's S16 or the CoolViewer hosted by Boy Lane), the graphics just don't compare to what I can see on my desktop, which sports an nVidia 8800 GT video card.

One positive thing that I have noticed, however, is that it is much easier for me to see under the water. I can see the contour of the land much, much better, and the objects there too, especially particle-based images. I had no idea how many shipwrecks I had passed in the week that I started sailing, until I went for a sail while using my laptop. And check out all the jellyfish!

I really have to commend the moles and LDPW for the work they've done with the seas. They are fascinating, extremely interesting places and you can literally spend days looking around and weeks to explore it all. If they can get newbies involved in such projects, they will have a real winner in terms of retention. They need to make it clear that they can pick up a decent cheap or free sailboat and get on the water. Maybe some cheap scuba gear too (I have to get some now!).

The SL world is an increasingly marvelous place and I'm happy to be a part of it. I am thinking about putting together a casual sailing group, akin to the Mowry Bay Cruising Club, for my tenants. Maybe I'll make it broader than just my tenants, but for now, it would include my tenants. I'm checking into whether or not there is any interest. If it's strong enough, I may even hire someone to organize an event or two per week. I think that would add value to their stay, and help create a greater sense of community.

Right now, people don't really interact much. They have their homes, and sometimes they make friends with their neighbors. If we can use something like sailing to start generating ties that bind, I think that we would be bound for something really great and it would truly enrich our SL experiences.