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.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sailing in Second Life is fraught with hazards. Oddly enough, none of it comes from the water itself. The hazards usually are sim boundaries, buildings on top of the water, restricted access parcels (parcels with "banlines"), parcels with intemperate security devices that eject or otherwise remove a passerby without giving them a chance to leave on their own, and other obstructions to physical movement.

Knaptrackicon's problem is the water building, primarily. These folks have access to two protected ocean sims but don't seem to care that the access they've given is woefully deficient. It's very narrow, very shallow and heavily obstructed at one end. It is the classic rock and hard place. They must not like seeing all the pretty sailboats go by.

I assume that the folks who bothered to cut a path wanted to have access to both the northern and southern ocean sims. Well damn it, if you're going to do it, do it well.

I had something of an epiphany last week regarding banlines, and it applies just as equally to these people who put out all these obstructions. These folks who make it difficult for others to enjoy the wide open seas (and airways) like to have access to the wider SL world, but don't like giving it. That's selfish BS. If everyone behaved like that, the world would be a miserable place and there would be little reason to go anywhere beyond the corners of your own land. Access to wider wonders is what adds value to SL.

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.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Blog!

This is a sailing blog, for the Second Life avatar Cristalle Karami. I've recently become enamored of SL sailing, having bought a small fleet of lovely boats from Trudeau Classic Yachts. I am the proud owner of a Tahiti Ketch II, a Larinda Schooner, and a Leetle Cat.

I'm still working on names and customization for the boats. The Ketch was my first purchase, and it is the reason for my renewed love of SL. Accordingly, it is lovingly named Renaissance, for the rebirth of my second life.

The Leetle Cat is named Lita, a pun on the model name and just a cute name in general. I have to install PS Elements to work on her hull's painted name. I am nervous about trying to work on it in Paint Shop Pro, as PSP warned me that there are unsupported features.

I'm still working on a name for the Larinda Schooner. She is a grand lady and I need something majestic for her. Hmmm.... maybe Majestic itself, or Majesty? I might be onto something. I'll let you know.

I will also post (probably a lot of) pictures here from my SL sailing exploits. In the few short days that I have been sailing, I've gone a long way and I absolutely love it. There is so much to see, and much beauty in SL. I am happy to share it.