Thursday, 12 June 2008

Experiencing Windlight

It was just a matter of time...

... replacing my old graphics card from 128mb to 512mb was the only way for me to truly enjoy virtual life in-world. Most of my mates in SL (who were either having the high performance GCs already or have upgraded their machines to the latest hardware) were unanimous in saying that moving up the capability of your graphics card is the best thing for SL-addicts like me to enjoy an amazing Second Life experience.

Trouble in paradise! All of a sudden, I can't access Second Life from my computer? Disaster! Oh no!....

My practical side tells me to hold on to my 128mb Radeon X300 (hey it was the best during its time yo!), since getting a new machine is not too far away while I anticipate the news when Windows Vista would be stable to run Second Life (no reaction from Mac users please, at least I get an F key to play around with hahaha). Thinking that having 4GB worth of installed memory as well as a properly tuned-up PC is enough would only proved me wrong, upon realising that Linden Labs wouldn't let me in~world for (probably) using an older version of the SL Viewer (theoretically speaking that is). Having been the only one who wasn't able to log-in among other Brit-residents (with the thought that UK users might all be having the same problem like me... vis-a-vis US-based servers) prompted me to investigate the root cause of this madness. It was starting to stress me up to be honest. Questions like:

Have I been booted out of SL?
What For?

Has my account been cancelled?

Has my account been hacked into?

... have started to bug me. All these questions and with no immediate answers made the veins on my temple throb like crazy, and it was giving me a headache.

I went to check on my SL web account and found out that it still could be accessed with the same username and password. COOL!

Enough assurance for me that I wasn't booted out of Second Life nor was my account cancelled by Linden Labs. WHEW!

My linden dollars were also intact which could mean my account wasn't hacked into. But unfortunately it was still impossible for me to go in-world! SIGH...

Lizzy had suggested that I upgrade my viewer with the thought that it may have been outdated. And it did make a lot of sense as I was using an earlier version, v 1.19.0 (5). Linden Labs did not MANDATORY REQUIRE us to update to the latest viewer. Something which still baffles me even up to this time.

Why not upgrade viewer to the latest one?
Somehow when I install and use the updated viewer be it the Dazzle Release Candidate or the standard version, I get these pixelised lines streaking out of in-world objects making everything look distorted as well as the lack of lighting making the view seem dark! It seemed more like a step backward for me rather than a jump forward with all the glitches and bugs I was experiencing with the new viewer. It left me no choice but to keep my outdated viewer which was still okay for me to use prior to my logging-in problems...

Or so I thought...
Remembering Lizzy suggesting that the root cause might be my outdated viewer. I have decided to upgrade my graphics card to at least one that is four times more powerful thinking that it would be compatible with the new viewer versions.
Having gotten bored and impatient for trying to win a 512mb nVidia GeForce on eBay for under a tenner (postage included hahaha, it was obviously impossible to get one with that price! But what the heck, there's no harm in trying "innit"?), a visit to our local computer shop might just solve my dilemma! I surrendered to the idea that being practical isn't always the solution and using more of my sentido comĂșn might just do the trick. The hassle though didn't stop there, I initially bought the wrong type of graphics card having a socket (that's what you get when you don't check your machine's specs first when you buy hahaha) incompatible to my PC's motherboard. It would seem like fate was playing a bad joke by not make things easier for me hahaha. Nevertheless, I was able to return the graphics card and get myself the right one! Finally...

Eventually I got myself one!
The new nVidia GeForce found itself a home and took over the reigns of my tired and haggard ATI-Radeon (which still looks perfectly fine by the way.. hrmmm I think I'm gonna sell it on eBay... over a tenner postage not included hahahaha).

Installing the new driver and upgrading to the latest viewer had made me see Second Life in a different light... make that in WINDLIGHT! It was like experiencing everything for the first time! The waters were almost realistic viewing it from above as well as underwater. The colours are so vivid and the AVs textures amazingly real~like. Making me realise that I should have upgraded to 512mb a lot earlier, I have been missing a lot!

So far so good...
The experience was just so pleasant. It pumped-in new blood like the feeling of having a new lease of life after each dialysis session (not that I have any kidney problems, knock on wood). I've never felt this excited since the time I tried Second Life for the first time (meeting Lizzy-babes and all the things that followed after when I'm with her of course hahaha). Taking pictures was even more exciting with each shot seemed better than the previous one!

OMG! OMG! I'm having an orgasm... yes.. yes.. yessss! The sun reflecting its rays from the water? Crystal clear seas that make you even see the swimming fishes below? Smooth edges of objects and texture details at its best? I must be in Second Life heaven!

Somehow not being able to log-in earlier was sort of a blessing in disguise. Like in Real Life, we get so contented in our comfort zones that we refuse to move on to something better. I guess that's just human nature..

A blissful dawn at our Penthouse rooftop... a romantic moonlit evening cruise at the picturesque Loch Lomond, Windlight teaming~up with a very good graphics card has so much to offer! We've only just begun...

Sometimes we all need a little bit of a nudge for us to move forward. Helping us see clearly what great opportunities may await us outside of our comfort zones. And in my case, it opened a bigger and better Second Life. Was it a good investment putting quite an amount of Sterlings for a minor upgrade? You bet! And I wish I had done it sooner than later. So I guess it will be smooth sailing from now on, and of course tons of snapshots for every new adventures which me and my babes will be doing in~world from now on. Kudoz to all!
Oh by the way... the next time you try to look for something in eBay, try finding out if there is something better than the one you are looking for. I had found out that a 1GB graphics card sold on eBay shops was much more cheaper than the one I bought in a computer shop which sadly has half the power and capacity! Oh well... I guess this will serve as another nudge to upgrade to 1 gigabyte. Who knows what viewing pleasure it may offer. That of course will be relayed to you in my next blog! hahaha

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Zombie Doctor Invades Always

(revised April 2009)

Just when you thought you have already seen enough of the strange, the weird and the spooky in Second Life, something a little short of being a shocker would come and surprise you at some point in time.

It's been five (5) days since Liz and I were together. She went on a skiing trip (it was supposed to be snow heaven for her, but thanks to El Nino spoiling the whole thing - the snow didn't stay long enough for skiers to enjoy) while I took some time off to enjoy the weekend sun, something that had eluded Brits in the past couple of weeks (again thanks to global warming, shame on those who refuse to support and sign the Treaty of Kyoto).

Interrupted by a Whatintheworldisthathing!

Just when we were catching up for lost time, this very tall avatar just appeared out of nowhere! This strange looking man AVi about 7 feet tall (a very rare height in SL standards), wearing a 40s retro suit and a top hat approached us as we all stood there staring at each other.

The moments of aloofness was starting to get both boring and deafening, so someone had to break the ice. Liz was sort of frozen, albeit bewildered by this strange creature; while I was just preparing myself for the worse. I was tempted to bring out my BlackOps and Omega Concern "push~toys" (get the drift?) in case things get a bit nasty?

Fortunately, the better side of me was convinced that the best way to go through this was through diplomacy.

How Things Had Transpired...
Prepare for the big spook! hahaha

Showing up from nowhere, and spoke with a very deep sinister voice... aroooooo! coyote howls...

[16:53] Uzi Uriza: hello
[16:53] N71: uhmm hello
[16:53] N71: can we help?

[16:54] Uzi Uriza: im your local doctor
[16:54] N71: uhmm were healthy and fine thanks
[16:54] Uzi Uriza: i can see
[16:55] Lizzy: Hi Uzi
[16:55] N71: opps sorry
[16:55] Uzi Uriza: i need to do some tests

With that thing being so tall, he left me standing with my face leveled up to his chest... and insists that he does some "tests" to me and my babes...

[16:55] N71: smelled you lol
[16:55] N71: nahh i'm okay thanks

[16:55] Lizzy: I have had all mine done recently thanks
[16:55] Uzi Uriza: i need to examine you both
[16:56] Uzi Uriza: im sorry about that

[16:56] N71: uhmm have you finished Frankenstein yet (trying to be a bit sarcastic here hahaha)

[16:57] Uzi Uriza: im a zombie
[16:57] Uzi Uriza: and i attract flies

... and does this weird action/gesture, dances around stationary while sending out a loud creepy sound of swarming and buzzing insects.

[16:57] N71: ohhhh
[16:57] Lizzy: eww
[16:57] N71: well we can use the flies for fish bait (doing a Chandler Bing here people! hahaha)
[16:57] N71: great to have them here
[16:57] Uzi Uriza: i need to examine your wife (the nerve!!! as if I would actually agree to that? hah!)
[16:57] Lizzy: fly fishing
[16:58] Uzi Uriza gave you Beer Mug.

... gave us a drink to which Liz and I discarded soon after by the way... beer coming from a fly-infested zombie? I don't think so!

[16:58] Lizzy: I had my check up yesterday and the baby is fine

... (/me thinks) I am gonna be a dad?! Woohooo, bring out all the cigars! hahaha. I knew all those nights we spent together at the condo "playing" was going to bear good fruit! Awww babes! Booyah.. hahaha!

[16:58] Uzi Uriza: i need to have a look
[16:58] N71: nope she...
[16:58] N71: is FINE!

... that was a stern reply everyone, ready the pitchforks!

[16:58] Uzi Uriza: i am the doctor
[16:58] N71: I'm the only one who examines her
[16:58] N71: i am her husband... her personal doctor

[16:58] Lizzy: I already have a doctor
[16:58] Lizzy: hahaha

[16:59] Uzi Uriza: i need to see her alone

... yeah right! As if I would allow that!...

[16:59] N71: nope!
[16:59] Lizzy: nup (that's Aussie for NO by the way hahaha)
[16:59] N71: that ain't happening
[16:59] N71: sorry doc zombie

... If I were Aussie I would tell him to "Go jump in the lake!"... and give him the "high five!"... betcha' don't know what I'm talking about, do you? Unless if you are Aussie of course hahaha

[16:59] Uzi Uriza: its her choice
[16:59] Lizzy: Naps goes where ever I go

... GO BABES! GO tell him off! haha...

[16:59] N71: nup i make choices for her as she would also make decisions for me

... yes I am the man!!! Who's the daddy! Come on now, tell me? hahaha...

[16:59] N71: that's why were married (proud to be)
[16:59] N71: you know
[16:59] N71: unity as one
(I was sure I meant "united" there hahaha)
[16:59] Uzi Uriza: i will have to insist

... again, give him the "high five"!...

[16:59] N71: one body
[16:59] N71: one soul

[16:59] Lizzy: ahahaaha
[17:00] N71: perhaps our neighbours may want to get examined
[17:00] N71: try Bladekiller
[17:00] N71: 114m away

[17:00] Lizzy: yes, after all the partying they do, I am sure they need a doctor
[17:00] N71: or his wife Larac
[17:01] N71: perhaps they may need your services

... and he finally TPs out from Always... eeep! I hope Bladekiller and Larac does not read this... I mean just look at this name, "Blade~Killer"... I surely would not want to mess with them and end up a zombie myself! hahaha

I wonder when the next bizarre moment is going to happen? Creepy! Must be global warming... because Halloween came way too early this year... hahahaha


Sunday, 1 June 2008

ALWAYS Something Fishy!

May 25th 2008, a perfect day for the girls to try something different at Always. A place known to the BBAs (one of the swankiest and exclusive groups in SL) as the perfect hang-out to chill while having a glass of pixel cocktails and lager. The place is owned by the group's three founding members: Lisa, Dre and Liz, and boasts a roster of professional in-worlders as its members. After close to a year staying at their original post-modern abode, overhauling the property is just one of the new changes the dames of steel magnolias were keen to take on.

The Lake...
Surrounded by Acacia trees, palms, tropical plants and a waterfall as its center piece, the lake at Always is a unique attraction that is open to everyone. You can spend hours just sitting there by the deck with your feet dipping in the waters... sunbathing on a raft... or just lazing the time away with a mate or even just by yourself. But unknown to many, the lake also offers fishing! Bring along your 7Seas rods and find yourself a perfect spot to cast and catch those SUR fishes to complete your collection.

The house also needed the perfect warming-up party to celebrate its rebirth! And a better way to do it was to sponsor a 7Seas Fishing Tournament! Besides after getting to hook my Lizzy-babes into loading buckets of baits to catch that elusive LOLCatfish (she prefers the thrill of having to catch the SuperUltraRare fish herself in spite of her already having one, courtesy of "moi". rire dehors fort), she suggested that a tournament would be a clever idea to invite friends over at Always.

The new landscape at Always, a lake the gals had always wanted with a cool waterfall at the corner, tropical rain forest trees, an islet and a deck big enough to hold several people at once. Perfect for fishing tournaments!

Preparation was done days ahead of the Saturday Fish Open. Deciding what pixel food and beverage to serve was not as easy as we thought it would be! Apart from being high-prim, they don't come cheap! (laughter).

On Friday, everything was set from making sure the place was low on lag;

We custom-built a banquet table as well as set-up the BBQ grill to have those German-inspired bangers ready;

Which leaves that the fishing area was the only last thing we had to set up for the tournament!

Lisa also had her own PRO-Rod and was all ready to gain those precious XP points and the chance to get her hands on those elusive SURs herself! Liz on the other hand is Level 5 with enough experience points to make her catch all types of SuperUltraRare fishes. And Drei, well she still has a lot of catching up to do! Now all we had to do now was wait for the weekend... and we were all quite excited about it!

On Your Mark... FISH!

In the weeks that I have been experimenting on how to successfully host fishing tournaments, I have found a practical way to attract friends to participate... even if it means at the last minute. Apart from giving out the usual attractive prizes, the FREE BAIT never fails to have the pulling power. It would always hit your friendly-neighbourhood fishing buddy right on the spot! (giggles).

Sponsoring tournaments usually is a bit costly. Not the right tune to anyone who would like to hold on to their precious lindens! But there is more to gain in sharing your time and effort in putting up such an event, than to worry about shelling (and shedding) out your SL currency. In spite of it all, most fishing event organizers and hosts who I know are very generous in giving up prizes. And just to be with your fishing buddies or even get to meet new folks is in my opinion, much more blissful that having enough exposure for your sim or shop.

Invasion of the regulars! Mufkin Demonia, Phelan James, Jace Georgia, Thisbe Blackadder, Merina Nagi, Serenity Semple, Argos Hawks, Venegence McCaw and Dunesong Freenote are just some of the good folks who graced the event at Always. Without them it would not have been a success! Many thanks to you guys :-)

Believe it or not, a bit of magic happens during these events. I have seen this happen countless of times of fellow fishers getting to hook more than just a catch sent to you by Meissa and the Shikamis (sounds like a cool 60's band hehehe). They actually get to find love! I guess this gives real meaning to the phrase "searched for my love in the seven seas" hahahaha

I remember Lisa telling my Lizzy-babes once when she found out that she had been hitched (by me of course hahaha), "Even avis need a little bit of romance once in a while...", and she was darn right about that! If there is one thing most unavoidable in Second Life, no matter how much you try to build a wall around you, the love bug seems to get the better end of things! Believe me, I should know hahahaha.

Serenity Semple in one of her many cute avatars was the first ever winner at Always by winning 1st Place! Congratulations Serenity!

Free bait pulling power worked...

A lot of our friends came to BBA's first tourney, though I am sure that most of them if not all came just for the fun of having to hang out with mates. It was such a pretty sight seeing everyone interact with each other (and forget to cast their rods at times hahaha) with the occasional joke, taunt and banter to one another. It was totally fun and the enjoyment was supreme!

Always' first ever "Fish Open" started with modest prizes pegged at L$500.00 for 1st place... L$350.00 for 2nd and L$200.00 for 3rd! As a surprise bonus, those below 3rd place got cash consolation prizes as well. The girls made sure none left the event without a goody-bag in hand... everyone was a winner!

Most participants were at Level 5 in terms of experience since it was an "unlimited" game. They were all regulars with familiar faces whom I get to personally fish with in other tournaments. Good thing at that time, 7Seas had just released a new batch of fish to catch: mermaids, mermen and transferable trunks and bikinis. It was something to look forward to after most of us have completed the set as far back as a month ago.

The Shikamis got it right this time with the release of a "no copy~but free transfer" feature for the swimwear, as we can now share them to newbies and friends who have not yet caught them or are not into the fishing craze.

Lisa took the honours in blowing the horn to signal the start of the game! Unfortunately, my Lizzy-babes who was at the other side of the RL universe wasn't around to witness the first cast. Nevertheless everything went out smoothly...

Cast after cast the score board was jumping from one player to another. It was toying around with our excitement as everything was down to the wire up to the end. Everybody had the chance of winning! Liz finally arrived and tried to catch up... though way behind Lisa who was doing well in catching her fishes for the first time. I guess it was all foreign to her at first as well as exciting for every new fish she caught! Reminds me of the first time I tried 7Seas fishing at Caroline Apollo's sim Lo Lo (she was the one who introduced me to this game by the way... and I blame her for this!... and Lizzy-babes blames me as well for getting her hooked on this game!... and Lisa also will eventually blame Liz for the addiction... hahahaha).

Suck-sex! I mean SUCCESS! hahaha

The 60 minute tournament proved to be a success, and because of that the participants wanted more... Despite some of the other contestants leaving right after the game (probably to tend to other SL matters), the girls announced a surprise rematch! Lisa raised up the stakes from L$500 given out earlier to a whooping L$1,000, while Liz raised the 2nd and 3rd prizes to L$500 and L$300 respectively. It was like a bonus for those who stayed on since the odds of winning are now higher with fewer players around. Not bad since the game was set it up to just 30 minutes. Half the time but double the prize! It was the highest prize ever given to a half hour game much to the delight of our fellow fishers.

Thisbe Blackadder who was 4th in the earlier match won 1st place this time! A big paycheck for a demure and shy fisher. Luck must have come from her crayfish hat... or perhaps her shiny blueish skin? Cheers Thisbe!

Just like the first game, no one left empty handed though FREE bait did not apply to this 30 minute game. It was a quick way to gain SL bucks, thanks so to our lovely hostesses who gave away prizes so generously.

The two game tournament was over in less than 2 hours. With everything going out so smoothly, thoughts of having to host another tournament in the future was imminent.

To Lisa and Liz (in behalf of Dre who couldn't make it), a job well done sweethearts! And to all of those who have made this event possible, a big warm thanks from us all!

In the boards!... Ironically Liz and I were among the top 5 contestants. Having to see your name up there gives you a sense of consolation, in case you are not on the top 3.

Until next time me hearties! Kudoz!