Mariner’s Isle and Airstrip

I’ve begun to venture further and further with my flying. The B-17 (Flying Fortress) is a great long-range, high-altitude plane for exploring. It can be a challenge in tight quarters, but if I plan my route with some care, I can manage.

My latest find is Mariner’s Isle and Airstrip. It’s a long flight from Hollywood Airport, where I normally take off, and I fly at least 300 meters high to avoid the clutter at lower altitudes. I can make the trip almost entirely over open water, which helps avoid security orbs. The only exception is the sim Rollo, pictured here. The best path I’ve found is to stay between 300 meters and 400 meters. There is a sky-world between 400 meters and 500 meters that you will want to avoid.

After making it through Rollo, or perhaps, before that, cut throttle and begin the rather rapid decent to the 46 meter runway altitude. If you run out of time, before you get to the airport, there is plenty of open sea to the east to circle around while you drain altitude. Also, there is plenty of open sea for a straight approach to the runway. No need for a swooping, curving approach.

Once there, check out the bar and grill at the end of the turn-off from the runway. Be sure to head down the steps to the left of the runway (on the approach side). There is a cove and a white sand beach with a dock. Nestled in the cove is a charming little boathouse.

If you are up for a challenge, see if you can get on the board for “Top 100 Landings.” I’ve managed to get to #25 on list, which is pretty good with the plane I have. The Flying Fortress is a tail dragger, and the scoring systems in use at most airports penalize heavily for “nose down” landings. With a tail dragger, you can’t pull your nose up in a landing flare like you can with other aircraft. If you do, you might damage the tail or smash the tail wheel off.

If you want to visit this wonderful airport just head to this point — http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wyrldmaker/33/165/46

Blue Skies!

Landing at Second Norway Lufthavn

secondnorwaylandingI recently discovered Second Norway Lufthavn  in Second Life. This huge airport covers 7 sims and offers separate runways for approaches and takeoffs. If you pilot a plane, and haven’t visited there yet, be sure to do so soon.

Airport SLURL 

Despite a long stretch of open water on the Blake Sea, I’ve found landing there quite challenging. I’d strongly recommend checking out the landing advisories at the aviation wiki page.

A feature I really like is the landing rating advisory. Once you touch down, a message is sent to local chat with your landing score. Touching the runway then gives detail on how the score was computed. After many, many tries, I finally scored 94% with my B-17 Flying Fortress! Woohoo!

Your avatar is just way too complex

Some love it. Some hate it. Linden Labs released its new avatar complexity features in May 2016. It has gone largely unnoticed until Firestorm included those features in the latest version of its viewer. Suddenly, people began seeing jelly dolls, or were told that they looked like one.

I like the features. I have an underpowered computer. So much so that some wonder how I function in SL (or why I even bother). Regardless, I have to deal with this machine for a while longer until I can afford a new one. The complexity tools allow me deal with crowded sims without seriously degrading my enjoyment. I can create different settings for different scenarios, and switch between them easily. If I want to make an exception for a friend, I can do so as well.

Some have said this is a sign of the end of times for SL–that Linden Labs is just trying to limp by with its old technology until Sansar is ready for public release. Others say they are upset that they have put so much work into their avatars, only to be scolded by those with under-powercomplex-avatars.pnged computers (like mine).

Both positions have their merits. However, the fact remains that some avatars demand far more than their fair share of resources. I can find little relationship between the complexity of avatars and their appearance–somewhat like the way an expensive bottle of wine can taste like swill, while a cheap one can be heavenly. There are great looking avatars that have complexity scores under 100,000. There are awful ones with scores of 250,000 or more–and, even a few with scores over 500,000.

Take a look at the avatars pictured here. There is nothing special about the avatars, the clothing, or the attachments, but, each has a very high (in my opinion) complexity score. In both cases, my viewer was set to show sculpt metadata (hence the cloud of texture sizes displayed in the example on the right). The one on the right is a more common case. It shows the over-use of sculpted prims that persists despite the ability to create the same objects more efficiently. The one on the left (with no sculpts) is a bit of a mystery to me. I believe it may be a good example of how not to do mesh in SL. Unfortunately, I lack the technical chops to understand this one.

You may be upset that you have spent so much money and time to look great, only to be hounded for being too complex. But, if you look like one of the avatars above, you deserve to be hounded for it. I’ve seen equally (if not more) attractive avatars that have complexity scores between 80,000 and 100,000. I’m even pretty forgiving for scores over that. I keep my complexity slider at about 220,000. At that setting, I see most avatars fully rezzed around me.

So, to all you with overly-complex avatars–sorry, get over it. This feature is not going away. Some of us have what you may consider to be woefully under-powered computers. Too bad. Unless you want to buy me a new one, STFU about it. An overwhelming majority of other avatars demonstrate quite clearly that far more can be done with lower complexity.

Flying in SL

coming-in-for-a-landing
Ha ha! Yes, I know, that as a butterfly, flying should no big deal to me. But I do love flying planes in SL. Some like to shop as a stress relief. For me, I head to Hollywood Airport, rev up my Cub seaplane, and head for the skies over the Blake Sea. I have a few planes in SL, but, this one little seaplane is my favorite.

It’s easy to fly, but, you do need at least a rudimentary knowledge of what keeps a plane in the air. You can’t just pull back on the stick and climb to your heart’s content. You have to make sure you maintain enough speed to generate enough lift over the wings. Basic stuff, but many planes in SL do a poor job of that kind of realism.

A seaplane works best for me. Dealing with lag in SL makes it hard to hit a runway with any consistency. In a seaplane, as long as I have clear water ahead, I can land without too much trouble. It’s a great plane for exploring. I can land just about anywhere, explore for a bit on land, and, when done, hop back in my plane and take off for the next spot.

Heading out for a Bit

Pilot butterflyToday, I head out into wide open skies. I have inspected the Iron Butterfly one last time, and, she is ready, and, so am I. Ancient drumbeats call me from far away. I cannot ignore them any longer. I will follow them. I will likely return soon, but, I am making no plans right now. My nature is that of the butterfly in the song that my great grandmother sang as she placed the feather talisman in my hand and whispered “gah ai u nai, shrew ai u nai,” or, as best it may translate “fly butterfly, fly.”

— Rainbow

My New Fluttering Grounds

I have moved into a much smaller space than I have ever had in second life. I could no longer justify the tier that I paid every week for land that I barely used. I had grown used to the prims that larger parcels allow, but, I finally admitted to myself that I really would never build much in Second Life.

aerial-view

Three platforms floating high in the sky. A perfect spot for a butterfly.

I have dabbled with simple projects, and I still like to modify objects and scripts to my liking. However, I would rather spend my time in SL talking with others, exploring, and just having fun.

The hard part was finding small, cheap land, that allowed full control, and which had sufficient prims for a small house and a few other items. I have had a small airship for a while, and, I wanted to use that as my house. It has a bed, some chairs, and a media player.

I quickly realized that a small parcel would likely be bordered by ugly neighboring buildings at ground level, so, I decided to move up into the sky. At a thousand meters, I would be less likely to have to look at my neighbor’s houses, or to have to deal with ugly ban lines and security.

airship-parking

Plenty of room for the Iron Butterfly. My home and my primary means of transport–other than my wings that is.

I tried building my own flat platform. That worked OK for a while. It gave me a chance to move out of my old place and get something set up quickly that I could live in. But, it didn’t feel right. It was bright and bland, and the mix of styles bothered me to the point of distraction.

My ship is clearly steampunk in its style, and, I knew I wanted to keep that. That led me to a search on Marketplace, where I found these lovely floating platforms. Their curved shapes and metallic textures pleased me so much more than the platform I had built. Each platform has a chamber underneath with impressive sparking electrical displays.

long-view

The three offset levels create a sense of interest for me. I love spiral staircases.

Also, each has a working propeller. I like the idea that sky platforms have at least a plausible explanation of how they stay in the air. I’m not fond of platforms that hang in the sky with no visible means of support.

My parcel is small, so, to fit three platforms within its boundaries required placing each at a different level and allowing the edges to overlap. I didn’t mind that though. The stepped layout seems more interesting, and it let me add some spiral staircases between the levels. I found some mesh stairs with full permissions, and I am quite pleased with the result.

Laying it all out posed many challenges. I spent about two days pushing everything around. I wanted to make sure my platforms stayed on my property, but I also had to watch that the propeller blades would not slice through other objects or pose a threat to those walking by.

garden

A romantic spot with lots of flowers.

My other challenge was that, for some reason, I want to be able to walk all the way around my ship. It just doesn’t seem right if I can’t because the ship is backed up against a wall or something.

Finally, but, most importantly, I wanted this to be a romantic spot that would convey some sense of permanence. There are flowers, trees, and grass on the middle platform. While my ship could take off at a moments notice, it remains parked for now. This butterfly has found a place to settle down and call home.

Second Life Social Network – Beware

Update (11/05/2015): The URL secondlifesn.com now takes you to a Spanish language shopping site. The site (in it’s previous incarnation as a Facebook clone targeted to SL avatars) was dark for most of August, possibly owing to a shut down notice from Linden Labs. The Android app was available on the Play Store until recently (Still available on 10/31/2015). There were numerous complaints about the app either displaying nothing but a white screen or about it having nothing to do with Second Life. It wasn’t really even an app. It simply called the website in a browser window. After about a month of complaints, the app finally disappeared from the Play Store. The server that the domain is pointed to has evidently been repurposed for a shopping site of some sort. While not necessarily a scam, it is getting awfully irresponsible for the owner of the domain to leave it pointing to a site that has nothing to do with Second Life.

There’s a new website for something called the Second Life Social Network (secondlifesn.com). Don’t fall for it. Even if it was put up with good intentions, it probably won’t last. My guess is that Linden Labs will claim trademark violation, if it hasn’t already. Also, the potential for abuse is extremely high.

This new service has no connection to Linden Labs. It runs on a server run by an unknown entity that provides no credible assurance of privacy. At the very least, you will associate your IP address with your avatar name to whomever runs the server.

The lack of sufficient disclaimers makes it likely that some will use their SL username and password to attempt to log on. It is clear from reading the reviews posted for the Android app that this is the case. While it is true that there is a note saying you don’t have to use your SL password to sign up, the message should be stronger. It should warn users not to do so. There also needs to be a note on the sign up page that clearly states that this is not a Linden Labs run service.

I’m not accusing the creator of this with any bad intent, but, the implementation is sloppy and irresponsible.

You aren’t INTJ, you’re just an a-hole

no-mbtiI am starting to see a lot profiles that proudly proclaim the person behind an avatar in Second Life to be an INTJ. For those lucky few who have not been subjected to this psychobabble, INTJ is one of the sixteen psychological types identified by the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) test. This 100 year old test, based on a flawed understanding of the work of psychiatrist Carl Jung, has wormed its way into our world. It has a particularly tight grip on brain-dead CEOs who employ it with abandon to help them hire more brain-dead nitwits like themselves.

Jung resisted the idea of sticking “labels on people at first sight,” and said further that to do so was nothing but “a childish parlor game.” Despite claims to the contrary, Jung did not hold to the notion that types were easily identifiable.

Others criticisms of MBTI are that it is unscientific and unreliable. The sixteen types seem pulled out of thin air, and one researcher determined that subsequent tests by the same individual had about a 50 percent chance of producing a different result.

So, what is with all these people in SL who claim to be INTJ? After all, a true INTJ resists labels and titles and wishes instead to be judged by the strength and logic of the arguments he/she puts forth. The rational and analytical nature of an INTJ should compel one to call out MBTI for the utter BS that it is. Oddly too, INTJ is supposed to be a rare type, so, the sheer number of those who claim to be this type is by its nature suspicious.

Read the description of an INTJ, and you can see why many may be attracted to the label. There are many positive qualities. An INTJ may be logical, independent, pragmatic, and creative. On the down side, they may seem cold, distant, or even arrogant.

estimated_frequency_table

Frequency of types (source: myersbriggs.org)

This next fact may be a disappointment to some. The INTJ type is not the rarest type. The chart included here was published on myersbriggs.org. The type INFJ is clearly less common. The types ENTJ and ENTP are close to INTJ. For a group that portends to adhere strictly to facts, the INTJ crowd seems filled with those who ignore this one.

My guess is that a lot of these INTJ wannabes are people who know that they are recalcitrant assholes. Clinging to the notion that they are INTJ frees them of the responsibility of facing this. It’s as though they are saying, “hey, I can’t help it. My incredible brilliance and creativity require me to act this way.”

Perhaps. But, maybe you really are just an asshole.

Don’t say ‘hi’ to me.

profileI’ve never understood this thing of not wanting people to start a conversation with ‘hi’ or ‘hello.’ It is in so many profiles though. How do these people start their conversations?

OK, I can give a partial answer. They don’t. They never talk — not in IM, not in local. They just stand there waiting for someone to say something to them.

I’m guessing they stand around a long time waiting for that and probably fuss and fume behind their keyboards about how unfriendly everyone else is.