So last night I took the plunge.  I got my very own SIM!

Before you start to congratulate me, let me explain.    I have been playing around with all the different viewers recently, and exploring some of the other "grids" available out there.   I had a long talk with a friend about inWorldz for example, and even spent some time on OSGrid.  It was strangely reminiscent of my early days in SL, but it did have an air of excitement to it.

During my chat, I mentioned how great it would be to have a SIM that I could load on my home network to build stuff on.  I was promptly given a link to such a beast!  I could not believe it!

Of course I downloaded it right away!  700megs and 1 burned CD later, I booted up one of the "spare" computers I had laying around, and VIOLA!  I had my very own SIM!

Since I use the Rainbow and Imprudence viewers almost exclusively, it was very easy to connect to my new SIM!  A quick login, and BOOM!  There I was, my own island in the world.  All those prims and room, JUST FOR ME!

Now  granted, this little world is pretty darn small.  This SIM is not connected to anything, so all I can do is walk around.  Even that was a little sketchy.  I mean, it IS OpenSIM.

Don't get me wrong, I completely support OpenSIM.  It just is not up to SL status yet but I have no doubt it will get there someday.  When someday will be here, I have no idea.  But I like that it is completely open sourced, so if other open source projects are any indication, at some point it will really start to take off.

I was thinking about what this could mean.  Imagine you are content creator, and you have your own private sim you can build on, upload textures too for testing, and all without any charges.  I am not sure there is a way to transfer stuff from OpenSIM over to SL just yet (I have not researched it much), but I would say if there is not, I bet that eventually there will be.  The possibilities are really amazing.

So while I actually DO have my own private SIM, it is kinda like owning the same car you had when you first got your license to drive.  Definitely some fond memories of those times, but not sure I would use it for everyday stuff...YET!

For those of you who like to see what might be possible, and an extra computer laying around, here is the link to this neat little project.

Also, some more information about OpenSIM

OpenSIM Main Site

Get your Geek on!

You can dance if you want to... can leave your friends behind.  

I was catching up on some TV shows tonight, and I was able to watch the latest installment of Glee (Dream On episode).   It had a song in it that came out when I was in high school.   The Safety Dance.   It was a one hit wonder for the group Men Without Hats, but we sure loved the song, and the group name actually inspired a few friends of mine and I to form our own little group.   I will refrain from going into that more at this point.

Anyway, I thought the timing was interesting, because not just the night before I went out dance shopping.   I am very picky on what dances I will use for my avatar.   There are some really great dances available in SL these days, but most of them make my avatar look a little too feminine.   I actually enjoy watching all the ladies use them, cause they look great, but I don't like them on me.   So up until last night, I had my standard 4 dances that seem to fit my personality pretty well.

My favorite place for guy dances is Akeyo.   I always try there first.   This particular nights shopping adventure started at 3fx.  3fx really does have an amazing assortment of not only single dances, but couples dances as well.   I highly recommend you take a look there if you need to add some new dances to your repertoire.  After checking out the new couples dances, there I was back at Akeyo.

One of the other things I have been meaning to do was tweak my AO a little bit.   I have a few stands that I am not wild about, and I always like to look around for some new ones to add in to freshen it up a bit.   The first thing I notices when I arrived at Akeyo was the new AO vendors, so I decided to take a look.

I hopped on the vendor and started to cycle through the animations.   Most I liked, some I have seen too much of recently, or the stand just moved a little too much for my taste.  I kept going back and forth, trying to narrow down which ones I liked.  I finally just decided to get the whole AO, so I could play with all of them on my own time, and not take up the vendor for hours on end.  So I plopped down the $1,800 lindens for the Rudeboy AO.

I checked out some of the new dance moves that had arrived, bought a few of those, then headed home.   I unpacked my new purchase, and immediately wore the new AO.   I had to laugh because just that morning I was teasing a friend about wearing 2 AO's, and here I was doing just that.  Like can be kinda funny that way.  I noticed a few things right away on this new AO.

First, my first impression of the HUD was good.   It defaults to the upper left hand corner of my screen, where I do not usually have anything anyway.   It is horizontal, as opposed to vertical as so many AO HUDs are.  There were quite a few buttons I needed to explore, but the standard ones were there (Stand, Sit Override, Ground Sit).   One new thing I found was the "Dance" button, which is not uncommon these days, but my current AO does not have that option.   I use a huddles HUD for my dances, and I will probably keep using it for the features that it has on loading different sets of animations.   I am not always dancing in a club, so it's nice to be able to load up a few casual dances if I am listening to some live music.

Anyway, so I was playing around with my new AO HUD, and I figured I would add my new dances to it, just to experiment.   This is where I found the neatest part.   Up until now, when I had to configure an AO, it was all about editing a notecard to tell the AO what animations to use for what.   This Rudeboy AO did not have ANY notecards in it at all.  So I went exploring around to see exactly how I was supposed to get this all to work.

As a guy, I always try to see if I can figure stuff out before I fall back on reading the directions.   This time was no different.   But based on past experience, I knew that I would have to drop the AO onto the ground before I could add anything to it.   So, with it sitting in the sand on my beach, I dragged my 4 new dances into the AO.

All of a sudden, I saw in my chat history that the AO had detected I had added some new animations.   This is not really all that new, but what was really interesting was that it was able to automatically determine what catagory to put them in!   I have to say, that was impressive.   I am pretty sure that it was able to figure this out by using the names as a clue, because it was Akeyo dances I added.  BUT...I have to say, it was nice to see some thought put into how this HUD worked.

I poked around a bit more, thinking that it would not be able to automagically know where to put ALL the animations throughout SL.   What I found out was actually pretty ingenious I think.   There is a "reconfigure" button on the AO (you have to expand

I am not sure if I am quite ready to give up my Vista AO quite yet.  My original plan was to strip the animations out of the Rudeboy AO and add the stands I liked to my Vista.  After playing with the Akeyo AO for a little bit, I am not sure if that plan will still be my plan A or not.  Who knows, maybe I will try out this 2 AO thing a little.

I am always happy to see progress made in making our lives in this world a bit easier.   The process of setting up an AO has been one of those things that is rarely attempted in the first months of being in SL.   Even veterans of this world tend to not change AO's very often because of the effort required to do it.   With the system that artoo Magneto has created with the Akeyo AO's, I can see a time very soon where changing your AO becomes even more commonplace, and done much earlier in a persons Second Life.

So once again Akeyo has come through for me.   I was able to find a few more dances that seem to suit me, and some new AO stands to liven up my current AO a bit.   

Now if I can only find the dance that Aritie did at the mall.   

*Helpful Info

Akeyo_PowerAO_Rudeboy (v1.5) - $1,800 lindens


A small shift...

I came to realize a short while ago, that while this blog was originally designed to be a place to talk about all stuff Second Life, that more recently I have been using more for general musings.  I wanted to get this particular blog back to my original intent, so I have made a small change.

I have started a "personal" blog, located over at Al Unplugged 

As I have mentioned in previous entries on this blog, writing has really been a great outlet for me.   I want to do more of it, but I also do not want this particular blog to wander too far away from its original intent.  This blog will still have thoughts, but those thoughts will be specifically about Second Life. 

There is much to discover about Second Life, and my goal is to write about that.   Anything else that I might feel noteworthy, will be over on Al Unplugged

I hope you find at least one of these blogs worthy of your precious time.

I thank you for all the comments I have received so far.   I do appreciate them more than you know.

- Al

Being self critical.

***Please Note - This entry is mostly about RL, and I only put it here because it is a bit long for a Plurk ( so I just decided to put it here.  If you have no interest in reading something a little bout my RL, then I direct you back to whatever you were doing before.  :)***

As some of you already know, I am a part time DJ.  I do mostly weddings, but I also do school dances, corporate parties, birthday parties etc.  I have been doing it for about 4 years now, and I get lots of compliments on my events.  There have been up to 6 DJ's total working for the company I currently work for, and I have been the top tip earner for 3 years straight.

When you work alone on stuff like this, it is hard to see what you might improve on, because I don't see other DJ's do their thing.  I try and catch other events when I am not working, but it doesn't always work out for me to catch other DJ's doing thier thing.  I always strive to improve my work, so most of the time I am left with sefl evaluation only.

This past weekend I was able to help chaperone our local high schools Jr/Sr Prom.  My wife was in charge of the event, and even though they decided to NOT hire me for it (mock indignation inserted here), my event of that day ended early enough so I was able to come over and be there for the last 2.5 hours or so.  This gave me a very good sampling of how the DJ they did hire does his events.

Without going into too many details, I was not impressed.  His setup was not done right.  His speakers were too low, so while the base was able to be heard properly, his mids and highs were hidden behind a wall of kids, so the sound was not able to travel very far.  This made the music sound very muddled to most of the room.  I was able to get a good look at his setup from behind also.  All I could say was  Are you planning on using those turntables?   Are ya gonna scratch for us?   *shakes his head.

Even before I checked out his rig, I was listening to him.  His presentation was very broken.  He did not flow very well on the microphone.  Now I realize not many people would notice things like this, but it stood out to me right away.   He also had too much dead air between songs.  If you are trying to keep people dancing, you want to keep the music flowing.

At one point, the DJ instructed the kids to bring all the chaperone's out onto the dance floor.  My wife and I were standing over near the entrance, and about 20 kids ran over and grabbed both of us and pushed us onto the dance floor.  We even got the principle to come out and do a fun dance.  After we did our cute little dance, things just kinda stagnated.  Much to the chagrin of my wife, I asked the DJ if I could have the microphone.  He happily handed it over, not realizing what I was up to.

I started talking to the kids, getting them yelling, pumping them up.  I got them clapping, stomping, while my wife had the DJ cue up a song for me.   Just as I got the kids to a fever pitch, I queued the DJ, and we all exploded into a very fun dance.  The dance floor was just going crazy.  Wifey and I danced 2 more songs, then went back to our duties.   The dance floor settled back down into a steady group of dancers, and kept going for about anothe hour or so.

Overall, I do not think the DJ did a bad job.  It was just, nothing special.   His selection of music was appropriate for the most part.   There were only a few songs that I thought "really?  why would you play that".  And watching the kids on the dancefloor, I would say that overall they had a good time.   I did overhear the DJ talking to one of the event staff afterwards, complaining about how hard this event was, given that the school administration was fairly strick on the playlist.   Once again, to myself I was thinking "really?  hard?  are you kidding me?"

It is not often I get to compare myself to others in my profession, and I would definitly not put that DJ as somebody to try and emulate, but seeing how he did his job, I can look for other areas to improve my work, and not worry quite so much about some of the basic stuff I had worried about in the past.

So not only did wifey's prom go off very well, I ended up feeling pretty darn good about what I do, and how I do it.

Ok, I am done patting myself on the back now.

Happy Tuesday everybody!

Honest is the best policy....


I do try and be honest.   It's not always easy, and I don't always succeed at it.  Sometimes I am not honest because I think that being honest would just hurt someones feelings, or because I don't think it will accomplish anything.

I have had a few instances over the last several months, where I decided I didn't care about the consequences, and I was brutally honest with someone.  It was not the "I hate your shoes" type of honesty, but more of "This is how I felt about what you did".  I was hurt by something, and even though it was MY hurt, and I did not "blame" the other person for my hurt, for some reason I was driven to make sure they knew about it.

The funny thing is, that after I expressed my "feelings" on the issue, I noticed that my anger and frustration about that particular situation seemed to diminish greatly.   I should qualify this, cause this "discussion" I had was not in any sort of public forum.   It was a private conversation.   We were having a discussion and while it started out as a casual conversation, it turned to a subject I was not happy with, and I brought up how I was feeling.

Anyway, I did find it interesting how much my "pent up" anger and frustration was now gone after that particular conversation.  For the most part, I do not "fight" with people.   I honestly feel that words spoken in anger do more harm than good.  I would like to think that in this particular instance, that while I was "angry", what I expressed was not a just said to spite someone, but was a true expression of how something made me feel.

I don't think this experience is going to make me start going around telling everybody about how something makes me feel, but I think I might be a little more open to, given the right circumstance, express my "feelings" about something to help me process through it, and then let it go.

It is interesting however, to note that while talking to others about an "issue" can be helpful (i.e. bff's, significant others, therapists etc), I think it is not quite the same as actually telling the person you have the "issue" with.   This is not always possible, and usually can lead to more arguements.   I don't recommend just blindly going out and telling every person you have "issues" with exactly how you feel about them, because truely the "issues" are with you.   But if there is someone in your life that you are "angry" with, and you think you have a good handle on "why" you are angry (i.e. what is it that you are "really" angry about), if that person is important enough to you, you might be able to have that conversation about it, and then maybe you can get past it and start moving forward again.

Most people are not able to handle someone telling them exactly how they felt about something they did.    Most will get defensive and take it like an attack on them, which kinda defeats the purpose.  This personal experience however, has made me realize that even if I am listening to someone tell me how something I did made them feel bad, or angry, or sad, or whatever, it is important to let them express those feelings, because while I cannot undo something that I might have done, hopefully by being honest with me about it, it will not fester and become something much bigger than it has to be.  Unresolved anger/frustration is nothing but a cancer that eats away at our very soul, so I hope I can be a better friend/husband/father by taking what people might tell me, and hearing it for what it truly is, an opportunity for growth.

I can always hope, right?

Happy Friday everybody!

Those special moments.

We all have them.   Sometimes they are shared with others, sometimes not.   Sometimes it is just a moment when the world is not banging down your door, and you can just be.  Those moments where you are not thinking about what you have to get done that day, or the next, or what you are gonna make for dinner, or any of those daily things.

It is a time to let your mind wander a little.  Maybe even reflect a little bit.  Think about where you are, and where you might be going.

Some people dread these moments.   It can be a reminder of how things are not going the way they want.  Others just ignore these moments, because they are too "busy" to even take a few to   I try and recognize these moments as often as possible.

I tend to be the last person awake in my house.   I would not call me a nightowl, but I stay up later than the rest of my family.   Sometimes I wonder if it is the guardian in me, making sure everybody is where they are suppose to be, safe and sound before I finally rest from the day.   Whatever the reason, I do get more "moments" because of it.

The other day, we had a rainstorm come through.   We don't get many were I live, so when I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, it really did make me smile.   I woke up a bit earlier than normal, and put on my thick robe and went out on our back deck and just sat down in the chair.  Our house faces west, so from the back yard we get a direct view of our sunrises.

It was early enough so that most of the surrounding world was not really moving yet.   I had about 20 minutes of just listening to what was going on around me, and letting my mind just ride the universe.   The sounds, the smells, everything about it was just...there.   I was just...there.    I love those moments.

It is during those moments, what I personally take stock in my life.   I look at what I have done, what I am doing, and what I have planned for my future.   While my life is not perfect, I do have to say, I am a very lucky man.  When I look at where I am, I feel that while I might not be exactly where I want to be in my life....I am not far off, and I am very happy with the people I have surrounding me.   

So after recognizing my moment, and enjoying it for what it was, the moment was gone, and I started my day like any other.  On this particular day however, I had a little wider of a smile, because I was comfortable with what I saw during my "moment".

I hope you have your own moments.  Whether you use them to redirect yourself, or to just remember to appreciate what you have, I hope you take advantage of these "moments" when they present themselves.

I have not been doing much SL photography recently, and I have really missed it.   I have wanted to capture one of these "moments", and with the help of my plurk friends, found the items I needed to create a visual of a "moment".  I did not do any post processing on this shot, but I thought it captures that idea pretty well.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everybody!