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Blog by Ina Centaur » Uncategorized


The SL Globe Theatre becoming a SL Historic Venue?

Written by ina on Friday, 9 of September , 2011 at 11:13 pm

If I hadn’t talked to Rod Humble in person at an academic conference in April…

Back in May, this was one of the last things I expected - nigh on impossible, given the history of SL history being as ephemeral as pixie dust, more so, even. You build something, you let it rez in a sandbox until auto-return kicks in, and you hope to the non-existent SL God that it won’t get axed by random-inventory-deletion (the aggregate bane of an unruly SQL database). For those who have an inkling for a life of indentured servitude to paying tier, you get a small break from paying real cash for a bit of virtual territory (really, a few meagre rows in an unruly SQL database, somewhere).

Some people like comparing RL to SL — in RL, you get kicked out if you can’t pay your rent, but if you pay it for long enough, your house becomes a historic venue, that no one can knock down (at least, that’s the law in California). In SL, there’s no safety net. Even after you’ve paid your rent for thousands of Internet years, everything might go poof *irreversibly* when some intern deactivates your simulators — even if you actually paid for them.

There were a few weeks when I received numerous emails from Primtings supporters asking about Primtings — “is it really gone? :-(”. A mistake was made, and Linden Lab (weeks later) apologized for it, and gave me some “time back”. The official date (go figure on a formula for SL SLA) is October 29. But, I’m side-stepping from my story — and the point of this post.

Shortly after I sent my messages to Primtings and Shakespeare patrons, two Linden Lab employees individually told me that something like this was coming along. Soon, then-Executive Director of Marketing of Linden Lab, Amanda van Nuys then announced her plans to me: “Globe Theater!! Let’s Bring it Back–At No Charge. Yes, Really… We are interested in bringing it back (at no charge) for a few months until you potentially receive an LEA grant that would extend your free membership.”

Unfortunately, days after Amanda told me she had it all worked out, she was fired.

At this point, I’d say the best analogy of SL to the Matrix is that the LL employees each act like one of those uncertain Agents from the Matrix — they operate independently, with their own agenda’s. If this is a true aggregate trend, I suppose there must have been something like a coup or a multi-threaded coup of sorts, that spawned the mass firing of dozens of LL employees just a short while ago. Reminds me of McCarthy. Anyway!

After Amanda’s departure, it was impossible to get in contact with the new director of marketing. They directed everything to LL’s Titanic-legendary Customer Support. They pretended like they did not know anything about Amanda’s agenda.

But, the thing I really don’t appreciate is that CEO Rod Humble, cc’d in all emails, would not comment at all.

Back in April, I caught up with Rod at a UCSC Game Development conference. Being an academic conference, in the gaming industry, the conference was held at a community center in Milpitas. There were undergrads milling about all over, so it was hard trying to find a place to talk. We finally sat down on a loveseat by the window.

I talked briefly about Shakespeare and virtual theatre, the miracle about a totally “for the good” nonprofit educational-historic-arts project having gained the traction of thousands of SL supporters, enough to actually pay “draconian tier”! I also expressed that, in our brief run, we’ve received many requests by LL marketing folks, et al, for usage of our imagery. These were never the powers that be, so there was always one crucial thing they couldn’t help us with. It was the one thing that’d make us happily say yes — it was a guarantee that we wouldn’t ever be put in the spot to have to disappoint our audience right after LL mass PR, a safety against our constant fear of disappearing when we can’t raise enough to pay tier.

It’s a struggle paying tier for sims designed for good, rather than for commerce, but we would be fully able to cooperate with Marketing, if only we could have some certainty and help with that. I was very easy about things, making it clear that we’d be willing to work with just tier amnesty — and this Shakespeare content has been valued at hundreds of times more, so it should be of interest to them, too. Rod said he’d bring it up with the Board, talk to Marketing about it.

So, weeks later… I thought Amanda was doing what the Board or Rod Humble or however-the-heck LL management works had approved.

Assuming that Linden Lab needed some time to recover from having to restructure, I returned the favor — a moratorium on all official talks about what happened. I even stopped updating the blog’s, holding my breath, hoping that I’d be able to give people the good news that Linden Lab would be able to help in. But now that they’ve had more than three months to figure things out, well, it’s nigh on time that they start giving me my answers.

I’m asking again if there is any update on:

1) Now that the new executive director of marketing has had some time to settle in, have they been able to look at any of Amanda van Nuys’ efforts in cross-marketing/tier amnesty program, especially with regards to the preservation of the 4-sim SL Globe Theatre?

2) If not, could Rod at least write me a one liner email or tweet saying that it’s not going to happen? I understand how things don’t always work out, but Rod Humble gave me his word that he would speak to marketing about working out something to help save Shakespeare, and the least he could do is tell me what happened — even if it’s nothing to be hopeful about.

The second point would be the most important one. If it’s not possible for the head honcho of Linden Lab to keep his word, then there really is no point in trying to do anything in Second Life.

… And that explains why I haven’t been in SL for the past few months. I hope that I’d have reason to return, but it’s really up to Linden Lab.

Category: Uncategorized

Shakespeare and Primtings deletion due to an admin mess, but what can we do?

Written by ina on Sunday, 19 of June , 2011 at 11:02 pm

Long story short, it’s an admin mixup on both parts. I made the false hope belief that there was some sort of tier amnesty granted for why the sims weren’t deleted immediately months ago. Then I requested that the sims be transferred to month to month so the next fundraising cycle wouldn’t be as arduous as the one from earlier this year.

In transferring my islands from invoicing to month-to-month (IC account), the overdue from the other two sims were transferred to my account. The overdue was enough to trigger the account lock. And then the chaos ensued.

It’s true I never formally submitted a sim cancellation request for the other two sims, but all this time, I was under the false hope that LL had somehow gotten my message and was silently seeing some sort of tier amnesty.

And, it’s not even a new idea.  Since 2008, various LL  folks have been asking to use SL Shakespeare imagery for LL PR. Since we were breaking backs trying to fundraise US $1200 a month for a true-to-arts nonprofit, the natural thing to ask was, “Well, that’s cool, but could you help with tier amnesty?” And that usually ended the conversation… until another LL rep comes by with the same idea. Unfortunately, none of them were high enough up in the ranks to do anything about it.

Right now, the issue stands that Primtings and Shakespeare regions are prepaid 6 months until August 22 at $295/region/month.  That’s $3,540 paid to Linden Lab, and apparently they won’t honor the prepay because of the other two sims.

In addition, I prepaid for a premium account that doesn’t expire until Feb 2012, but my account is disabled, and I can’t even access my transaction history, or try exchanging the $L into USD to try paying off this unexpected weight.

For everyone who’s saying it’s in LL’s right to charge, well, sure, but if it’s all about the money, then it’d be nice if LL would honor what people paid you already for. And, yes, it was irresponsible of me to hope that Linden Lab might actually care. But, it’s classic of them to just hit the kill button due to an administrative billing error. 

And that’s the way things go.

Category: Uncategorized

June 4, 2011 - I stand in front of the tanks of Linden Lab…

Written by ina on Saturday, 4 of June , 2011 at 2:10 am

ina centaur standing against the destruction of her second life

Twenty one years ago on June 4, a lone soul walked in front of forces much greater than himself, and gave his life in defense of what he believed in.

Today, I am doomed to join him.

~ fin ~

Several years ago, when I was twenty, I was diagnosed with two terminal diseases. One of them had a world record cap of 20 odd years or so, and the other much shorter.

Coming from a science background, where I had the tools at my capacity, I didn’t want to drain the remainder of my life on a futile cause of finding that double cure. I wanted to go for something that I thought I had a better chance at.

But, the truth was, I wanted to create something that would instill wonder in people — regular people, not just sick people — if they chanced to see it — and that that might last.

Foolishly, I thought that creating mShakespeare and sLiterary was the way to go. sLiterary, in spirit, tried to create “what Second Life could be.” After establishing a four sim infrastructure, sLiterary tried fundraising for inworld artistic endeavors — to create a good within Second Life for the world to thrive from, “not to channel funds to an overfunded RL cause.” It’s the belief that wherever you are, however ill you are, whatever stage you are in life, what you see on Second Life might be able to change your life for the better — it might inspire you, it might make you believe something you thought impossible was actually possible, it might even make you smile.

The Metaverse Shakespeare Company - aka mShakespeare - aka SL Shakespeare Company — grew out of that source of wonder. Primtings Museum was bootstrapped from that branding, and became self-sufficient on tier, to run an art gallery of 3d paintings where the exhibits are selected based on merit, and then offered a permanent space at no expense to the artist. It’s an ideal that once had no place in this world, or the virtual — merit above material. In fighting for funds just to pay tier, especially given the recent impossibility of RL USA arts grant funds for a Second Life endeavor, we had to resort to our community — thus, arose the SOS campaign, a grid-wide network of donation kiosks to save Shakespeare.

The fact that at one point in time, we managed to raise the funds to support these four sims was miraculous. For the briefest moments, I held onto the hope that my virtual endeavors might survive me.

And then came the end of 2010, and given less than three month’s notice on the nonprofit private region cost increases. A model that barely worked prior to this, now had to expand to pay double the price. That was the beginning of the end, as I started lopping off the buildings of the sLiterary sim, to rent out land.

With the increase in nonprofit tier costs, I requested that the bill be switched from 6-month prepay to month-to-month. There was grave uncertainty on whether Primtings Campaign would be able to raise US$1770 to pay the 6month prepay invoice (but, miraculously, it did). It took the bulk of mShakespeare patrons to support Primtings, so then Shakespeare tier had to be split among shareholders, instead of fundraised. Throughout, I was unable to get a response from LL support on that support ticket that’s now over three months old. (Concierge deferred to the ticket, and the ticket took forever to process.) When I finally did, it was only after complaining to two Linden Lab employees hiding in the Khronos booth at GDC, and then stalking Rod Humble down at an academic conference. And the results were essentially that I’m now due for the chopping block.

The mess of billing misconfiguration and the impossibility to switch back is simply epidemic. Moreover, it’s inevitable that, no matter what, it’d all comes to a crashing end. But, it drives home the message that I guess I was just too dumb to figure out — you’re fighting too hard, and you know it in your guts that it won’t work out.

This artistic wonder I tried creating on Second Life can’t survive in the very environment that gave birth to it. There are minions assigned to rid things like that there — the operators whose jobs are to deactivate sims and deactivate accounts, irrespective of their content. Blindly, like soldiers following orders to kill.

And yet, these sims — it’s everything I stood for. So, in the end, it all snaps into place. Ina Centaur, before the tanks of Linden Lab…

Just a number. Just statistics. The life of a cancer patient, the odds of survival, the silliness of hope. The machine churns on, as the tank rolls over just one avatar.

And, it’s all virtual, so in the end, there’s nothing left. We can say it never happened.

Category: Uncategorized

Installing Intel AppUp on Moblin

Written by ina on Sunday, 8 of August , 2010 at 3:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Just loaded up the Moblin operating system on my netbook (Dell Mini 9). It’s supposedly optimized for faster bootup and more efficient battery usage, but unlike NBR, doesn’t come with WiFi ready - nor any of the hotkeys (could not turn down screen brightness, for instance).

Installing the Moblin edition of Intel AppUp wasn’t a download and double-click process, but this line worked.

sudo sh /home/{username}/Download/{file paste filename

Yet to get Slaine’s Dell Mini 9 WiFi setup to work…  User error on the rpmbuild in step 6.

Category: Uncategorized

Ina is AWOL!

Written by ina on Tuesday, 7 of July , 2009 at 8:49 pm

Due to coup’s, backstabbing’s, and other semblances of both cutting-edge and hackneyed intrigue, I am spending some time away from SL. I won’t be responding to any SL-related messages for some time. (I am still considering submissions for Primtings, however. Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Arden Forest additions to Shakespeare sim will come anon, and the SOS Campaign is still accepting donations.)

As I’ve mentioned on plurk, this means I’ll *not* be receiving any offline IM’s. Offline contact information per my inworld endeavors are still available in my Profile Picks.

Category: Uncategorized

SL Shakespeare Barred from SL6B

Written by ina on Monday, 22 of June , 2009 at 10:00 pm

Remember the SLSC
It’s true. The SL Shakespeare Company is barred from attending SL6B because the SL6B Board does not believe Shakespeare goes with their theme of “the future of SL.” I’ve tried appealing, explaining how SL Shakespeare *can* be part of that future, but, alas, the SL6B Board holds to their decision. Despite their irrationality, I’m taking the aloof approach by *not* staging a protest, but a purely “Remember Us” campaign.

You can help by rezzing a 1-prim “Remember Us” sign. It looks chic, blends in with virtually any build, and it’s low-lag on the sim. And, you get the excuse of visiting one of the two legendary theatres of the metaverse to fetch one — Blackfriars Theatre or SL Globe Theatre. ;-)

Remember SLSC Statuette light on sim resources Remember Us HoloLight's

– etc. a slightly more-bloated, but-still-brief version of *my version* of what happened –

I want to say it’s true that I was granted a parcel, but it’s not for Shakespeare; they gave me a parcel for my fledging Skin Concordance project. Dusty Linden and at least one other admin told me that Skin was more in line with their vision of the future of SL than Shakespeare, and they made a point about how I erred by applying for a parcel for each of my groups, and they had to select just one. Although this arbitrary limit was not mentioned on the application form, it was mentioned on their blog post, but in an ambiguous form of “1 per avatar/group.” (In past years, SL Birthday events had no limit in sim quota, and projects were accepted based on merit, rather than an artificial limit.) After trying to get them to see the light in Shakespeare, and failing there, I tried trading in my Skin parcel for Shakespeare. I received no further communication on the matter after that. And then, one day, I was told to re-apply by their June 15 deadline. I did that, and, the next thing I know, the admin’s gang up on me–telling me that, yes, Shakespeare was granted a parcel, but (immediately after) the parcel is negated due to how I failed in responding to them. In reality, it was the opposite thing that happened, but I think they’ve made their point clear from the beginning–SL Shakespeare is not to be allowed in SL6B. All in all, it’s a mess. There are those annoying speculative stories going on. If you’re interested in the exact facts behind what happened, I have archived verbatim all the official communication I received from the SL6B Admin’s, excluding the ones where they resorted to some very unprofessional language.

Category: Uncategorized

SLSC Auditions - Q2

Written by ina on Thursday, 16 of April , 2009 at 11:16 pm

SLSC Uncle Shakes Wants You To Audition

The SL Shakespeare Company’s 2009 Quarter II (Q2) open auditions will be held on Saturday, April 18 @ 11 AM - 11:59 AM SL Time and Saturday, April 25 @ 1 PM SL Time. We are hoping to launch an open-ended run of Twelfth Night: Act 2 (Production Serial: OEP2) in June, with rehearsals starting in May, exact timing TBD. Auditions would be for roles in this upcoming production, and also several possible productions, including a Challenge Production (a non-Shakespearean production) and Twelfth Night: Act 3. Please be sure you have SL voice configured prior to auditioning.

  1. Please have prepared a passage (from Twelfth Night, Act 2) of no more than 5 minutes. Polish it well; this should demonstrate what you are capable of at your best.
  2. Be ready to perform another segment from the perspective of the character you wish to play (though you might not get casted as that character).
  3. Be prepared to demonstrate (voice) range.

If you can’t make it to the audition times, please email item #1 as an mp3 file (no larger than 10 mb) to production at SLshakespeare dot com, along with a detailed schedule of your availability from May to August, inclusive.

Auditions will be held at the SL Globe Theatre.

Category: Uncategorized

Queen Elizabeth I Rainbow Portrait Dress Benefit Auction

Written by ina on Sunday, 21 of December , 2008 at 4:16 pm

Queen Elizabeth Rainbow Portrait One of a Kind Auction

Naergilien Wunderlich has created a “One of a Kind” dress that is a meticulous Second Life reconstruction of Queen Elizabeth I’s Rainbow Portrait dress.

This dress can be obtained through a silent auction that ends at 4 PM SL Time on Winter Solstice December 21, 2008.

The bid is currently at L$10,600. IM and notecard Naergilien Wunderlich directly with your bid.

Proceeds benefit the SL Shakespeare Company in their SOS “Save Our Sims” Campaign.

Closeup Image:

Queen Elizabeth I Closeup

The press release is here.

Category: Uncategorized

Changing the Background Color of a Box in InDesign

Written by ina on Friday, 14 of November , 2008 at 11:16 pm
Tags: , ,

Strangely, I have never had to change the background color of a frame/box in InDesign until now. And it took me eons to figure out that you had to select the different thingy on the toolbox to have it change the background instead of the frame. RTFM finally figures it out, dumped:

Adobe InDesign CS3 provides a number of tools for applying color, including the Toolbox, the Swatches panel, the Color panel, and the Color Picker.

  1. Select the object you want to color by doing one of the following:
    • For a path or frame, use the Selection tool or the Direct Selection tool , as necessary.
    • For a grayscale or monochrome (1?bit) image, use the Direct Selection tool. You can only apply two colors to a grayscale or monochrome image.
    • For text characters, use the Type tool to change the text color of a single word or the entire text within a frame.

      To change the color of gaps in a dashed, dotted, or striped stroke, use the Stroke panel.

  2. In the Toolbox or in the Color or Swatches panels, select the Formatting Affects Text or Formatting Affects Container to determine whether color is applied to the text or the text frame.
  3. In the Toolbox or in the Color or Swatches panels, select the Fill box or the Stroke box to specify the fill or stroke of the object. (If you selected an image, the Stroke box has no effect.)

    Fill and stroke area of the Toolbox

    Fill box
    Stroke box
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Select a color, tint, or gradient using the Swatches or Gradient panels.
    • Double-click either the Fill or Stroke box in the Toolbox or the Color panel to open the Color Picker. Select the desired color, and click OK.


You can apply color to any grayscale image, provided it does not contain alpha or spot channels. If you imported an image with a clipping path, select the clipping path using the Direct Selection tool to apply color to the clipped area only.

Category: Uncategorized

Guy Fawkes Fashion Show on Nov 5th

Written by ina on Monday, 27 of October , 2008 at 10:55 am

Guy Fawkes Fashion Show

The Merchants of Skin City present the first ever Guy Fawkes Fashion Show on Second Life - a show of skins through masks - and totally interactive with you!

Wear a mask you grabbed at the Trick’o'Mask Spree in Skin City from Oct 27th to Oct 31st and join us on the Skin City runway on Guy Fawkes Day Nov 5th. Yes, we want YOU on the runway - in a Trick’o'Mask mask from any Skin City brand. Since it’s a designer show, loads of freebies will be given out - and random mask-wearing models will win free skins and more! Be there, for this original and fun event - to be a part of history, and to win!

Guy Fawkes Day Fashion Shows (All times are SL Time):

  • Nov 5th, @ 1 PM - Show begins at 1 PM. All who wish to model - be there at high noon 12 PM - with your mask!
  • Nov 5th, @ 7 PM - Show begins at 7 PM. All who wish to model - be there at 6 PM - with your mask!

Only at Skin City. The one stop place for skins and more. Sin City and beyond.

Category: Uncategorized

Who is Ina Centaur?

A 25-year old American polymath of Taiwanese ancestry pretending to be old and Caucasian in Second Life. Semi-retired independent scholar also dabbling as an independent artist in new media, particularly theatre and the humanities—notably Shakespeare. Programmer, playwright and novelist. Formal academic background in, philosophy, and bioengineering.

This is largely a personal blog which isn't always up-to-date. There's no one definitive way to stalk me ;-).