Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sorry Phoenix-Firestorm, But You're Fired

That's right, I'm finished using Firestorm.  Phoenix used to be my go to after Emerald folded due to their mismanagement, and I looked forward to seeing what the Phoenix team could do.  And there were some decent things about Phoenix, and I even liked some things about Firestorm. However, since January, I've become increasingly annoyed at their decision to cancel support for the viewer that got them where they are now, and becoming overly obsessed with server side baking - especially how they made themselves sound like the only crew out there among the third party viewers doing it.

Well, I have an answer for that: Singularity 1.8.0.

That's right, Ms. Jessica Lyon, while you and the Firestorm crew were all out there calling that the sky is falling, and that 1.23 type viewers are completely incompatible with Server Side Appearance (or Server Side Baking, as you've been touting it), Siana Gearz and her crew at Singularity have been working diligently (and silently, I might add!) to ensure that Singularity would not be one of the Third Party Viewers left behind when SL flips the switch to server side baking.  More so, they added mesh upload and some pathfinding goodies for SL, as well as a sure to be great asset in OpenSim with the export permissions tab and and the ability for grids to add custom menu items. All this and more on a 1.23 client!

I'm sorry Ms. Lyons and the Phoenix-Firestorm team, but you've made it clear that you don't give a hoot about Phoenix, which is the very client that initially made it possible for Firestorm to be around today.  I'm also sorry that you had to use belittling of people still using a 1.23 client as too retrograde for you and your team. And I'm especially sorry that you chose to scare people into switching to Firestorm because you made it sound like you were the only viewer that was working on Server Side Appearance, and even making people choose whether to use the SL version of the client over the OpenSim one, because you couldn't make it possible to flip a switch internally in your viewer.

But, you said it yourself quite well, Ms. Lyons, about why one should part ways, so I'll take your advice and  let everyone know of the third party options, like Singularity. For I have done everything I can think of to be supportive of Firestorm, and even thought that the OpenSim version was a good idea.  But I have decided to move on to Singularity, and wish you the best, while I find enjoyment in Singularity and it's continued support of v1.23 technology, as well as working to keep it relevant in the current versions of both SL and OpenSim.

Monday, April 22, 2013

JC Compositions (playlist)

So yeah, I have a fancy-schmansy playlist for my music compositions.  Not so much a Ioh Acta update as just a general one.  If you like music, and want to check them out, feel free. And if you happen to like any of them, feel free to like and share!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Grid Places Review: Garden Cafe at Haven Your World

Every now and then, I have highlighted places of interest to me in the various grids Ioh has traveled to.  This is one of them, particularly from my home grid, Haven Your World.

Little Sheffield in Haven Your World has grown quite a bit since I last posted about it. A particular highlight for today is the Garden Cafe. It's a bio dome sort of greenhouse build that has a nice and cozy environment for a cup of tea or coffee in the morning. Or maybe a gathering for some sort event with live music would also be interesting. I a DJ or some other live performer helping to provide additional atmosphere to an already wonderful environment.

Original photo found on Flickr.

Here I am inside the Garden Cafe enjoying a quick cup of coffee in the afternoon.

Original photo found on Flickr.

Original photo found on Flickr.
A wonderful, picturesque display of part of the garden environment that can be found inside the Garden Cafe.

Original photo found on Flickr.

If you like what you see so far, the Garden Cafe can be found in Haven Your World.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Bought It On SL, I Can Use It Anywhere! Right?

If I bought something in SL, I can use it however I want, right? Not exactly. There are some things on SL that you can buy and export, and some things that you cannot. Knowing which ones are which is important. People seem to think that if they got it as a freebie, or bought a full perm item in SL that doing so means such things automatically are ok to try and export into another grid. I'm sorry for the freebie and 'I bought it, I own it!' crowd, but what you want from SL is just simply not there.

That is not to say you can't take freebies that you got from SL and export them out to use in another grid, but that it depends on the permissions that the owner gives. Likewise for stuff you buy on SL that may be full permissions in regards to usage in SL. That doesn't mean that the item is set to be full permissions anywhere you want to use them, and however you like.

As it is, and despite how much I agree that tier for land in SL is expensive, that the upload cost is a pain, that SL lag is a pain, that OpenSim grids can be a good place to start up a new business (depending on certain factors, such as if hypergrid enabled or not) , the one thing that I do not complain about is the fact that SL has permissions rights for content creators, and that both SL and content creators have a right to use and enforce them. If anything, copybots and when permissions are compromised are more reasons for why businesses would leave SL than to stay. So certainly SL would do wise to protect the content made in SL and do their best to give content creators a reasonable amount of security and ability to choose what permissions they give out for their products. The freebie nation and 'I bought it, I own it!' crowd just don't get it, and, because of that, it's no wonder people don't trust them. For who would you trust your property irl to: Peter, who seeks to protect and secure it, or the guy who steals from Peter to give to Paul?

The freebie nation crowd are essentially techie communists who think that the internet simply fell out of the sky, and that no one should be charged to use it. Never mind that people have to pay for the technology that uses the internet, as well as the technology that gets you on the internet. Never mind that you also have to pay for servers, and the services of internet companies that give you things like an internet domain, and other type of storage space and service to be able to have a presence online. Never mind that, even while Facebook and the various Google applications for media are free, they also have to monetize by giving ad space to companies to help keep it free. Never mind that they also push programs to get you to monetize your internet presence with them so that you get a little from the ad space, and they get a little for being able to get you to sign on to use your personal internet space for advertising. Yet, the internet should be free, but it isn't. For if it isn't to pay for services yourself, then it also isn't 'free' due to monetizing and other means of pushing advertising that takes away, that is, that cost you a certain amount of virtual space, or make you take up time in virtual labor that doesn't get much, if any returns back for those hours. And here's the thing about people that hold onto their tiers in SL. They likely have jobs. I don't mean that they strip or escort in SL on the side. But RL jobs that pay well enough for them to have those sims.  

The point is that there is nothing completely for free in SL, and nor is there in OpenSim. Yes, you can download the software for OpenSim for free, and you don't even need Sim on A Stick to do it. Also, it should be noted if you do indeed want your Sim on a Stick to be on a stick, you have to pay for a USB 2.0 or 3.0 stick, which Ener Hax is more than happy to link readers of her site to Amazon to get one, which could range anywhere from $14 for the least expensive (and least amount of memory available), to a bit over $40.00 for the higher end (and higher amount of memory).

Plus, if you were to want to get your standalone connected online, you are still going to have to pay to do that. Kitely has fixed monthly prices for 1 region at $40 per month,4 regions for $60 per month, 9 regions for $80 per month, and 16 Regions for $100 per month. Or, you can pay as you go with a free region, and it would be $1 per month for an extra region. The free plan gives you 2 hours free with 1 free region. You can also get a Bronze Plan at $5 for 30 hours and 2 free regions, the Silver at $20 for 120 hours and 10 free region, and, the Gold Plan is at $35 for Unlimited time and 20 free regions. You might wonder why the pay as you go is less expensive. It's because in the pay as you go, you the owner of the regions, does not pay for the access of users that enter your regions. However, if you pay for the fixed rate, you are paying so others do not have to.

But that's the thing, you have to pay for the purchase and maintenance of a PC, laptop, tablet, or whatever you access your virtual world grid(s) on. You then have to pay for internet service – regardless on if you do so by getting your own internet connection, or go to a coffee shop and pay for the drinks needed to legitimately be there – in order to download the software of OpenSim, and the viewers that connect you to OpenSim grids and SL. If you don't want to pay tier for SL region, you have to pay for service providers like Kitely to pay their tiers for your personal grid to be online. So, no matter what, you are going to have to pay for access and services to be online and to have a grid up. It might seem cost effective to DIY and make your own grid, but remember that where you can buy region space for less than tier of a SL sim, you are now responsible for your own grid. You can't complain to SL any more about mistakes that you make. If you screw up your grid, if you screw over your visitors to your grid, and if you frankly can't manage a grid on your own, then the problems are on you. And to get people to come to your region or grid, you have to do your own outreach, or hire people to do it and compensate them in some manner – be it monetary, or in other ways, such as through giving them space to on your grid for their own personal use. The internet is not air, it is not something absolutely necessary for survival. We just put a lot of value on it in this modern world because access to it is something we want, that we demand, but not something essential to living.

So nope, things are not as free online as one might think. Nor can you use what you have bought for any and all desires you want. There are limits to the freedoms, and the stipulations are generally found in the ToS. SL has a ToS, OpenSim has a TOS, pretty much all grids have their respective ToSes. And the service providers that make it possible to be online have TOS. Content creators tend to have copyright licenses or creative commons to lay claim to their creation as their property, and the terms for use of the property by others. So, even while you may own a copy of the digital item, that in no way means that you have complete control and use of it.

Interestingly enough, our current election in the US showed how this works with the rights and royalties of music. One infamous trumps of a content creator being able to call for the cease and desist of their content not being used in public for the advancement of a public figure is Dee Snyder of Twisted Sister saying he won't take Paul Ryan using the song “We're Not Going To Take It” to be used as part of Paul Ryan's campaign songs. Now, if I 'I bought it, I own it!' was truly the way things worked, Paul Ryan wouldn't have to give in to Dee Snyder's protest for using the Twisted Sister song.

I think the point is clear that, even if you own a copy of a creation made by someone else, it doesn't automatically grant you the ability to use that creation for any and all reasons that you desire to. Now, the reasons why people irl can push the enforcement of this easier than SL and OpenSim is because the cost of litigation makes it difficult for most and so that the cons of trying to go after illegitimately got content outweigh the pros of doing so. So thus, the closed commercial grids seem to be safe havens for content creators.

Nothing is really for free, and you can't expect that everything you buy is yours to use however you want.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Virtual Highways - IC Designs Virtual Studio

This is the build setup for my photo studio on the Virtual Highways grid.

Taken from my Flickr photostream Iohannes Crispien II

Since they're all my prims, I don't have to bother with worrying about adding backgrounds.  If I want/need a background, I can either upload a texture and replace the green screen with the texture.  Or, I can filter out the green screen in Paint.Net and add a background layering that way.

For poses, I'm going to use a generic pose ball, and just shuffle through animations in inventory.  This is simple enough, and also cuts down on a need for a menu.  If I do ever put a menu in, I'd probably just have a pad in front of the green screen and add to the menu accordingly.  Beyond that, I just really don't see a reason for a whole lot of applications. The less gadgetry in a studio, the less lag. I'm fairly minimalist and prefer function over form, and functionality over applicability.

But the thing I really like is that I was able to customize it to fit my tree house studio.  This is what really makes it fun and worthwhile to do it yourself and work on your own builds, is so that you can put together and see the fruits of your own labor.  Sure, this is a simple photo studio, but it's one I created and designed to work for what I want it to do. So it's not only customized, it's personalized for both my style and needs. If I need anything else, I can always add on later.

At any rate, for those interested in seeing the studio up close, or to actually pay me a visit some time, the best way to do so is to sign up at Virtual Highways.  Once signed up, you'll want to download, if you haven't already, an OpenSim compatible viewer, and follow the directions on the Viewer Instructions page.  I personally prefer Singularity Viewer because it functions better for me in OpenSim grids, particularly with the large grid map and being able to use the old search since most OpenSim grids do not use the newer search found in the current SL viewer. Plus, Singularity has mesh support, which will be needed to see things properly on my land.  If you prefer Firestorm, remember that you have to download the OpenSim build, otherwise the grid manager won't work. For a nice, more lightweight alternative to Firestorm, I would go with ArminW's Teapot viewer. It may not be updated very often, but it has most all the things necessary, minus pathfinder for SL, and you have to go into the World tab in the upper left to edit and change windlight settings.  But it does have a nice, easy to use grid manager that actually searches out new grids and updates your current list.

Once you have selected your viewer, followed the viewer instructions, or otherwise found out how to plug in the grid settings for Virtual Highways, then all you have to do is log in, copy-paste the slurl below, and teleport on over to my land.

Once there, have fun looking around my little piece of land, and feel free to explore the rest of what Virtual Highways has to offer!