Not Saussure

June 16, 2007

Blogpower and the delights of Second Life

Filed under: Blogroll — notsaussure @ 10:58 pm

Apologies for the lack of posts over the last day or so, but I fear I’ve been exploring the extraordinary virtual world that is Second Life. The Blogpower Award Ceremony is to be held there on Sunday 1st of July, courtesy of Tom Paine, at 0900 New York time (1400 in Britain, 1500 Central Europe Time, 1700 in Moscow and 2200 in Australia), so I thought I’d better go and check the place out.

It really is great fun; being show the ropes by an established resident, like the extremely hospitable Mr Paine, certainly helps, but it’s all pretty intuitive and before long you’re happily strolling, flying and teleporting around, just exploring this dream-like and, at times, rather surreal virtual world. I’ve succumbed to its charms, and have rented one of Mr Paine’s virtual apartments there as a base — you don’t need to do such a thing, but it’s more convenient that way and being a resident of this virtual world means you get to do many things that visitors can’t, like decorating and furnishing your apartment and start virtual businesses and so forth.

I’ve just spent a very entertaining afternoon with Mr Paine and Ruthie Zaftig, who has taken to Second Life like a duck to water, learning how to fly, sitting on the roof terrace of Tom’s (literal) castle in the air, while smoking virtual dope and eating virtual hash brownies (the last I manged to be given as free samples, during a lone exploration of some of the more disreputable neighbourhoods). We also took Ruthie on a virtual shopping expedition, from which she emerged with some shoes to die for; one of the great things about Second Life is that the exchange rate with real-world currencies is quite advantageous at the moment, so you can be absurdly generous to your friends (or at least Mr Paine can, since he’s the only one with a bank account there at the moment) for less than the price of a cup of tea.

I’ve been trying to work out what it reminded me of, and the whole thing was vaguely reminiscent of going shopping in the Moscow currency shops in the early 90s. only in this case we were, effectively, paying in black market roubles rather than valuta.

Anyway, I highly recommend giving Second Life a whirl. The software is easy enough to install on both Windows and Linux (though apparently there are supposedly some problems with Windows Vista — it does work on it, from what I read, but you may need to fiddle around with some of the Windows settings). The Linux install is a piece of cake, provided you don’t neglect to read the ‘Read Me’ text first, which tells you to ensure you’ve got the correct video drivers installed — not a problem if you haven’t, since it tells you where to get them from and they’re simple to install, too.

I really would suggest people give this strange alternative world a visit; the Blogpower awards would be a perfect opportunity, since people will know each other, or at least someone else there, or will at least know people from reading their blogs, so there will be people there to talk to. I’d suggest, though, paying a couple of visits beforehand, just to orientate yourself, play around with your appearance there (you can change your appearance, and even species, to your heart’s content), learn how to move about and so forth. My virtual residency should be set up in the next few days — when it is, I’ll post something about it and will be happy to entertain visitors there.



  1. Tell Welshcakes! Tell Welshcakes!

    She wants to but is worried that it is too difficult.

    I’d certainly second the recommendation about getting oriented, as going there cold would be rather nerve racking if you managed to fall off the roof or something daft like that.

    Comment by Ian Grey — June 16, 2007 @ 11:13 pm

  2. Careful though! I believe you can get sucked into this to an extent that even compulsive blogging would seem mild by comparison!

    Comment by Dan | thesamovar — June 17, 2007 @ 2:32 am

  3. Glad you’re enjoying your time in world. If you haven’t yet, hit Info Island – there’s some cool exhibits on the island.

    Comment by Nobody Fugazi — June 17, 2007 @ 3:28 am

  4. It really is fun, isn’t it?

    Comment by Ruthie — June 17, 2007 @ 4:18 am

  5. “I’ve been trying to work out what it reminded me of, and the whole thing was vaguely reminiscent of going shopping in the Moscow currency shops in the early 90s. only in this case we were, effectively, paying in black market roubles rather than valuta.”

    As I too lived through that time and place, can you remind me of why I’d want to again?

    (Given that, in the early 90s, expat Moscow was a rather small place, do we in fact know each other from meatspace? The Shamrock was our haunt.)

    Comment by Tim Worstall — June 17, 2007 @ 11:00 am

  6. I’ve just got in- no doubt we’ll meet soon- my name is Gracchi Ireton! It would be difficult going there cold and I’m just working it out at the moment and am not quite clear about it all, feeling tired this evening- but tommorrow I’m going to give it a real go.

    Comment by gracchi — June 17, 2007 @ 8:38 pm

  7. Damn, now you tell me. I’ve been reading every single post today regarding Second Life, weighing up wherher or not to brave going in, so I can be at this event.

    I have Vista.
    That seems to settle it, doesn’t it?

    Comment by Crushed By Ingsoc — June 17, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

  8. I am getting a little beyond the initial confusion. I will need to arrange to meet up with an experienced SL virtualist, to get to the next level.

    Comment by Colin Campbell — June 18, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

  9. Ha ha, careful there mister, we may never get another post from you again (unlesss it’s typed on a virtual keyboard atop a tree somewhere).

    Actually I gave second life a go and didn’t gel at all. I guess my online worlds experiences have been the more structured mmorpgs like Eve online and World of warcraft et al. SL seemed a bit more like facebook with a clunky 3D interface to me, but each to their own I say.

    Very quick catch up on a previous chat we had (long ago, you may not recall it). The, now to be Mrs Piersy and I had a chat with her old parish priest in Ireland, and he turned out to be a pretty decent fella and took my own concerns into account. He said he’d do a lighthearted ceremony and even suggested that we wouldn’t have to go through the whole eucharist malarkey.

    Of course now her mother’s barely talking to me, but hey you can’t please all of the people….

    Comment by piersy — June 19, 2007 @ 7:49 am

  10. OK how does it work then?

    Comment by mutleythedog — June 19, 2007 @ 2:20 pm

  11. I’ve never played Second Life but I’ve heard a lot about it. I was a seasoned Sims player up until about a year ago but I never played it for what it was intended for, I just use to build extravagant houses and decorate them with expensive-looking interiors.

    Comment by Matthew Claughton — August 13, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

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