New Monthly Credit Process Limits Announced By Linden Labs

In case you missed it, Linden Labs announced that they were changing the LindeX billing & trading limits to help alleviate the potential for fraud back in December of 2016. Well, that time has now arrived!

The ability to purchase and “cash out” Lindens has been a big benefit to many of our fellow Second Lifers, especially those who have been able to establish thriving businesses in world. In a sense, having these regulations helps keep that benefit secured and streamlined for those of us who use it often.

The new limits are:

LindeX L$ Buy Limit (24 hr):                US $1999.00

LindeX L$ Buy Limit (30 days):            US $1999.00

LindeX L$ Sell Limit (24 hr):                 US $1999.00

LindeX L$ Sell Limit (30 days):            US $1999.00

US$ Process Credit (24 hr):                   US $999.00

US$ Process Credit (30 days):               US $999.00

 

You are able to see where you stand within those new limits at any time by logging into your account and going here.

While this may not affect many folks, this can especially impact those who generally work with a lot of L’s each month with Process Credits and may exceed those thresholds. You are able to request a case-by-case review of an increase if these limits don’t suit your needs by going here. So, it’s certainly not the end of the world for high-volume Linden earners and consumers, but just another way Linden Labs is making sure that they’re enforcing financially responsible measures!

 

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

Women Impersonating Men In Second Life

Are you sure that he is really a “he”?

Let me please preface this with the fact that the opinions I express are solely my own. Additionally, I encourage you to read this in its entirety before you form your own opinions so you’ve had a chance to absorb some perspective.

But yes, we are here today to discuss the popular existence of “real life” women whose Second Life characters appear to be men. For years Second Life was notorious for the large population of “real life” males that would choose female characters and otherwise living as females in Second Life. While there was a healthy number of people who are actually transgender and actively transitioning in “real life” (thus, utilizing Second Life as a great outlet for this) there were many that would keep their “real life”gender identity a secret or simply mislead, while carrying on relations(hips) in Second Life with a partner none the wiser.

Nowadays, it’s pretty common knowledge that if someone’s “real life” gender matters to you when it comes to someone you are interested in, one of the first things you should do is have a conversation with them on voice. If someone insists they can’t speak on voice (no mic, don’t have privacy etc) then it’s a good rule of thumb to be cautious and not get too involved until they can voice-verify. They may have a “real life partner they’re not disclosing, or are not being honest about their “real life” gender identity.

But, I digress. There was always a stigma among women to prove they were women and not “a man in disguise” by men who were interested in them. Having to say “voice verified” (which isn’t really a verification process in SL, by the way) or “can voice verify” became the norm in a lot of profiles. Men started reverse searching the “real life” pictures women would share to make sure they weren’t being catfished or tricked by another man before jumping on a pose ball.

However, male avatars weren’t always held to the same level of scrutiny.

Now, there are many “real life” women who choose to exist in Second Life with male avatars or masculine female avatars and are 100% transparent about it. That’s not even an issue, and I appreciate the honesty. But there seems to be a quiet growth of women who impersonate men simply because they know it would be easier to land a date as a man rather than as a woman.

While this might seem counter-intuitive, I had been in that exact situation with someone that I had always suspected was actually female outside of Second Life. Mind you, as someone who essentially has a non-preference sexually, it didn’t really matter to me. But they didn’t realize this and carried on like they were actually male offline. They sent pictures of someone that I was easily able to see wasn’t them (thanks, Google reverse searches) and ultimately when I insisted on meeting offline so I knew  I wouldn’t be wasting time, they bolted. It was almost two years later before they would admit the truth.

While this could have easily of been  singular instance, it’s far from that. And while some of the “red flags” should make it obvious, some women get into relationships in SL with people that won’t verify for the same reasons some women wouldn’t verify that they were actually women.

Second Life is supposed to be a place where you can be anything you want to be, and that is what makes it beautiful. But, on the flip side, is there a code of ethics? Are we responsible for making sure that we’re honest about our “real life” selves?

I have actually heard arguments on both sides of the fence, but I boiled it down to a very simple opinion:

If you are investing offline feelings, or someone is investing the same in you, you better fess up. From personal experience it can only go so far until you have to either face it or walk away, and either can leave you by yourself if you haven’t been honest. Don’t carry on being someone or something you are not if it comes from a place of needed a void to be filled or otherwise avoiding loneliness in a manipulative way.

 

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

Is It Infidelity? Micro-Cheating in Second Life

Are you micro cheating?

The evolution of technology has led us to some pretty unfamiliar territory when it comes to how we behave outside of our relationships, how we find love and how we can start veering in the the “infidelity” territory. When it came to cheating, it used to be a lot more cut and dry than it’s become today. There was physically cheating, and then there were emotional affairs. It was, in its own way, uncomplicated.

But then, the phenomenon of micro cheating emerged.

Micro cheating is, in a nutshell, much that is inappropriate for you to do when you are already in a relationship. This can include flirting (even if just online), getting excited when you see someone’s name pop up on your timeline or friend’s list, posting things on social media hoping “someone” will see it, purposely liking photos and posts of an ex, and hiding your phone. The idea behind micro cheating is that it can be a gateway to actual cheating….a cheating stepping stone, if you will.

Now we have a slew of ways we can talk to people without our significant other being aware: social media, texting, Skype, even Craigslist if you’re that eager. It’s easier to discreetly plan out no-strings situations and move on with your life with a blissfully unaware (or intentionally blind) partner back at home. It gives us access to ex’s, to strangers, and to always keep options open if you get seduced into the “grass is always greener” mindset through the plethora of swiping opportunities.

And then, we have Second Life, this beautiful and boundless space that we all share. It is a massive world filled with incredible diversity and……plenty of people that are unhappily spoken for in the real world.

You often see people who clearly state that they are taken in real life, but will blatantly try to talk to you in a non-platonic way. Sometimes there’s nudes they try to share, or they simply want you to grace them with your presence when they log. Sometimes folks seek out sexual “encounters”. In some way shape or form they will seek out the attention of people that coax that interest out of them.

Since roleplay is such a huge part of this virtual space, so comes the opportunities to roleplay as families and with virtual partners. While many keep it online and make no plans to take it offline, more often than not there are genuine feelings that are developed. So, unless this is something that you’ve openly discussed with your real-life partner and they’re comfortable with, welcome to the world of micro cheating.

Micro cheating isn’t fully recognized as cheating as much as it is this grey area between being faithful and not….and a tempting stepping stone for many to take it to a dangerous level. It can lead to texting, sexting, inappropriate calls and video chats, or even that ultimate form of betrayal: meeting in person. But, the most dangerous part of it all, honestly, can be the fantasy of falling in love and truly believe that it’s real.

Now, believe me when I say I wholly support the possibility of genuinely finding your perfect other half in Second Life. Just like dating offline, you never know when you will come across someone that you fully click with and decide to explore those feelings with. However, JUST LIKE REAL LIFE, if you start that venture in a shaky situation, it’s probably not going to end well.

Micro cheating in Second Life often can lead to or involve very unhealthy behaviors, such as a partner who is possessive (to the point where they do not respect that you already have a S/O), neglecting the relationship you should be focusing on instead, or even interfering with your social life and free time. I have witnessed many a person fall head first into a virtual relationship that managed to nearly drown in record speed.

In the end, we’re all adults here and can “play” this “game” any way we choose- but in the end, micro cheating in Second Life is a surefire way to create a destructive path to nothing worthwhile.

 

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

 

My 3 Virtual Predictions For 2017

Happy 2017 everyone! In spirit of a new year bringing us all a fresh start, I’m going to share my 3 predictions that will impact our beautiful, virtual space.

Disclaimer: My views are my own and not that of ZoHa Islands.

 

1: The Year Of Bento Will Rage On

Bento was finally released late in 2016, which caused people to clamor (mainly) for Bento-friendly mesh heads. We’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg, folks. This is going to cause an influx of progressive creations (much like how Vista was already on top of their game with Bento-friendly mesh hands) that will test the full potential of our new rig points. I also think this will lead to mesh clothing creators dabbling more in animated clothing…..skirts that flow more especially. It’s going to bust open a lot of doors creatively that will have our best and brightest pushing the envelope yet again.

 

2: Project Sansar Will Be Anti-Climatic

Listen, Project Sansar is an amazing concept, but last year people were legitimately panicking about it causing the eventual demise of Second Life. For what it is and is expected to be, this should be one of the most hyped-up VR experiences out there. Hell, I’ve already pre-ordered games that aren’t due out for a few more months because they were hyped up just right. But that’s the thing: it’s like they haven’t really bother to whet people’s appetites OUTSIDE of those who are already invested in Second Life. They’re pulling in Second Life creators to help generate things and having Second Life users beta test, but if we weren’t in Second Life what are the odds we would have even known this was coming out? From my perspective it’s been a marketing fail, especially since they’re mainly focusing on leveraging Second Life users to be able to get the word out that it’s coming. To anyone not already in our little universe it’s a “virtual” unknown, spare some folks that are always on the lookout for such things.

Originally it was stated that Sansar would have an early 2017 release, but I can’t see that happening. Maybe they have more to work on than anticipated and they’re keeping it low key until they know it’s solid or maybe it’s a genuine oversight. But pandering to the pre-existing Second Life community doesn’t even make sense, especially if the goal is to branch out and reel some fresh blood in.

It also doesn’t help that Oculus Rift was heavily promoted as the go-to equipment for this upcoming experience and then Oculus released the headset for far more than they had been advertising prior to. So, they’re banking on existing Second Life people to want to also invest in Sansar, but it’s incorporating equipment that is likely outside of a price point that the average user is going to be willing to spend to be on board. With the backlash of people that did not want to be involved because they felt Sansar would be lecherous, the likelihood of Second Life users “jumping ship” is super slim, and the monthly fee may deter most. So, unless these guys intend to ramp up the advertising and make Sansar known more to the general public ahead of time, it’s going to have a sluggish start.

 

3. Linden Labs Will Show More Love To SL

LL surprised many of us with the server upgrades (and eventual prim increases) which was closely followed by the full release of Bento. The doomsayers could rejoice, as this was a clear indication of them still investing in Second Life (whereas last year it was “so certain” that Second Life would crumble. But the reality is that if Sansar flops, they’re going to be hurting to ensure that Second Life is still supported well enough to generate the income that it has been. Some might see the improvements as a protective measure, but it’s smart investing. Second Life has a large following still and has the potential to draw new people in every day. They’re far from barely generating income for LL. In a sense, without Second Life, LL would be hard pressed to survive the Sansar experiment without that safety net (should it not do well).

 

What do you think 2017 will bring for our virtual space?

 

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

A Look Back at 2016 in Second Life

A Look Back : 2016 in Second Life

Another year has come and gone, and just like the real world, Second Life has seen some changing tide, especially to its technology. As we wrap up 2016, let’s take a moment to reflect on just a few of the game-changing breakthroughs (and breakdowns) we’ve seen in the past 12 months.

Project Bento Release

Perhaps the most groundbreaking and anticipated release of the year was #Bento – which allows the Second Life Avatar a much more sophisticated customization and movement of the hands and face, and the addition of wing and tail bones.

The Bento announcement came to the main grid on May 31st, 2016 – and has been most recently made available for viewing through the Bento Firestorm Release on December 14th.

Catwa was among the first to release a Bento head, followed closely by Akeruka, Altamura, LeLutka, and a ToddleeDoo Bento head for child avatars. Vista Animations is leading the way in animated hands, and wings by FATEplay.

This new capacity for avatar animations has created much more life-like experiences, further paving the way through ‘uncanny valley’, or a very close resemblance to real life.

Prim Increases

Second Life’s technology finally caught up with its demand, announcing significant prim increases on November 3rd for landowners – at the same rate they were paying before.

Full Regions (Mainland) 22,500
Private estates: 20,000 OR 30,000 for an additional US $30 a month
Homesteads (Mainland and private): 5,000

Visual Outfits Browser

On September 15th the Second Life Viewer added a new feature called ‘Visual Outfits Browser’ which allows you to assign photos of your outfit to your outfits collection, making getting dressed a whole lot easier. On December 14th, Firestorm added this feature to their viewer as well.

New Marketplace Search

On August 15th, Linden Labs announced the launch of the new Marketplace Search. Old infrastructure was swapped out to make way for an advanced system that will ‘learn’ over time how people search in order to get you to your desired product faster. An additional improvement is the dropdown that appears to make suggestions as you type, saving time by suggesting the most relevant search results before clicking ‘go’.

New Starter Avatars

In 2015, Second Life revamped the outdated starter avatars with a new set of mesh options to choose from. In 2016, 10 new avatars were added to the collection in a ‘fantasy’ theme. Now new users can choose between sci-fi, steampunk, and gothic identities (to name a few).

The Rise of Virtual Reality

With the release of the two virtual reality headsets paving the way – Oculus on March 28th, 2016 and Vive on April 5th, 2016, the future for how we experience virtual worlds is on the brink of a major change.

From the creators of Second Life, a new platform called Sansar is in development and expected to release in 2017 (contrary to the hopes that this would be released at the end of 2016). Some of Second Life’s top creators have been exclusively invited to give the new platform testing. Talk has Second Lifers concerned that it will cannibalize the community and lead to Second Life’s downfall. But don’t worry! These platforms will be entirely different, and those who love Second Life for what it is will not find the same experience in Sansar – at least right away.

JellyDolls

One day we all logged on to see our friends and loved ones barely distinguishable and the color of jelly beans. The reason was due to an initiative by Linden Labs, released in an update to the Second Life Viewer, to derender high complexity avatars to help unsuspecting victims still be able to navigate through crowded places with less effect on their quality.

Panoramic Video & 360 Photo

Linden Labs released a supplementary viewer on October 26th that allows you to take 360 viewers in a single click, capturing an entire panoramic scene.

An additional module for your existing viewer was released for purchase on the marketplace as well.

The Passing of Latif Khalifa

Latif, the creator of the popular text view Radegast, passed away after battling an illness in March of 2016. His contributions to Second Life spanned content and third party viewer creation, having used his talent on projects such as OpenSimulator, Singularity, Replex, in addition to Radegast. He will be remembered by many for his work and love for the Second Life and Virtual World community.

Happy Holidays!
Delilah Greyson (amoralie.triellis)
ZoHa Islands Blogger

Second Life’s Newest Advancement is LIVE!

Photo Credit: Strawberry Singh via StrawberrySingh.com

Project Bento is no longer in project status as Linden Labs announced it going live on the grid early this week. If you haven’t been up to speed on this landmark development, it’s basically a huge update on the Second Life avatar’s skeleton, breaking open doors to new ways to customize ourselves and expand the types of characters we can create.

Check out our previous post about Project Bento HERE.

The announcement of Bento quickly led to creative minds exploring the possibilities of this update in test servers such as AO’s and animations:

 

…..to a slew of new mesh heads rigged to respond to the new bones and capabilities:

 

…..and even animated wings that are Bento-responsive:

 

This will likely lead to more viewers including this update, but Linden Labs has officially released the update on the default viewer as of this week! Expect to find a lot of new amazing developments that will test and explore everything the Bento update has to offer!

Check out the official Linden Labs blog post HERE.

 

Bria Oceanside

ZoHa Blogger/Social Media