Bright Canopy — Replacement for Onlive!

BREAKING NEWS! SLers who were sad to see Onlive go, now have another option!!

Remember OnLive? The company that brought you the streaming service which gave you the ability to run SL on older computers? Well there is a new kid on the block named Bright Canopy and they’re aiming to fill the void left behind by OnLive!

Released in the last weekend of August, Bright Canopy is offering SL streaming services for $17 for 20 hours. Additional time costs $0.02/minute, and each session is charged for a minimum of 30 minutes. Their high performance spec servers will stream SL to you through your web browser with ultra high graphics and no visible lag!

According to the Bright Canopy blog, this is how the pricing system works:

“If you sign up for Bright Canopy, you will be charged $17. You will receive 20 hours of server time. Once you have used that time, if you continue to use the service, you will build-up overage time at $0.02 per minute with a minimum purchase of 30 minutes ($0.60). If you use less than 10 more hours, your card will be charged for those additional minutes (plus the $17 for the new month’s subscription) at the beginning of the next month. If you use 10 or more hours of additional minutes before the end of the month, those minutes will be charged immediately.

“So if you use 5 additional hours during the month, you would spend $6 more. This would mean your credit card would be charged $21 at the beginning of the next month. If you use 10 additional hours, you would be charged $12 now and $17 for your monthly subscription at the beginning of the next month.”

This is exciting news and good for those who have older machines, or who wish to stream into SL from a computer that just can’t quite handle the load SL requires. The burning question is: Does Bright Canopy run on mobile devices? The company has stated on their website that mobile is not available yet, but it is coming. Here’s a quote from the website:

“We understand how important mobile support is for many people, and we do have a plan to provide it. We already have clients which will run on mobile devices, but the Second Life Viewer and Firestorm will need modifications to support multitouch. Our plan is to create these features and donate them to the top level open source viewer project, making them available for all viewers.

Right now, we are focusing on the Chrome browser on non-mobile devices (eg. laptops and desktops) so that we can get that right. Then we are working on providing a monthly plan. Once we have those in place we will begin working on mobile.”

I decided to try it out. I’m at work right now in RL, and our computers at work don’t have the graphics capability to run the regular Second Life viewer. So I eagerly signed up for an account using my Second Life user name and email address to create an account. I then ponied up my money ($17 for 20 minutes).

I was so excited to check it out that I really didn’t read the fine print. As I was trying to connect to the Bright Canopy servers (a message pops up as you are waiting to log into the Frame launchpad that Bright Canopy uses, that basically tells you that you cannot “bank” time from one session to the next. Clearly this service isn’t nearly as user-friendly as Onlive, because if I log out prior to my 30 minute time, I lose any remaining time. Hmmmm. Also, after I logged into Bright Canopy and paid, the screen that came up said “waiting to connect to Frame” and said I had 3 minutes remaining. It ended up connecting me after less than 3 minutes but I probably waited about a minute and a half. I’m not sure if they were waiting for space on their Cloud-based server, but it was only slightly annoying to wait.

Then it offers you the choice of using the SL Official Viewer interface or the Firestorm. Since I’m a Firestorm junkie, I chose the Firestorm option. It logs you into SL and looks exactly like it does in your viewer window. However, since I went back to type some more in this blog about my observations, it logged me out since I’d been inactive for 10 minutes. I had to log out of Bright Canopy and log back in. So be careful of long AFKs.

I found when I logged into my home in SL, I was experiencing a great deal of lag. I turned my graphics down a notch (I usually operate on Ultra, so I went down to High) and that seemed to improve things. Our work computers really don’t have much in the way of resources, so that could be part of the problem. I tp’d around to different places and found lag to be better and worse depending on the location. It’s not perfect, but it is an awesome way to be able to access Second Life from a computer with limited resources.

It will be great when they get their mobile app going!

Check them out! Click here for the website: Bright Canopy

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Giftbot Discount Scam in Second Life

It never fails to amaze me at the lengths people will go to get something that doesn’t belong to them. How these people sleep at night is beyond me. But sure as the sun rises in the east, if there is a way for a scammer to get your money, be it real life dollars or Linden dollars, they will do it. Strawberry Singh recently blogged about a scam (that’s a clickable link) that is going around SL right now called the Giftbot Discount Scam.

Strawberry landed at Glam Affair and as soon as she landed there, she received an object from a one day old Second Life resident. The object was supposedly a discount object that claimed it would give her 60% off at Glam Affair, where she had just landed. Apparently many merchants have been complaining about these giftbot avatars that send these kinds of things to their customers as soon as they land on the sim. It’s basically an object and once you wear/attach/rez it, you get this kind of message asking you to give it access to your linden dollars:

gift bot

Because people have received this object that is supposedly for the store where they just landed, they trust the object and accept without really reading. Too late, they realize that the bot script has stolen all their lindens. Every content creator tries to make sure their customers have a pleasant shopping experience and their sim is a safe place to shop. These kinds of things can make that difficult.

Strawberry goes on to say:

“Unfortunately there is not much the content creators can do aside from letting Linden Lab know about the account and banning it from their sim. However, . . . it’s futile since these are bots and a new one is created by the culprits within minutes to replace the banned one.

“If this sort of thing happens to you, these are the steps that you can take:

• Deny/Delete Object: Immediately deny or delete object without attaching, rezzing or wearing from your inventory.
• Report: File an Abuse Report against that resident/bot right away to make Linden Lab aware of it so they can take the appropriate action.
• Block: Block/Mute that avatar/bot right away.
• Inform Sim Owner: It might be a good idea to also let the sim owner know, even though they cannot do much else but ban from the sim.

“Most of these bots that you may encounter on popular sims will be named ‘shopsdiscount’ or ‘giftbot’ or something similar. So if you encounter an avatar like that, especially if they are only a few days old, please don’t accept anything from them. However, be aware that the names change frequently, it’s not really the name of the avatar that matters. What matters is the entire idea about this discount/free gift scam that you need to be aware of , watch out for and also tell your friends and family about. We don’t need more people losing money to these scammers.

“Hopefully if you ever experience this kind of script asking for permission to access your lindens, you will make sure the source is a legit one and you will read it carefully before accepting because this kind of message and script is used legitimately in certain situations. [There are some] instances in which you may accept giving permission to access your lindens:

• If you are a shopper, certain vendors that have shop at home HUDs sometimes require access.
• If you are a merchant and setup a certain type of vendor, you may need to give access for various reasons such as: to give refunds to your customers in certain situations.
• For a vendor at an event or rental sharing percentage with landlord.
• For different charity or partnership vendors.
• If you are a DJ, perhaps you may need to give access to a tip jar if you are splitting tips with club or host.”

There are certain legitimate situations where this kind of script for giving access to your lindens is acceptable. Just keep in mind that these scams are out there, and if you do not 100% know what the thing is and where it came from, and are not entirely certain it is legit: DO NOT ALLOW! It’s just not worth the risk! When in doubt, throw it out!

I hope this raises your awareness of this latest scam. We all need to watch out for one another and pass this information along so that hopefully these scammers will no longer have victims in Second Life.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

JD’s Rendezvous Provides Venues!

Awhile back, I blogged about Dori Helstein’s art gallery, where she featured amazing SL photographer Rhy Breil.

Well Dori has come up with another wonderful idea! Just across from her art gallery, Dori has opened JD’s Rendezvous, where they offer three different themed venues that you can rent out for parties, receptions, weddings, and so forth. This is a well-put together location and meets almost any need for parties in SL. Guests are limited to 30, and you can hold your birthday, rez day, engagement, or any other type of party.

When you land, you will receive a notecard with information about the venues and a reservation form to fill out and return. Your event fee includes a DJ for your party. One of the perks of having your event here is the ability to have a closed party, so unwanted guests do not crash your party. Below is the information from the notecard:

JD’s Rendezvous is dedicated to providing SL residents with a location where they can hold private parties for up to 30 guests as well as a DJ who is provided specifically for that event. Customers can reserve one of three themed venues at JD’s Rendezvous (Interlude–Jazz and Romantic; Silver Rock Cafe–Oldies 1950’s-1980’s; and The Mustang Club–Country Music) for 2 hours at a flat rate of 3,500 L$ (per venue reserved).

Only invited guests will have access to the reserved venue. To assure such privacy, JD Rendezvous management needs to have the complete guest list no less than 24 hours prior to the event. The venue will only admit those individuals who are on the guest list for the two hour duration of the event. Once the event is over the venue will be open to the public and streamed music will commence. Guests can thus stay longer to enjoy the evening and company; however, so can members of the public who may come into the venue.

JD’s Rendezvous is honored to be able to provide leading professional SL DJ’s for these private events. Because the DJ’s are compensated for the event by JD’s Rendezvous, tipping is not allowed. However, they have scheduled appearances in public venues, so please feel free to ask them for their schedule of appearances. The DJ will perform at the venue for the two hours of the event.

JD’s Rendezvous wants to provide a safe, fun, and engaging event for all of our guests. The sim where we are located is PG and Mature only. In keeping with this and the rules of JD’s Rendezvous management, nudity, sex, violence, harassment, griefing, or attempts to abuse guests, the public, or property, will result in the immediate expulsion and banning of the offending individual by management.

JD’s Rendezvous will provide you with invitation cards with the name of the venue and any message you may want to add to the card for your guests. The card will have the landmark of the venue which your guest can obtain by clicking on the card. An announcement board, which will be a copy of the invitation card, will be placed in front of the venue next to the landing point for your guests.

Dori Helstein, Business Manager & Builder/Designer of JD Enterprises Ltd. Please contact Dori Helstein concerning reservations or any other matter regarding the venues. To make certain we receive your inquiries please send notecards.

Here are some pictures of the venues:

JD's Rendezvous Courttyard

JD’s Rendezvous Courttyard

JD's Rendezvous Courtyard

JD’s Rendezvous Courtyard

Interlude Exterior Romantic Jazz Theme

Interlude Exterior
Romantic Jazz Theme

Interlude Interior

Interlude Interior

Interlude Interior

Interlude Interior

Mustang Club Exterior Country/Western Theme

Mustang Club Exterior
Country/Western Theme

Mustang Club Interior

Mustang Club Interior

Mustang Club interior

Mustang Club interior

Mustang Club Interior

Mustang Club Interior

Silver Rock Cafe exterior 50's Diner theme

Silver Rock Cafe exterior
50’s Diner theme

Silver Rock Cafe Interior

Silver Rock Cafe Interior

Silver Rock Cafe Interior

Silver Rock Cafe Interior

Silver Rock Cafe interior

Silver Rock Cafe interior

I encourage you to come by and check out these locations.

Here’s the SLURL (click on the link): JD’s Rendezvous Landmark

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZOHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

VR With Eye Tracking!

High Fidelity announces the ability to track eye movement in a modified oculus rift headset!

They released the following statement: “We believe that eye tracking, with it’s potential for both enhancing live communication and controlling/interacting in VR environments, is very likely to be a part of second generation HMD’s. So we’ve gotten a pair of custom Oculus DK2s modified by SensoMotoric Instruments to include hardware capable of fast, accurate tracking of the eye. This video shows the first results. The experience of making eye contact with another person is remarkable and can’t be described in a video – but you get the idea.”

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Project Sansar: The Big Bad Wolf?

Project Sansar June 2015Change is scary. The more some people hear about Project Sansar, the more panicky they get.

I get it. Some people can handle change better than others. In RL, I work in Human Resources, and change is an integral part of my job, and if I couldn’t deal with change, I would be in the wrong job. I mean seriously, I could tell you stories….

But I digress.

Second Life residents are worried about many things. Will SL still be here? Will Linden Lab still support SL once Project Sansar is open? Will the new platform be for me? What if the new platform requires a high powered computer and I don’t have money for that, let alone an expensive VR headset!! Will SL become a ghost town with only those poor and lame enough to not have powerful computers? What if…what if….

It seems to me that most people see Second Life and Project Sansar as apples and apples, when really they are more like apples and bananas. I mean, think about it. I think there is enough people to allow the fruit section to expand.

It’s like this. There was a produce section at the grocery store, and for many years, the only produce in the section were apples. The apples were very happy being king of the produce section, and they profited greatly, with only a few consumers of the apples going to other, smaller produce stands to purchase their apples. The apples were happily the only produce available in this store. However, the grocery store started to get bored and wanted to know if there might be another kind of fruit that would add some variety to the produce section, so the grocery store announced they were going to introduce bananas. Signs went up at the store… “Coming soon! Bananas! Whee!”

Consumers panicked. They freaked out! They picketed the store. They chanted, They blogged. “Save Our Apples!” they cried. The grocery store reassured consumers that the apples would still be there, but still the consumers worried and fretted. Would the apples still be the same? Would they be able to get the apples they wanted, or would the apple variety be reduced to make room for bananas?? Much hand-wringing and anguish occurred. Some consumers threatened to go to other grocery stores and fruit stands. Some consumers just stopped buying apples.

Others continued to buy apples and enjoy the apples as they had for many years, not worrying about it. Consumers were encouraged to visit other grocery stores, where their produce section had many varieties of fruits and vegetables, all happily living side by side, as consumers pick and choose which fruit and vegetables they wanted, and not one fruit or vegetable suffered from slumping sales when a variety was being offered. Indeed, in other stores where a variety of produce was offered, sales often soared of the apples when bananas were introduced, because it drew a larger number of consumers to the store, and sometimes those people chose apples instead of the bananas they had originally come for.

Clearly there is room for both SL and Project Sansar. They appear to be, at this point, apples and bananas not apples and high tech apples. They are similar, but not the same. Maybe a better example would be that Second Life are Red Delicious and Project Sansar are Fuji apples. There is room enough for both varieties, because not everyone wants the same variety.

As I tell my staff in RL, ask yourself, “Does getting upset about this change anything?” There is nothing we can do. Linden Lab is moving forward with Project Sansar, and we can either embrace the change or we can reject it. We can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. Once we realize that this change is inevitable, let’s embrace Second Life and keep it vital, alive, and growing. The only people responsible for making Second Life a wonderful place to be, are the residents. We, the content creators and consumers, performers, artists and all that makes Second Life rich and vital, are the ones that can continue to make it this way. Will Project Sansar be for you? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe Project Sansar is the Mercedes of the virtual world platforms, and Second Life is the Toyota. Not everyone can afford a Mercedes, but that doesn’t mean that we stop driving or don’t buy a car just because we can’t afford a Mercedes.

There is a rich and varied technological world out there, and there is room for both Second Life and Project Sansar. If Second Life fails, it will not be because Linden Lab didn’t support it; it will be because the residents didn’t believe in it enough to keep it vital.

Don’t throttle back creating, don’t stand still and refuse to move forward out of fear that Project Sansar will eclipse Second Life. Don’t run around saying the sky is falling when in reality, it is just another star in the galaxy.

There are some wonderful blog posts about Second Life and Project Sansar. I’ve included links below:

Canary Beck: Are Second Life Residents Anxious About Project Sansar?

Inara Pey: The Sansar Summary

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

VR Gear

I saw a photo on the Second Life Facebook page of someone wearing VR gear and a headset for chatting. This all looks very cumbersome and heavy to me. It reminds me of the early days of cell phones.

VR headset

Don’t you know that someday, we will look back at this picture and shake our heads, saying “Oh can you believe we ever had to wear something that clunky???” I mean just look at the evolution:

First cell phones:
early cell phone

Cell phones now:
iPhone 7

Old Virtual Boy Set
Virtual boy

Will this be the future ???
Future Virtual Reality

We live in exciting times!

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media