Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010! (And New Tray)


A happy new year from Mechatiki Research!

And a brand-new Martini Tray too:
When touched offers a choice of Gin or Vodka Martini.
(Hands out smaller glasses than Martini Tray 1, which offers three different Martini Cocktails)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Million L$ Sculpture

I present to you: Cheers an interactive sculpture that has been showing at places like SL6B, Brooklyn is Watching, CYlandSL and currently UWA Imagine Challenge over the last year. A (very) limited edition of one piece is available for purchase on the virtual shopping platform XStreetSL.

Originally I raised the price of this artwork to L$ 1000000,- on XStreetSL a few weeks ago as a reaction to their proposed listing fees - with an item description containing a paragraph on how I could keep all of my items listed for a good while if someone bought this piece for that price just once. (Whereas otherwise I will have to remove a lot of listings that don't sell frequently enough, but still generating occasional income as of now.) I changed the available quantity to one and removed it from other marketplaces, where it had been listed, but never sold so far.
After an intervention from XST authorities I removed all text not related to the work itself, which is fine, apparently the price itself proves to be attracting eyes to my works, and in the end I don't really want anyone to buy "Cheers" for other reasons than wanting to have it.
The price also seems to be attracting attention from startled users who are seeking clarification on the price in the item's discussion thread: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=discussions&ItemID=1420408.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guest at Brooklyn-is-Watching podcast

I had the honour of being invited to join #76 (or #75?) of the Brooklyn is Watching podcast to talk about SL artworks along with Pinkpink Sorbet, Misprint Thursday, Jay Newt ... and Dancoyote Antonelli (in RL: DC Spensley) who embarassingly enough had to remind me to credit him for the artwork shown in this video sneakpeak of the recording:

... In which the topic of proper crediting along with plagiarism and related issues were discussed at lentgh, triggered by a series of photos displayed showing SL sceneries that were at least in part recognizable artworks themselves, with an artist who's on record not welcoming fan-art. By a "photographer" who had the leisure to put a (c) in the picture's description. Without crediting the original artist, which has to be considered morally wrong if nothing else.
Not my fault your artwork covers all of the sim and is in the view at all times, DC! *shakes virtual fist*
(Actually the video ends with a tour of DC's installation we took after finishing the podcast ...)

The podcast will go live within the next few days, so keep checking the brooklyniswatching website regularly!

Monday, December 7, 2009

VCRA 1.0 Winner: Misprint Thursday

In a successful mixed-reality ceremony, Misprint Thursday was awarded the first Virtual Cocktail Robot Award for her creation Wodka Bot.
The RL ceremony of the Annual Cocktail Robot Awards was video-streamed into SL, and when the moment came to award the virtual prize the RL video projector was switched to show the inworld scene, where an illustrous round had assembled to celebrate - and witness another world's first: qDot Bunnyhug's RL cocktail robot being controlled from within Second Life. A former Linden Lab employee specializing in controlling sex-toys via SL, he wrote the needed code in 15 minutes as he claims.

Thanks to CYlandSL for hosting this event, Pinkpink Sorbet and 5tefan Negulesco for keeping the stream alive and everybody involved for making this work!

Update: qDot's mixed reality Rum & Coke contraption is featured on Hamlet Au's New World Notes blog!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

ACRA 11.0 + VCRA 1.0 = Awesome Beta

Re-post from SHIFZ-blog:

You are questioning the rationale behind virtual cocktails made by virtual robots? Well once upon a time people thought making real robots mix drinks was crazy. Hello?!

In any case we are showing our appreciation for cocktail robots in their virtual incarnation by awarding the first Virtual Cocktail Robot Award this year in an inworld ceremony in Second Life (TM), that will be part of the ACRA event at Roboexotica which will be video-streamed into SL.
Join us either in real life in Vienna, or if you prefer at the virtual venue which is hosted by our friends of CYlandSL.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Electric Alien"


Today as part of Cyberfest Andrey Bartenev's performance "Electric Alien" was video-streamed into SL at CYlandSL Media Art Lab while inworld visitors were given alien avatars to wear and be part of the SL-side random social choreography.
It was a lot of fun despite I was having problems with viewing the stream ... after the performance we found out riding the Alien-Ghost-balloons when they were turned physical was great entertainment, as you can see on the pic above, and the Aliens brought a couple yummy Uodka Martian cocktails.

You can still come and get your own alien avatar and check out the themed room downstairs from the main gallery for the next few days, I suppose until Cyberfest ends Nov 29th!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cyberfest Opening Photos on Flickr


Cyberfest opening streamed from St. Petersburg live into CYlandSL gallery in Second Life.
Photoset on Flickr

Cyberfest Opening in about 2 hours! (7am SLT)

The opening of Cyberfest being imminent, I am in last preparations for my performance/interactive installation "Physical Attraction".
I will be blurring the line between those two art-forms by making it so that it is not clear who rezzes what of the physical objects that will be let loose. I will be pulling stuff out of my inventory, but visitors will trigger the rezzing of objects as well when the step on my little sensors!
If you can join us at CYland SL Gallery!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Colossus: Bend over, Merchants!

Colossus Linden posted a blog announcing steep comission hikes on XStreet plus a listing fee on all products, which is a blow to all creators of niche products that don't get bought often enough and/or aren't pricey enough.
The whole thing comes under the pretext of "some" merchants complaining about the cluttering of the marketplace with freebies. This solution to a non-existant problem is so FAIL that I will likely have to de-list all of our Mechatiki listings, which are niche products at the end of the day.
See you on slapt.me, apez.biz or any new market-site I am going to find.
Watch this place for updates.

Update 11-19-09: I started marking my items "Get it while you can" with notice of imminent de-activation, but got tired soon. 300 items, out of which 5 may be worth keeping after these fees kick in. Tough shit, but I can't or won't afford to risk losing virtual money on any item I have listed, so I can only keep those items that have shown to be frequent sellers, like certain full perm sculpty bottles and some animations. I will lose out on the occasional sale of a niche product, and LL will lose the comission on that sale. C'est la vie.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cyberfest 2009: Nov 20-29


Cyberfest is the only International festival of cybernetic art in Russia (i.e. art, that combines living, biological and somatic substance with technical and computer devices). CYBERFEST is carried by CYLAND media laboratory, organized by National Center for Contemporary Art, St. Petersburg Branch and non-commercial organization Saint Petersburg Arts Project, New York.

We are preparing a bunch of inworld contributions to this international event with mixed reality components - especially busy we are kept by the making of the avatars that are going to part of the Andrey Bartenev performance. Below a shot from Andrey's RL Electric Alien ...

The date for the Bartenev performance has yet to be determined, but as we had opportunity to learn last year - Cyberfest's organizers are no less chaotic in their planning than we in our RL ventures ;)
So, please come by CYland SL, the inworld gallery anytime between Nov 20-29 to learn more about the schedule. SLUrl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chronocules/214/224/2001/
A bunch of RL events will be streamed into SL, there will be an opening of some sorts, Pinkpink Sorbet will make a tour through the gallery and parts of SL for the RL visitors, and more ...

Nebraska unveiled


SL Enterprise aka SL in a box aka SL behind a Firewall aka Nebraska has been officially presented yesterday in a mixed reality event at the San Francisco E2 conference. Along with the SL Work Marketplace which is to be launched Q1 2009, in which Gold Solution Providers can offer bundled content to corps that got themselves a Nebraska.
In short Nebraska enables the buyer to to run a Second Life grid of 8 simultaneous regions (can be switched on and off at will, so ayou can shuffle between more than 8 regions) connected to existing infrastructure, easy user registration etc.
It was also mentioned corps that have assets on the main grid already will be able to transfer content they have the IP rights to to their standalone SL.
Not all open questions about this whole thing are answered yet - here's the discussion thread on the Linden blogs.
In the long run the new Marketplace is supposed to be opened to the wider public, and we are already quite curious in what form we will be able to offer our pencils and clipboards to the suits. The way this will work sounded a bit confusing to me, like content would be "packaged" in a region and the region-file would be transfered to the client?
This should all become clearer over the next months as businesses (or orgs like the US Navy who are beta users and co-presented at E2) start to use this $55.000,- virtual world software.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

SnailsLab Video

Here's a video from last Sunday's CYland SL opening - featuring Pinkpink's painting RL snails!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Snails Lab Pictures


Here's my snapshots from Sunday's CYland SL opening, complete with live-painting snails on the video stream ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/shifzr/sets/72157622612000482/
And here's qDot Bunnyhug's pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/qdot76367/sets/72157622487293035/ who got them online right during the event!

And the CYland Flickr Group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1267956@N23/

Monday, October 12, 2009

Snails Lab - Opening of CYland SL

Our russian friends (http://cyland.ru) have been developing an inworld gallery which is due to be opened sunday next week.
Cyland Media Art Lab, an artistic laboratory based in St. Petersburg and New York, arrived in SL! As it opened its doors quietly in summer we now want to point out that there will be an opening-event on Oct. 18th, 10 am SLT!
["Every snail is an artist." - video streaming from RL]


Pinkpink Sorbet will be streaming painting snails from her RL home and Magggnnus Woodget has been preparing a couple snail themed surpises!
Join us for the event Sun Oct 18th, 10am SLT - There will be robots. And there will be cocktails! Follow this SLUrl for a teleport.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Betty Tureaud Exhibition Opening


Today Betty Tureaud opened her exhibition "Cube of Infinity" at Danish Visions. Inside a gigantic cube there is plenty to explore, colorful kinetic installations and most striking an ensemble of tall robot figures - a dancing couple and a mother and baby!
The exhibition runs for one whole month, here's the Slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Danish%20Visions/166/114/497, it's sure worth visiting.
The title 'cube of infinity' describes a form but it doesn't gives us a clear idea of size. infinity isn't something that we are confronted with in our direct life. the work shows elements of classical attributes and concepts from western religion. such as Memento mori, purgatory and the traditional idea of a supernatural realm. (inkspots Voom)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

CYland Media Art Lab inSL


This spring the St. Petersburg media arts gallery CYland commissioned Pinkpink Sorbet with creating an inworld presence in Second Life (TM). Since Mechatiki have been honored to assist in the effort we noticed the place has been looking more and more complete as the summer progressed, and first random visitors are showing up. Yet there hasn't been an official vernissage and we are wondering when we will get to munch free pixel sandwiches. Our Magggnnus Woodget will address this question in the following interview with Miss Sorbet:
M: CYland SL has been quietly opening it's doors to inworld visitors during the summer, but there hasn't been any official opening yet ...
P: That's right. We allow already residents to explore the inworld gallery as it evolves right now, and we will have a kind of opening event in October with Pinkpink´s SnailsLab. Then in November during Cyberfest, which is organized by Cyland in RL in St. Petersburg, we will have a mixed reality event in which CYland SL will be presented officially to the outside world.
M: What can one see at the gallery right now?
T: There is already a lot to see and explore at CYlandSL - several videos from the CYland archives are being streamed, there are a number of info-displays and notecards to find which give some background on CYland in the real world, as well as interactive artwork like a representation of Anna Frants's RL interactive piece Drum Painting and of course the sculptures by Mechatiki.
M: There is a significant number of ashtrays at the gallery ...
P: Right. Those are a personal project of Pinkpink - some of them are vehicles to explore the gallery in, others are pieces of furniture, which for example circle over the gallery. I am hatching a plan for an inhabitable ashtray the size of a house. In general that is one of the things I love about second life - that it gives you the architectural freedom to ignore conventions that consider gravity or weather and other RL nuisances. Here we can have an open air gallery floating 2000m above the ground.
M: An important part of CYlandRL seems to be to have artists in residence. Is that part of the plan for cyland SL as well?
P: In some form yes. We are thinking of working together with the RL artists to represent some of their work inworld, but also to approach inworld artists at some point to show here.
M: I heard Anna Frants and Sergey Teterin of CYlandRL have been at this year's Burning Man event in Nevada. are you planning on participating in Burning Life in October?
P: Yes, Anna and Sergey are Burners now. And no, we won't have parcel at BL - mostly because the mode of allocation confused me and the landrush times were not so Euro-friendly but i plan to go there as a spectator and witness the creativity of inworld Burners.
M: Tell me about the mixed reality event in november.
P: Cyberfest is happening from Nov. 20th-29th and features a variety of international media artists. I will be in St. Petersburg to present the virtual CYland to the real life festival visitors. The RL festival will be video-streamed into SL and the virtual gallery will be displayed on one or more computers in the real world. I am planning to set up a PC for visitors to go inside the virtual world and show them around the gallery and help them interact with the SL environment.
M: That sounds groovy. Thank you for the interview. I wish you the best! The Slurl for CYland SL is http://slurl.com/secondlife/Chronocules/218/211/2001/ btw.

Miss Sorbet has also recently opened a blog for CYland SL - http://cyland-sl.blogspot.com/ that you can watch for future events.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oillonaire


An animated sculpture that reacts to the greeting "good day sir" when spoken in chat by drawing his hat. With his right hand Oillonaire toasts with an Oiltini, what else.
Have a first hand look inworld at CYlandSL gallery.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Winner Is ...


Now that I have a trophy I just need to come up with a competition to award it to somebody.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

tikiTOUCH 1

A smartphone prop from our electronics lab - no communication features incorporated, it simply makes the owner look busy and connected ;)

On touch it switches between eight different screens, two of them screenshots from this blog.

The touchscreen mobile which is available on XSL and inworld animates the avatar wearing it with a texting / smartphone animation.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Recursive Life

Above video demonstrates the plugin Aimee Trescothick wrote for the recently introduced new media API connecting the parcel media stream to a remote computer via VNC (Virtual Network Computing).

This will be generally very useful for any type of presentations that run  on a PC, but the specific use to sign into SL from within SL will also help tutoring new residents, when they can see what their tutors do on their viewer.

Alas, before we can all reap the fruits of Ms. Aimee's labor we "will need to wait for now for the LLmedia plug-in API to find it's way into the normal Second Life viewer, right now it's still under active development and only available in a developer release that is not guaranteed to be stable. I would hope to release the VNC plug-in around the same time that happens."

(via NWN)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School with Mechatiki Office Supplies!


If you are trying to look busy this fall, Mechatiki Research has just the items for you, whether your avatar is sinistral or a righty:


Pencil with writing animation for right handers and for lefties. These two differ in that the right hand version includes an animation for the left hand - which holds something like a notebook or clipboard. The left hander's version is more for writing on a table.
However the Left Handed Writing Pack includes an animation (Full Perms) that provides a right hand holding animation too.

The right hand Writing Animation (Full Perm) we have to offer is the same that is in the pencil above.


Next up we have this Clipboard that lets you use your own pages to browse through.
We offer it with a reading animation included or without.
The Reading Animation is available seperately (Full Perms) as well.

Maybe we can also interest you for these beautifully designed Office Chairs ... Xccutive version and regular.
Next you'll need some stylish Desk Lights (in a choice of three colors: Charcoal, Bordeaux, Steel)


And last but not least there's the Desktop PC and flatscreen Monitor to decorate your busy, busy desk.

(PC and monitor are also bundled up in this Office Pack with some other items not mentioned above!)

Just btw and totally unrelated: for alcoholic beverages check out our other offerings - click the Xstreet link in the sidebar to the right!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

T Linden shows direct Mesh import Sneak Peak at SLCC09

At his keynote today at SLCC09, Tom Hale aka T Linden presented a sneak peak of 3D mesh import into Second Life. Despite his cautionary reminder that sneak peaks have no release date and some might never be released, this is a large step forward from just talking about mesh import as something to support "in the future".

This means a) greater possibilities for creators who know how to work with standard 3D software and b) 3D creators who have not thought about using SL before may find a new environment for their work.

After going on to present new media support features T concluded by mentioning the Lab wished to bring the presented features into reality during 2010.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

SLCC09 - Keynote by M and Philip Linden

Today Mart Kingdon and Philip Rosedale held their keynote at the Second Life Community Convention in San Francisco. And my avatar went to the inworld location where they streamed the audio. Just the audio. Which lead to members of the virtual audience asking why there was no video stream from the convention at the point where M started showing and commenting on slides to the RL audience. I overheard one avatar saying that budget cuts were responsible for the cancellation of 5 actually planned live video streaming events. Which sounds at least bizarre.

Below two segments of the Q&A that followed the keynote (video from inworld, audio from RL):

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Raining Fish


Recreating an unexplained natural phenomenon, this interactive installation makes it rain fish. (All fish involved are animated using Puppeteer)
When a visitor steps on one of the two dark rings on the ground, "physical" (they interact with environment) fish start falling from the air and helplessly twitch around (for a minute, as they are "temporary"). Visitors can both kick the fish around or move it using the mouse and play fish bowling sorts of or something.

The big fish in the center reacts to the visitor too. When it is touched it goes through an agitated animation.

Visit It's Raining Fish at Brooklyn is Watching!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In memoriam SLX / Xstreet Forums

The latest announcement concerning the merging of the Xstreet Forums into the main SL webpage does not mention a specific date, but it's wording suggests a rather soon closing.
Ann Otoole who has provided a lot of interesting reading material on the Xstreet forums has written a blog post I would like to refer to: Death of a Community.

... Bye bye thread on XstreetSL forum.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

SL6B Public Lab Video

A short video of the Mechatiki Public Lab at the Second Life 6th Birthday Exhibit.

"The Future of Virtual Worlds"

"The Future of Virtual Worlds" is the motto that Linden Labs posed onto Second Life 6th Birthday Exhibitors. Mechatiki Public Lab's answer is simple: "The future is kinetic and interactive."

On our parcel in the "SL6B Polaris" region, which occupies the south-east corner of the cluster of SL6B regions, we released several species of kinetic creatures in an open-air experiment.
After almost a week of studying their behaviour we are able to present some preliminary findings:
- Hupfi: a creature that has been witnessed to show lively movement in a confined space (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxyusJnl92g), has been a lot calmer in the open environment, only occasionally escaping the no-roof container and barely winding up immobilized at the parcel border.
- Pet Creatures: bred from the ordinary Marsdog this creature's escapist behaviour seems to be directly proportional with it's size. The largest specimen had to be brought back in from the parcel border most often, while the two smallest individuals have been moving around inside the parcel all the time.
- Flag Creature: the reliable "foot soldier" among our creatures behaved very much like expected. moving along slowly but steadily, covering a lot of ground. Has wound up on parcel border only once so far (involvment of avatar interaction can not be excluded).
- Right Arm: this one had the most curious expectancy attached, for when released for the one and only time before this current experiment, it took off towards the sky at one point, never to return. Has not happened here so far happily/sadly (?).
- Walkies II: demonstrated calculable behaviour by calmly creeping along the ground, helplessly twitching and thrusting.

Visit until June 29: slurl.com/secondlife/SL6B Polaris/148/44/2

Thursday, June 18, 2009

SL6B Upcoming

It's about to tell the world Mechatiki Research are establishing a Public Lab at Second Life's 6th Birthday event, opening June 23rd.

We are currently preparing the the proper fencing to keep the chance of escaping creatures at a reasonable minimum.

At the exact opening of the events we will release various live kinetic creatures on our parcel and watch what they are up to for the next week! (Inviting you - the public - to interact with them.)

Here's the SLUrl already, though I don't think the public can access the sim before June 23rd ..

... There will also be free drinks.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Brooklyn is Watching Podcast #60

Recurring readers may remember I mentioned that I had exposed a family of kinetic Marsdog sculptures to the visitors in SL as well as RL of Brooklyn is Watching - an interworld art project interfacing a Second Life sim with a gallery in Brooklyn.

Last weekend it was kindly discussed in the weekly podcast - click here to listen to it.

This was a really, really interesting listen for me , for more than one reason. Firstly my art was being discussed by people I had never met in either world - interesting, but a situation that can easily occur in real life too. So taking into account that the few lines of info I had provided on the brooklyiniswatching website were disregarded I thought my work scored pretty good - the four debaters at first didn't know what to think of or do with the objects, and yet they were discussing one of the larger ones (I suppose from listening to the podcast) in it's seeming stasis, lying on the back, gradually finding  out about the tounge-sticking and feet moving, ending up learning about the physical character of the sculpture through collision. I regard the discussion a win for my art in that it seemed be able to make four guys talk about it quite intelligently about it for several minutes without saying it sucked big time - on the contrary it seems to have invited interaction.

To me the discussion had a special twist and was particularily interesting because one of the panelists apparently wasn't familiar too much with SL itself, so his reaction to Second Life art was not filtered through the lenses of limitations seasoned users are aware of and generally was to be expected to approach the works with a more intuitive attitude than someone who has internalized the workings of the UI. 

While I have never met any of the illustrious round I have already had time to google the two non-regulars ... and the one I suspect must be the SL noob, Jason Robert Bell, is not only author of a caveman-robot comic, but he is also selling what I have just ordered as a first gift for little Emma Danger over the pond: a little plush Caveman Robot!

All in all the podcast has made me curious for more, Brooklyn is Watching is definitely a project to watch for some serious world connecting art discourse. Follow this SLUrl to visit the inworld location: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Popcha/72/140/27.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Josh Ellingson exhibit


When I read the announcement a few days ago on (the non-SL related blog) Suicide Bots that Josh Ellingson, the artist that had designed the Robogames 2008 poster, would have his first exhibit in SL at the Museum of Robots, I got all excited because the art on the poster was impressive. And indeed Josh - or Grover Zelin in SL - did deliver.
Highly recommended!

Photos on my Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shifzr/tags/joshellingson/

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Give us a Phone Call in Second Life

Today Linden Labs announced a new product in limited beta: phone calls from the real world into the Metaverse. Historic indeed:

"This marks the first time a Resident will be able to communicate with a non-Second Life user within Second Life. The service goes into a limited Beta trial today and will launch as a full offering in Q3."
At least for now, if you are not in the US or GB long distance rates will apply, since the number to call is composed of any one of a list of now 8 US and one London phone number followed by an individual "access code".

So to call our avatar Magggnnus Woodget dial any of these numbers:

Boston +1 617-861-0749
Chicago +1 312-348-3694
Dallas +1 972-813-0067
Los Angeles +1 213-271-2575
New York +1 212-660-9951
Philadelphia +1 215-475-5291
San Francisco +1 415-490-9443
Washington D.C. +1 202-629-9859
London, UK +44 20-7100-5624

followed by the "access code" 128033. If you are in San Francisco for example you would dial 490-9443 128033 ...

Of course I would have to have voice turned on to take the call I suppose, but I actually have started to experiment with it (the feedback noises were terrible).

Here is the announcement on the SL blog and this link leads to the access code dispensary.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brooklyn is Watching - Art

Brooklyn is watching is a mixed reality exhibit taking place in a gallery in Brooklyn and simultaneously in SL, where the visitors in Brooklyn can see into SL, not vice versa.

Since the exhibit invites anyone to contribute some art and document it, I obliged and gave Brooklyn a family of Marsdogs to watch:

They should be there for a few days before they get returned, unless of course they propel themselves through the air over the parcel's borders at some point, which sounds not unlikely since they are physical and animated at the same time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

XStreet Login Change - not so gret akshuly

This one has a pre-quel. A while ago on the XStreet marketplace webpage, the login cookie suddenly expired in a very short time-span. Something in the background had changed and this little detail was not considered. Which caused an uproar amongst users that were - like me - used to keeping open one or more tabs in their browser with the XStreet page on it, frequently checking it, be it for new forum posts, traffic or products. Logging in every time you want to refresh a page can be a major pain in the ass and actually get me to not use a page so often anymore. Happened so in this case, I changed my behaviour to only checking the page once or twice daily for the period of time XStreets new owners - Linden Labs - took to decide to fix this.

Now back to present time: this monday May 11th another change to the login occured. Now everyone with an SL account can login to XStreet with their SL login. Everybody has to use their SL login now to get into the XStreet page.

And now it comes. The cookie again expires in a very short period of time. Five days counting, two Jiras and several threads on the XStreet Forums and no fix in sight - so now it's a feature. Nice Job.

Vote:
https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/WEB-1095
https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/WEB-1099

And just for giggles here is the traffic for my items on XStreet for the last month:

(With all SL residents suddenly having XStreet accounts and this being advertised you would expect and influx of new eyes in the last few days, no?)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Give someone the swineflu ... (T-Shirt)

Thanks to Robin Wood's free T-Shirt template (and the CDC's generous image service) Mechatiki Research is now able to offer the Dollarbie H1N1 T-Shirt with the popular 2009 swineflu virus on it. Get it on XStreet or pick it up inworld at Mechakitty Design.
Also new: the charcoal Mechatiki T-Shirt. Available on XStreet (1L$, so it is gift-able) as well as inworld at Mechatiki Space landing point (0L$).

E-ducators Welcome

SL resident Times Sands has published a 6 page article titled "A Technical Update on Second Life's Readiness for E-Learning", which is an informative look at where the technology stands today and what is still needed from an e-ducator's perspective.

It also contains a point to which I can attest to from first hand experience:

"... A reverse question is whether Second Life might be a useful venue for creating training content to be delivered in the real world? And the answer is a resounding Yes. Virtual films (called Machinima) are being made in Second Life faster and less expensively than would be possible in the real world (if they were even filmable in the real world at all)."
... Mechatiki Production's eager staff are ready to take your orders.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Sculptures

"Fat Man" and "Senor Cohones", the latter actually an intermediate stage of the other, which I decided to conserve as a sculpture of it's own, you will notice the identical leg positioning.

Both can be admired and purchased at Mechatiki Skyloft, which has seen a little re-decorating lately, a new wall here, a shiny new lamp there - come to see it today! While you're there grab one of the delicious free drinks, grab a glass of wine from the table or use ye goode olde Kybernetic Martini Assembling Contraption ... and at the bar you'll find some useful paraphernalia if you seek to equip your own home bar - a shaker, lime, olives ... or the bar itself.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Purely Senseless Technology

Product Anouncement:

Two new useless items from the Mechatiki workbenches (one you can at least sit on) - the Bulbus Apparatus and the Operator Armchair were launched onto the Second Life market place.

Regard the videos below or have a look at both contraptions at Mechatiki Skyloft!

Bulbus Apparatus on XStreetSL.

Operator Armchair on XStreetSL.

Monday, April 13, 2009

RL invades SL

... In a positive way.

Per accident (err, youtube's related video suggestions) I stumbled upon videos from the fine folks of UC Berkeley - they're doing some pretty cool stuff actually. On their grid of 40 Opensim servers and in SL.

Like Ortho-Mapping for example. In other words: mapping orthoimagery (aerial views, in this case of the earth) onto terrain.

Watch the videos below to get a bird's view of the Berkeley area:


From the text going with the second video:
Real-life geographic information is modeled at three levels, or scales of detail. The (1:42) Level 1 build mimics Google Earth with globe-type data at 1/42 scale. The (1:16) Level 2 build adds LiDAR first-return data to include the tops of every building and trees at 1/16 scale. The (1:3) Level 3 build is the best we can do, solid geometry 3D graphic primitives and real-world textures hand-tuned for optimal streaming at 1/3 scale.
"Mimicking" being a bit of an understatement in this case, ha! I can see Earth Grid fed with real time real life data before me already.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Teh Sikrit Lab

... is how I affectionately call my offline Opensim region, which despite it's limitations and quirks I have installed to do some prim tinkering for import to Second Life.

After all it has it's merits when it comes to building - no lag! No expenses for texture uploads. And of course the sheer unlimited amount of prims available (45000 per region). Which means after a week I have still some left for more achievements such as the Office Chair Xccutive or this Tower PC.

Click here to view Flickr Set.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Standalone SL for Corporations coming soonish

LL have announced "Second Life Behind a Firewall", SL server software for solvent corporate customers to run on their own hardware:

"Today, we’re pleased to share that the stand-alone version of Second Life solution is currently in the alpha phase. We have nine alpha installations in the field at organizations such as IBM, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC), New Media Consortium (NMC), Intel, and Northrop Grumman. And, we’re planning to go into a limited closed beta phase this summer with general availability later this year."
Certainly a step towards a broader acceptance of the platform in RL business environments - I can see corporations starting to use SL worlds for internal collaboration etc. more readily when their own sysops are to blame for downtimes.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Next SL Viewer Release to bring major progress

Besides facilitating the new adult content policy LL announced recently (which is also the reason this release will be out later than anticipated) the next release of the official client will incorporate features like shadows, flexi prims and bulk permission editing!

Boy Lane, developer of the alternative Cool Viewer, divulged on the forums along with posting a link to his pre-alpha Shadow Viewer 1.23 release:

"... It is purely meant as an early preview, perhaps to take some nice snapshots, and play around, but it is not meant for any serious work. It is something pre-alpha, it will crash. ...

Included features are:
Bulk permission editing (part of official 1.23 to come)
Enhanced building tools (part of official 1.23 to come)
Flexible Sculpties
Double click to wear attachments
Large Prims (only for Opensim grids)
Maximized Network Bandwidth
MUPose Style
Worn Inventory Tab
Teleport History
...and a number of more goodies and (hopefully) stability fixes. Too many to mention here ..."

Yummy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wireframe

Tinkering with settings and controls is always a good idea! *laughs* Well, often enough it actually IS. 

I'm not quite sure when the wireframe rendering option (in the Advanced menu, activated by Ctrl+Alt+D) will be useful ... but now I know it is there:

Makes for a nice retro 80s look, doesn't it? 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Siriwhatwasthat?

A new name popped up on my new-worlds-radar: Sirikata.

"Sirikata is an BSD licensed open source platform for virtual worlds. We aim to provide a set of libraries and protocols which can be used to deploy a virtual world, as well as fully featured sample implementations of services for hosting and deploying these worlds."


When I looked around on their site and subcribed to one of their lists, I recognized a name among the subscribers - Kyle Machulis of teledildonic fame and ex-LL-employee, who I had met 2007 at a dorkbotSF at San Francisco's Porn Palace where he presented some of his dildonic equipment, while I was there helping present the Mind Reading Martini Maker.

Says Kyle about Sirikata: "Turns out the sortof-project manager of sirikata was an ex-coworker from Linden, and contacted me about it. I've pretty much just been lurking on the list, haven't had much time to interact, but I've got high hopes for the platform, as there were lots of things I wanted to do at Linden/SL that never happened."

All I want to add is that listening to artist Chris Platz in that video above makes me feel like I spend my days playing in the sandbox. .. Wait, that can be a good thing actually!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Shamrock Hunt at Jabberwocky

I am happy to announce Mechatiki Research are participating in this year's St. Patrick's Shamrock Hunt at Jabberwocky (March 14-17)!

We wrapped the non-animated version of our new mechanic left hand prosthesis in one of Ona Ra's beautiful sculpty shamrocks and set them for 1L. And then I carefully hid it near our local outlet (for spoiler click image above to visit flickr).

Make sure to continue the search after picking up our hand - additionally to the many high quality items that will be provided, there will be a cash prize in one of the shamrocks that are hidden around the market place.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Filth Is Here To Stay

- but it's going to be segregated.
NWN's Hamlet sums up the just-announced Upcoming Changes for Adult Content like this: "In summary, content designated as "Adult" will be forced off the main continents, and resettled in a Linden-managed "Adult Continent"."

"There’s obviously a lot to discuss, " Linden Labs are aware, so they opened a total of 5 (five!) forum threads for residentsto discuss this mother of all policy changes.
This is also the first time in a long while that we hear of Age Verification again, which is mentioned as ONE of several means to ensure that prude residents (who still have all to be over 18) don't encounter things too exciting for them.

It will be interesting to watch A) the uproar of panicking residents jumping to conclusions B) how in the end the classification of content will actually be done. And of course the handling of moving residents and businesses onto a yet to be created (and named) continent.

More Critter Videos


Marsdog, a bubbly quadru-ped, I have to admit, actually moved backwards. I reversed the video. So, there, it's out.
I like Marsdog, it's one of the more harmless animated and physical creatures.

Hupfi III is a little less harmless. It tends to jump away to annoy neighbors or end up on empty parcels or stuck mid-air on the border to a no-object-entry land.
But worst so far has been the arm counterpart to Walkies II - it had been peacefully twitching for over a day before I happened to be present to see it, suddenly and without apparent provocation, take off towards the sky. Not to be seen to this day, despite several region restarts, a support ticket, a live chat session with someone who claimed an object with the name given did not exist in the region. Um, t's stil taking up prims in the prim-count, thank you very much.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Animation Goodness

Two new videos of Todd Borst's animation tool Puppeteer in action:
Mechanic Hand, a mechanic left hand with subtle animated finger movement.

And Walkies II, an animated sculpture in Second Life. being turned to physical it falls over and displays it's inability to get up again.

UPDATE: Patsy Linden just picked up Walkies II from the Mechatiki Skyloft where I have marooned it for now (until I need those 24 prims for renovation, bummer)! (And bought two hats, yay!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

BOO: Ghost Prims


It all started with the realization that the glassware sculpties I had turned to flexi were displayed as flexi non-sculpt prims in the regular viewer. (I had left them that way thinking that in the regular client they would show as regular, non-flexi sculpts as usual.)
In the edit window I noticed the flexi option not greyed out so I un-checked it right away on a few prims - and now the fact that they vanished from my view at that point didn't bother me, because I was editing from a distance and prims often are not visible from a distance.
Only after I had changed a couple glasses to ghosted prims I realized what I had done! The prims were still "there" but invisible, for any avatar and any viewer. They were accounted for in the land's prim count, and one bumped into them. But they were also not selectable, so they were not just normally invisible but ... ghosted.
... So off I sent a support ticket requesting a region restart.
Which didn't help.
It took me a few days to come up with a way to remove those prims: I logged in with the non-graphical SL client metabolt ... which has a feature showing a list of all objects nearby - this way I could find the items turned ghost and remove them. Phew!
I closed the re-opened support ticket, sharing my solution, LL didn't have any further ideas to help me anyway it seemed.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flexi Sculpts: Video

I tried the Imprudence viewer mentioned in this post and turned the Mechatiki glassware department to jelly:

On some sculpts the rendering quality decreases wildly after flexi is turned on, but I have confirmed I'm strongly looking forward to having this as a standard feature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

3D Photoshop which the users live inside.

"Essentially, Second Life is a 3D version of Photoshop which the users live inside."

Best one-sentence characterisation of Second Life ever. By Hamlet Au in NewWorldNotes, where he discusses Second Life After The Hype, and the Future of SL Media Coverage.

Here's my pic of the day:

(me standing on version 0.2 of Creature)

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Viewer brings Flexible Sculpts!

Flexi Sculpts, here they come ... a patch that was recently publicised on the Jira enabled early adopters with the appropriate skills to compile their own viewer to experience flexible sculpted prims - Now Imprudence came out with a ready-to-run client for us ordinary builder folks to be able to play with flexi sculpts too!

Download

"Note that this viewer is NOT OFFICIALLY SUPPORTED. It’s just for testing/fun, so if you crash, well, you crash. Don’t expect this feature in Imprudence until the performance issues can be sorted out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tinkering


I can see a multi-functional creature growing there ...

After a ladder, a table and a computer monitor this organic structure was a nice conclusion of a tinkering sunday!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Need a Flatscreen?


... For your 2nd office or living room? Then be quick and reply to this Plurk (within the next 24h or so)! 

I'm giving away this ~33prim rolling flatscreen plus test pattern texture to use as media texture in land settings to anyone who says they'd like one in a reply on Plurk. (If you tell me three reasons why you don't want to open a Plurk account in a reply on this blog, I'll send you one too.)

Is Land too expensive in Second Life?


... The monthly tiered fees to Linden Labs, that is, I am not going to go into any land market discussion ...

Considering that SL is a unique service (all the open source clones don't offer anything near the quality of SL in any respect and in that light land-prices have to be considered even more expensive in alternative grids) the answer is clearly no, otherwise the demand would not hold up in the way it does.

But what about the creator's perspective? Once you got used to detailed building - maybe fell addicted when playing around in a standalone Opensim, where prim count doesn't play ANY role at all ... it's hard to keep up with land purchases if one wants to make and use prim intensive creations in THE main grid.

Since my new installation of standalone OS isn't running as desired anyway, I was going through a bit of a prim turkey, so the fresh construction site mentioned in my last post comes as a welcome opportunity to tinker with some stuffs I hope Pinkpink is going to find useful and/or inspiring in her efforts. ... I am not so sure about that 300 prim truss I built today though ... But it turns out to be easy to prove to her that 1/8th of a sim is NOT actually really BIG for a project like a gallery ... some truss here, some fish there, and half the prims are a gone. LOL? or WTF?

While not surprising me in itself, it still reminds me of my own chronic shortage on prim allowance and also brings to mind Ann Otoole's blog-post in which she compares SL to RL costs. 

So, do I wish monthly land fees would be lowered? YES? But do I also want LL to invest in modern servers and other infrastructure that will keep the grid running and improve on it? Um, yes too! That means I cannot answer my question "Is Land too expensive in Second Life?" myself ... I politely pass it on to Linden Labs then ...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mainland Routine

Today I came across a classic example of the landcutting and extortion that was addressed in a recent Linden Lab policy update ...
In a first step in the development of a video gallery of sorts for the russian RL gallery Cyland, Pinkpink Sorbet was about to buy a ca. 1/8sim parcel in Chronocules, when I incidentally discovered a 16sqm parcel hiding on the map under a for sale icon (which I have kinda always on) in the few seconds the map was loading and the icon not yet displaying. Over this 16sqm parcel was hovering a rotating for sale sign, which was reported for visual spam and promptly removed by LL within hours and which Pinkpink had originally thought was for the >8000sqm parcel.
Remains the fact the parcel is set for sale for a whopping 7.500L$, and that the owner has banlines up which hinders passage up to 50m altitude!
It will be interesting to see how this works out and how the policy update will affect this particular parcel ...
Updates on the Cyland project will be posted as it progresses.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quoted for Truth: Laws of SL

Crap Mariner plurked a link to Prad Prathivi's blog post Sod's (Murphy’s) Laws of Second Life ...
which begins:
"1. When scripting, pretend it was *supposed* to do that.
2. Nothing you’ll make in Second Life is fool-proof, because they’re your only target audience."

and continues with gems like
"8. If you think nothing can go wrong, you’re a noob."
and
"12. Tell an avatar that there are over 75,000 people on SL concurrently, and they’ll believe you. Tell an avatar that a wall is phantom, and they’ll have to walk through it just to be sure."
or
"13. An error in a product you make will not become evident until you’ve started selling it in your store."

... I'm sure you'll find some you can relate to too ;)

EDITed to add a law that frequently mocks me: "Your prim allowance is always too low, no matter how often you add parcels of land to raise it."

I can has tier raise?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Historic Documentation pulled from Youtube

A documentation video about the world's first virtual strike, held by IBM workers around the globe inside Second Life, has been pulled from youtube citing copyright claims - "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by WMG."

This is another sad brick in the wall the music industry is building between them and their customers.

You can spot a few seconds of the video, played in the background in the video I embedded in this post. (EDIT: actually only like one screenshot, the longer sequence I remembered is obviously hidden in one of the clips that one is the trailer for)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shadows over Second Life

Yesterday I finally tried out Kirsten Lee's shadow viewer SD5-R1, which I had downloaded just shortly before Kirsten decided to pull all her viewers from the public.

After installing the viewer there are a few settings to check in the advanced debug menu ... and then, if one is lucky, there are rendered shadows, and little side-effects. In my case there was a certain unnatural glow that hurt the eye, which makes this viewer not the standard choice.
But as you can see in the video above (focus on the large cocktail glass!), the shadows cast are indeed amazing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SALT HUD FTW!

Don't ask what SALT stands for, don't ask where I overheard or read that it was a convenient ressource for megaprims of any size ... All I can tell you is it is a HUD attachment that is miraculously able to find and deliver almost all conceivable dimensions of over-sized prims - and if the exact dimension isn't in the repository you are presented with a list of similarly dimensioned prims to choose from.

As you can see in the image above I found the right mega-prim to finally support the Skyloft and thus prevent it from magically floating at 250m altitude. (Roboexotica office got also anchored to it.) Even if this may still not be physically convincing, I consider it a psychologically useful grounding ... The platforms up there are no longer "hidden somewhere in the sky" but "at the other end of that pole, beyond the clouds". Or whatever.

Get SALT HUD for free here.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Year's Achievement

Let me highlight a video, which is a trailer for a series of e-learning machinima, Mechatiki Productions provided the SL video filming for. It is all in german and targeted at representatives for the Austrian federation of unions.

In making the video last summer, everything had to be kind of rushed, I wish I would have had time to make even more custom animations and props ... but a lot of that e-learning stuff had to be edited in so we did what was possible within the deadline. 

Thanks and a big shout-out to Allexander Corvale, who has left SL for now sadly, and to LC Hoorenbeek and his friends who made the mass scenes possible. And special thanks to Pinkpink Sorbet, who provided major co-starring skills along with some of her original artwork.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

To Plurk?


Magggnnus Woodget, ringleader of Mechatiki Research haz a Plurk:

http://plurk.com/Magggnnus/invite

Follow this invite to register at this service, where Second Life is a country just like the US of A or Austria.

What is Plurk you ask? Why, a service that enables you to plurk obviously. Now if you have been living under a rock (like me) please go follow the above link and see for yourself!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Second Life on the road

When I found out that volleeSL - the Second Life client for mobile phones - wasn't ready in any touch-screen phone version, I was a tad disappointed, having recently upgraded to a LG Renoir.
My only consolation was that iPhone users were no better off than myself.
But then I decided to give the version for an older LG phone a try ... success! It runs, but it has to be said the navigation is harder than on my old Motorola, as it is designed for a phone with a keypad, and I have to switch the virtual keypad on the touch-screen from numbers to navigation keys every time I want to switch from moving horizontally to vertically and vice versa.

Have I mentioned yet that this is a graphic client?!

And if you know where you are you can actually make out little details on the tiny screen (even sculpties are rendered normally) ... in this video our avatar is inspecting Pinkpink's studio in the air - but fails in landing in the pink ashtray, since there's half-transparent green platforms obstructing the path ...
Visit this SLUrl to compare with "actual" view: http://slurl.com/secondlife/marsco/18/38/294

Of course volleeSL comes with it's limitations - you can't touch or right-click any objects, so inworld interactions are limited to communication. But since this is the only way to connect to SL on a mobile at all to send an IM from on the road, the ability to fly around in a graphically rendered scene is a nice add-on!

Monday, January 26, 2009

(Second) Life Like


Among the virtual worlds out there, there's a number of grids that share a lot more than being accessible with the same client softwares (Viewers) - they are based on the server code developed by the Opensim project, which in short reverse-engineered the SL server code after LL open-sourced their viewer code ... so they are basically compatible with each other and Second Life.

With significant limitations though, they all have the feel of what SL must have been like a few years ago, before I joined: sim-crossing is a pain, physics are poor, scripting is limited, no search, most have no currency, and so on ...

But still, thanks to free upload they are a alternative to the beta grid for testing animations before uploading them to SL, or sculpt textures etc. - which is what the standalone version of the Opensim server software is extremely useful for. It installs your personal region on your PC, which makes anything quite fast and lagfree (unless you pack your region with scripts that lead to errors which will make things go bad). It's also possible to host your region(s) on the net for public access, or connect it to existing grids, something I can see great potential in.

Had I written this post a week ago I would have mentioned the Openlife grid as the most important of these alternative public grids out there. Only, Openlife has dropped out of the Opensim project recently to go proprietary, locking out all other viewers than their own, pissing off users of the various existing viewers including Second Inventory, a backup tool that allows creators to transfer their content to other grids. 

Hence they are not on this current list of Opensim grids: http://opensimulator.org/wiki/Grid_List. (And hence I removed it from my list of grids to visit on a frequent basis.)

Advantages of Opensim over SL : a region in an Opensim region can support 45000 prims - compared to 15000 in SL; prims can have sizes larger than in Second Life; end of list.

At some point interoperability of grids is an aim of the project, but this will need a lot of sorting out of how to handle assets when crossing grids beforehand.