Bite The Bullet

Yes I have to give up. I’ve tried everything to make 8 gigs of RAM work on my computer without success. People at Firestorm they have Jira where you can post your problems but I didn’t really get anywhere. I tried everything. I’m running 64 bit windows with 4 gigs of RAM and it works, for now. But I have lost confidence in it. My current system is over 5 years old, so it’s ready for replacement. So I’m going to buy a new PC.

Another Dell

Base is an XPS 8700 i7 – 4770 4th Gen 3.7 GHz, which can be overclocked to 3.9 GHz.
This is the current fastest processor around.
Memory 16GB Dual Channel DDR3 1600MHz – 4 DIMMs can be expanded to 32 gigs
Video Card AMD Radeon HD R9 270 2GB GDDR5 I looked this card up and its pretty good, 2 gigs is good enough memory
(I’m keeping my monitor unless I decide to have two)
Hard Drive 2TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive + Intel SRT 32GB SSD Cache 2 terabytes is good for these days, the solid state Cache speeds things up. I have 3 TB on my USB drives

It has lots of room for expansion. Cost €1,239 inc taxes and shipping

have to wait for new ID so can’t buy until the end of May

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Having a terrible time

I just spent all my savings on upgrading my computer, primarily so i could be up to date with Second Life. I upgraded to a 64 bit system with 8 gigs of RAM which is probably pretty standard now. Everything works fine EXCEPT SL. The system freezes after a few minutes. So I tried

1. Using recommended graphics drivers as per wiki : no difference. Tried different drivers …no good.
2. Spent hours testing RAM with no difference. Firestorm works with 4 gigs of RAM which makes having 64 bits pointless.
3. Reinstalled Windows and just installed FS, no difference.
4. Posted a jira to FS site no one has answered. This could take months.

Yesterday I spent hours researching, reading forums and posting to them. One thread decided it was my power supply that needed upgrading. Not doing that would mean dismantling the PC. This is very frustrating.

I am able to go into SL providing I have my graphics set to low. I managed to do my shift.

crashdude

I was crashing so much Siani created a body double for me. But this is not funny when it come down to it. My SL experience with low graphics is not good. All I can do is wait for the Jira response. It is very frustrating especially as everything is supposed to be better. Everything else on my computer works fine its just SL.

Not a happy bunny anyone got any ideas?

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Tails From The Cat Shop

Great new book out from Storm! Must Read! Click on the picture to buy.

Fantasy meets Reality in Cyberspace, in a world where our online and offline experiences, friendships and even, our identities are excitingly entangled. Avatars are extensions of us, leading lives parallel to our own dull everyday existence. There are no limits to our Virtual Lives and we are free to live in any World we choose. Having a Virtual Life sets you free to dream and some dreams do come true.

Storm and Dude are partners. In spite of the fiercely opposing time zones, they meet and fall in love on the dance floor of the Junkyard Blues Club in the Virtual World of Second Life. They begin collecting breedable cats and their Second Life gets very crowded, so together they open Not Another Kitten, a Cat Shop in Cyberspace. Then the Cat Shop meets the University and both Worlds collide with laughter.

Meet the Divine Penny, the Italian-speaking Siamese cat, with the delicate chocolate paws, and find out if Professor Poppett’s poodle recovers from ‘indoor barking syndrome’. Go on an adventure in the alligator infested bayou to hunt for the Golden Kitten and find out why love always wins the day.

tails book

Quite an achievment. Started as a blog and became a book. Well done Storm very proud of you!


Heres the URL again : http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IFRFR7G

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2013 – 2014

Had a fun filled time this holiday season as videos attest. Here are a few videos:

And New Year

We had great fun. Now to get back to work:

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Help

There is no need to watch the whole 2 hour video, the important stuff occurs in the first 15 minutes.

 



 

Storm gave me this link : Firestorm Help Video Its very good and well worth watching. There is a voice transcript.  Key issues is stuff like draw distance, Internet bandwidth and cache. Interestingly I have already the settings recommended and I don’t crash. I run HIGH with ambient occlusion and shadows. Bandwidth at 1024, draw distance at 128 I don’t crash and everything runs smoothly. I do not clear my cache, it is self purging. Always recommended is the Firestorm wiki. Its over an two hours so you might get tired but I was doing stuff like this while listening to it. The first 10 minutes could change your sl experience dramatically.

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Settings revisited

I have learned a few new things sins I posted Appearence so here is an addendum.  I have surveyed some people most were running sl in high graphics wise . I got a bit miffed with one person who had a very bright face light. I sent him a picture:

earniebrightI was blinded by his light so I sent him the above picture. Prior to this DJ Siani ( who is getting a web site ) told me I could derender lights. I managed to do this with one lady who was bright with four lights however I couldn’t do this with Ernie. I IM ed him He told me that he was running low on graphics and only went on high when he was photographing. He told me I could turn off lights globally by unchecking Local Lights. Which works but gets rid of ALL local lights including the DJ which I may want and the lights built into the sim. So. Below is a video I made about it all. I’m still getting used to voice narration and I used the stream from http://JunkyardLive.com . I am also still learning Camtasia 8.


settingspenSome people have different settings for different settings lol or for different activities. At the moment I’m sticking to one and seeing how it pans out for different sl environments. There is a balance between quality and speed I have yet to fine tune. I’ll let you know.

 

WARNING! AVATAR THEFT!

While I was chatting to someone about settings she told me her avatar had been hijacked. She was sent a bogus market place url that looked like the real thing. It captured her user name and password. She caught it in time and used Linden Labs fraud dept to get a new password sent to her. No damage but just a reminder to be careful.

 

BTW my best videos are now going up on RavensKiss (dot) org

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green screen

One of the features of Photoshop is the ability to make the background transparent. It is then possible to paste the image on top of any background. This was how I was able to have my avatar in the Google offices. This was done by taking the first picture in front of a “green screen” a single colour background to facilitate its removal.

dudesuitblack copygoogledudesuit

I am now able to do this with video.

Pretty good for my first attempt. I will be able to run a movie as a background. This means that one of my goals, that of bringing sl into rl is closer to being realised.

My choreographer friend Arabella has already come up with an idea of Halloween dances performing in front of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She needed to see her video again so here it is.

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A Year In Second Life

rezday2So today is my rez day, been in second life one year today and all I do is crash. Its been a wonderful year all in all. Changed my Life in many ways.   It gave me an interest  perhaps even a passion. I joined and immersed myself in this online community. I’ve known love and loss, sunshine and tears. Made friendships going beyond second life into the real world. Second Life is a wonderful cybercommunity which I have researched and come up with a tome = http://Cyberculture.co yes dot co not dot com . The dot com , net, biz, info, org are all being squatted. I wrote it as nothing had been written about cybercommunities from the users point of view, one who was involved.

Here is a list of my friends. All of them are special and have had their moments. Some have been lovers.

friends

 

Wow think I have about 100 friends, know all of them well, the ones at the beginning are those on line its 5.30 am my time  11.30 pm sl time Saturday. Bard is spinning and I’m listening via http://Junkyardlive.com I’m hosting at 2am Sunday til 6am. Its the people that make sl so special. Everyone I have met I think yes almost everyone I met at the Junkyard. (fan site here) Its the blues people the blues. This is a special breed blues people. I’m relatively new to the blues but I love it.

anim1“There are happy blues, sad blues, lonesome blues,
red-hot blues, mad blues, and loving blues.  Blues
is a testimony to the fullness of life.”  – Corey Harris

From the Official Junkyard Site‘ when I first arrived in sl I found the Junkyard on my second day. I was immediately drawn to the music and the people. I just hung out there all the time. My goal early on was to become a part of this. I knew from previous rl experience that if i just waited an opening would occur. I’ve done this in rl . So I hung out. I have told you the story of partners which says a lot. In between times there were flings of course. I get on well with women. I guess you would call me gregarious. I explored and joined other clubs sticking to the blues tho Blackhearts a rock club was an exception. How would I sum up my first year in sl? Well I discovered the blues.

Of course the most important thing that happened to me was I met Storm Constantine Love You Babe!!

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Great, I’ll try and meet you in sl

06670f0a-d96d-4537-bcef-7c4a7fe0a6ddI’m still trying to put together my first year in second life but i haven’t been able to get my head around it coz i keep crashing in sl. So far I have spent €250 trying to sort it out. I have had a great deal of support from friends in sl especially from my DJ Siani she came up with great ideas. My gf Storm has been great too. We finally nailed it down to getting a more powerful graphics card. However I know there is another problem but can’t for the life of me find it. My whole computer freezes while in second life. I borrowed this card and I seem to be able to last 5 hours which is great. BUT I still freeze. What has saved my sanity is Skype which has enabled me to stay in touch. Skype is great. My gf lives in Sydney I live in The Bog of Allen in Ireland. We communicate with text and video seamlessly. And of course it is free. Most of the testing programs I have used have been free. I have a Dell and on Dell.com (not Dell.ie) there is a diagnostic program which tests hardware. About a year ago I had the same problem which turned out to be memory. I’ve run a memory program from boot that found nothing. I have lost a great deal of data that couldn’t be backed up such as 200 odd very nice fonts. Also GodKnows.info was destroyed by spammers. Not my month is it? Computers are logical beasts so presumably there is a logical solution. However what happens when you have tried all the logical solutions? Waving incense over the hard disk? The odd mantra being repeated? I dunno . So,  Great I’ll try and meet you in sl….

Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum

AND THIS TO YOU FAULT:

tongue

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A Bundle Of Pixels

jiselleinfoGetting a virtual pet in second life is quite a remarkable experience.  You go to the shop and choose your pet, in this case a cat.You can see the genealogy of your cat. Opposite are the details taken when she (!) was three days old. The “birth” is an experience in itself. You buy a box with your kitty in it and rezz it. You have to wait 15 minutes and you are presented with a dialogue such as ” Your kitty’s eyes are just opening and she is fumbling around” This goes on for 15 minutes detailing what would be the birth of a real kitten. You, well we did, you sit and wait and watch as the box starts to move. Then the kitten is born. A kind of reverse imprinting occurs.

A rapid learning process by which a newborn or very young animal establishes a behavior pattern of recognition and attraction to another animal of its own kind or to a substitute or an object identified as the parent.

The kitten is tiny and has a name. You can see its menu detailing its love, happiness, food status and age. You set its area of travel . She can sit on your shoulder during the first week . (Sorry having trouble with “she” and “it”).

This is a bundle of pixels. Yet psychological mechanisms are at work here. Throughout second life a process goes on whereby identity is given to an onscreen representation of yourself. Here an identity i.e. your cat is a being. It is a primitive expert system that responds to your input.

 jisellelarge

This kind of behaviour is not uncommon in children. Their toys take on a life of their own with likes and dislikes, a pure projection of the child’s imagination. How much more real is having a “toy” that  has a degree of autonomy but is still dependent on you for love and food in order to grow and live? Bonding occurs. But the bonding is with the avatar so we are even further removed from the actuality. Isn’t this wonderful. first we have an identification with the avatar which becomes an extension of ourselves then we anthropomorphize even further to give life to a bundle of pixels.

 

Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle
Storm holding Ormond with Bronya on her shoulder Dude with Jiselle

 

You notice that set above the animals head is a menu. This shows the cats energy, love factor, happiness factor and if it is hungry. These change according to your interaction. The more you pet the cat the greater its happiness factor. In the first seven days your cat will grow. Initially she or he will sit on your shoulder but after six days will become to big to do this. Food is rezzed and the cat will find it (Its placed within the roaming range) . Your cat will roam around sniffing at things, cleaning itself and will chase butterflies from an emitter. There was an incident with Ormond where Storm (my partner) made a mistake with deeding him to the group. Ormond became sick and lay in his basket not eating and was covered with a blanket. It was quite upsetting.

Kill The Robot

In the 80s while researching expert systems I came across the following study, reference lost sorry. A small robot was created with LED lights and could traverse a counter top. It had sensors whereby when its batteries became low it would plug itself into a wall socket. It would emit “happy” beeping sounds and its lights would pulse and glow. A subject was asked to observe the robot then was given a hammer and told to “kill” it. It was after all just a bundle of transistors and servos. The subject was reluctant and the robot with the aid of proximity sensors was able to avoid the hammer. It could run away. Eventually the subject caught the robot a glancing blow disabling one of its wheels which began to leak oil. It ran around in circles bleeping. The subject became very distressed and demanded that the researcher kill the robot and put it out of its misery.

Eliza

Many of you might know of ELIZA (after Eliza Doolittle , Pygmalion)  created first in the 60s. It had a sub routine called DOCTOR. It was not AI but simulated it so well it became famous. Based on Rogerian psychotherapy a dialogue would go something like this:

Patient: “Everybody hates me”

DOCTOR: “Why do you think everyone hates you?”

Patient : Because my mother told them to”

DOCTOR “Tell me about your mother”

etc……key words could be identified or a response could be simply turning a statement into a question. It was phenomenal how people reacted. Some said when discovered using the program that it was confidential or personal even after having the program explained to them.

Paro, a robot used in the treatment of dementia.

Paro was developed by Takanori Shibata, a researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Paro is a therapeutic, pet-type robot with the appearance of a baby harp seal.

paro

Paro has tactile sensors and moves its tail and flippers and will respond by opening its eyes and moving its face toward the sound of voice. Paro’s sensors monitor sound, light, temperature and touch and Paro respond’s appropriately, such as responding to its name and being stroked.

Paro can show various emotions including surprise, happiness and anger, and Paro will cry if it is not receiving sufficient attention.

Anthropomorphism, or personification, is attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being.  This isn’t good enough to explain what is going on here with cats.  (Got to laugh there is a group on Facebook: P.E.T.R.A: People for the Ethical Treatment of Robot Animals. ) Our cat are robots coz  they are exhibit AI. They have there own mechanisms to handle their environment and respond to avatar owners. They can be petted and will reward the avatar with an increase in happiness. Just as a real cat responds to stroking with purring. But all they are is a bundle of pixels.

 Suspension of Disbelief

Suspension of disbelief or willing suspension of disbelief is a term coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a “human interest and a semblance of truth” into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgment concerning the implausibility of the narrative. Suspension of disbelief often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, and horror genres, as well as in professional wrestling.

Can it apply here? We have already come some way with this with our avatars in second life we consider them to be real. We go beyond them being merely representations and almost have given them a life of their own. Our cats have a certain autonomy but just like their real counterparts need food and attention in order to flourish. We are also “fooled”  into bonding with them through psychological techniques. It is therefore easy to pretend they are real.

I think this is worthy of further study. I think second life itself is worthy of further study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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