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ANZAC Day 2011

Anzac Day dawns at the Auckand Cenotaph, New Zealand

As Anzac Day arrives, it is a time for people of Australia and New Zealand to reflect on their shared histories and those things that unite them. Both countries have soldiers serving overseas. Dawn Services were held early this morning, and continued throughout the day.

Images from Christchurch Dawn Service

anzac3

There was standing room only at the National War Memorial in Canberra where between 25,000 and 30,000 people observed a minute’s silence.

Chaplain Mark Willis told the service the event is not about glorifying war or gloating in victory, but rather to remember the men and women who had given their lives for their country.

Anzac2

Lest We Forget

Help Japan

The Help Japan Fundraiser continues, with new stores added. Some of my favourite designers have special releases, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and contribute to this most worthy cause.

Help Japan

Hope Dress from Deviant Girls

Help Japan

Hysteria Raspberry Cake set from Nonko

Help Japan

Pumehana boots from R2

Help Japan

pour toi et pour Japon – PRAY from Tomoto

Credits

All designers as listed, available from The Help Japan Fundraiser

Hair: from Vita’s Boudoir, Ammaci

Poses: Dare, Dawn @ Pose Fair 2011, Still Life

Winged hair and winglets from Scribble

This post is difficult for me to write – I have been trying for some days now, but it has been much too emotional. Today I had some excellent news about the safety of friends, so now it is time to write the post.

Some readers who have followed my blog may know that until very recently, I was living in Christchurch, New Zealand. I moved there from Australia 6 years ago, and settled into one of the most multicultural, friendly, lively, quirky and beautiful cities in the world.

In July of last year my son died and I returned to Australia to bury him. I then went back to Christchurch with the intent of seeing out the year and then making a permanent return to Australia. Shortly after my return to New Zealand, Christchurch suffered a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, situated about 30kms out of town and at about 15kms deep. Aside from being a terrifying experience with significant damage, we were all so relieved that no one was killed. We gratefully listened to the experts tell us that we should give thanks that this ‘quake had not occurred at lunchtime, or else people would have been killed. We had a huge open air concert in Hagley Park, to thank the people of Christchurch for pulling together during this time. To my horror, I have a t- shirt emblazoned with “I survived the Christchurch Earthquake”.

The months leading up to my return to Australia were dreadful. Besides the grief for my child, the aftershocks continued, maxing out at 5.1. This meant endless sleepless nights, panic attacks and watching damage increase with each aftershock. Many people expressed the opinion that another was surely due, the ‘killer quake’. I knew quite a number of people trying to sell their properties to make the move to Australia, where the land is old and stable (mostly). I just wanted to go, and convinced myself the only reason was to be with my family in Australia. A 5.1 aftershock in late October had me in hysterics as I raced out of the building, oblivious to calls to take shelter under my desk.

As you now know, the killer quake came, with a vengeance, and at lunchtime. Although smaller in magnitude – 6.3 – it was centred in the city at a depth of 4kms. I have spent this week tracking down friends and colleagues. My former work place was successfully evacuated with no lives lost, although the building will probably be demolished. The house where I first lived on moving to Christchurch is now in the Avon River, along with the rest of the street. The streets where I walked at lunchtime in the city are now open air morgues for those people who so terribly lost their lives. The stench is bad.

Some who took shelter under their desks died, some did not. Some who raced out of buildings died, some did not. There doesn’t seem to be any good rule as to what to do in an earthquake to survive. It’s the luck of the draw. Today I received an email from a dear friend – he was my rock after my son’s death, and I have been sick with worry about him, unable to contact by phone. His street, indeed whole suburb has been declared ‘unlivable’ so I had no means to contact. His email reads in part:

Was at a car sales in town nearly crushed between cars but got out, 2 buildings came down right in front of me on ferry road by AMI stadium, my car ok, saw Mr Pickwicks on Fitzgerald Ave come down as I drove past, bridge at Kilmore buckled but got over it, people walking in a daze all over the roads had to brake to miss them, took hour and a half to drive home normally 15 mins, my house is a right off but still there, no power or water, didnt come to work on nites, packing up house slowly, every thing on floor other than 50 inch tv and freezer,qe2 pool fucked so are roads,stuff all damage over hornby way,took 3 days to get gas,eastern suburbs forgotten by Bob Parker(asshole),dont know if your stuff in lock up is ok will know when guy gets back from ozzie this week, grandma died on saturday morning so shes getting buried on Friday,so all family coming from ozzie when you coming to nz when,

He also tells me that as the streets in his suburb have no lighting it is dangerous to go outside at night – looters apparently have no fear.

On a good note, my dear friend Sophie from Sophie’s Cafe has re-opened, but with a greatly reduced menu. I’m just so thrilled she is up and running. This is her message to customers

I’m usually the strongest person but after all the devastation around me this ,has had a huge effect on both myself the children and Staff…
we would like to Thank all Customers for all your love and support …i have been at the cafe everynite ..if you need milk or anything knock on door or even come and say HI ,Huddy n i’ll make u a cuppa

Just to let you all know i am a fighter not a Quitter ..whateva the case may be staff and customer safety is 1st

Sophie walked for hours across the city looking for her daughters, who she found and brought home.

I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of people I know or have seen on a day to day basis – the bus driver killed when a building fell on the bus, the local fish and chippy owner whose newly purchased shop fell on her, the local tattoo artist killed by falling masonry – terrible events along with thousands of others, that will scar the city forever.

A good portion of the central city CBD will be pulled down, probably close to 80%. Christchurch will be rebuilt, but will be a different place. I am so grateful to have been able to see it when I did, before catastrophe ruined this beautiful place.

I now realise why I left Christchurch just a few short weeks ago. As my plane taxied up the runway to take off, a huge sense of relief overwhelmed me, that never again would I have nights awaking in terror from an aftershock, never again would I have to walk through the city looking at the tops of buildings to see if they wobbled, never again would I sleep fully clothed ready to bolt, never again would I feel the constant fear night and day. I would be safe in Australia. I left because I was afraid.

Through this emotional and personally distressing past week, I have come to a realisation. I am no longer afraid, and I am going back to Christchurch. There is much to be done.

My Christchurch

Sophie’s Cafe – my favourite seat is the blue chair nearest to camera

My Christchurch

The iconic Carlton Bar, directly opposite Sophie’s

My Christchurch

Methodist Church, opposite corner of intersection

My Christchurch

This speaks for itself

My Christchurch

Sophie has this sign at the door to her cafe

There are many appeals for funds for Christchurch. I’m sure you have seen them, along with a Secondlife fundraiser event. If you feel you want to donate to them, please do. Today, the NZ government announced The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, a global site where you can donate with credit card. Please consider this – receipts for tax purposes are available.

A good reference is this Christchurch Earthquake Map which will show you well over 4,000 aftershocks before the most recent earthquake. Tick the box to show the stickys to get a clearer picture, but remember it takes a while to load.

Photos from a local can be seen here

EaHH Extend a Helping Hand Quick Information

As many of you will be aware, a number of states in Australia, particularly Queensland, are enduring tremendous flooding on a massive scale. Towns, villages and cities have been inundated on an unprecedented scale, causing loss of life and property – in the city of Toowoomba alone, damage is estimated at $A6 billion. 75% of the entire state has been declared a disaster zone.

Australians are generally very resilient to disasters, being a nation prone to the full range of nature’s onslaught from bushfire through to floods. However, this disaster has left such a trail of destruction that I would urge you to please donate funds to assist these people to recover their livelihoods.

Sanura Sakai has organised in a very short timeframe, a fund-raising event in world. Sanura herself is a resident of a Queensland city facing its second inundation and evacuation in a week. The event, ‘Extend A Helping Hand’ has a great range of goods kindly donated by a wide range of creators. These include:

Sanu
A.D.D Andel!
This is a Fawn
Evie’s Closet
D-LAB
fri.day
Idiosyncrasy
(fashionably dead)
Intrigue Co.
Ruru@Pino
=HooT=
Tarnished
Whippet and Buck
Cupcakes
* Deviance *
Frippery
*Dilly Dolls*
Mango, Mango!
Violent Seduction
*Epic*
Schadenfreude
Weather? or Not!
Young Urban
RezIpsa Loc
Creative Insanity
Thistle Homes
Barcode
The Stringer Mausoleum
Somnia
Freedom
FD Decor
Adore&Abhor
A-BOMB
*RRS*
[.Zombie Fetus.]
Shades of October
C&D Designs
~*By Snow*~
:+:Studio Sidhe:+:
Lolapop!
The Black Canary
Kahli’s Closet
AA Garden Center
Polygon Fashion House
[Ellie’s Attic]
Mer-Elf Creations
Ocsycat Designs
Fallen Gods Inc.
Miamai
SLink

Donation Booths can also be found set up at these locations:

Royal Living Magazine HQ
The Deck
Breedables Inc. HQ
Cocan Rois Estates
Outpost 13, Industrial Music Club

And this vendor has an item set up at their mainstore location:

Magic Pets HQ.

Read more at katjohnston.com

You can make direct donations to The Queensland Premier’s Appeal

You can keep up to date with the Australian ABC

Messages of support and assistance have been received from around the world, including the governments of Great Britain, People’s Republic of China, European Union, USA, and a most compassionate message from the US Ambassador in Canberra, Australia, which I will quote from:

“American readers may not realize that the affected area is larger than Texas, and already these floods have taken at least 19 lives, destroyed hundreds of homes, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Many of us have family, friends, colleagues, and counterparts living in this region, and each day presents special challenges. Yesterday, we worked with a group of Americans trapped by rising waters in the town of Gympie, who were helicoptered out to safety. But we know that when the waters finally subside, an even greater task lies ahead. Secretary Clinton, Consul General Niels Marquardt, and I have pledged our Mission’s support to the Prime Minister and to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Among other things, our Embassy personnel are donating to the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal, volunteering to help affected communities clean up, and connecting with American businesses that are interested in donating food, clothing, furniture, or expertise to those in need.”

So, please go along to Extend A Helping Hand Fundraiser event to donate to this most worthy cause.

Extend a Helping Hand Event Hall

Images courtesy of Kat Johnston

Tonight we participated in a little Load Test exercise at Inworldz Desert Island, here’s the results:

Load Testing Inworldz

As you can see, a swarm of people, maxed out at over 50 !!

Load Testing Inworldz

And the radar shows it all

Load Test

Resources for the test, coping nicely.

This dramatic improvement is the result of new software, heavily modified opensim 0.65, to be rolled out across the entire grid very shortly 🙂

Credits

Brought to you by Inworldz

One of the best things of any virtual world (well, not any) is the ability to create whimsical, fun pieces which would be entirely impractical in the physical world. One of my favourites is this cosy house, built by bebe mahogany of Mooville.

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

It comes with the wee fenced garden, and sits upon two sturdy bird legs

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

And also a homespun style chimney for a cosy look.

Credits

Birdhouse by Mooville

Accessories: pillows and rug from Boho Hobo

All items and links are Inworldz

Post title inspired by “Make a little birdhouse in your soul” by The Might Be Giants, enjoy the clip below 🙂

The Inworldz Interview

During this past week, I was fortunate enough to interview Elenia Llewellyn, and she was kind enough to find time in her hectic schedule to allow for this. Elenia is one of three founders of the virtual world, Inworldz.

The Facts

The three Founders are:

Elenia Llewellyn (InWorldz name) – Beth Reischl
Legion Hienrichs (InWorldz name) – John Arnolde
Tranquillity Dexler (InWorldz name) – David Daeschle

Login URI: http://inworldz.com:8002/

Current number of registered accounts: 18,484+

Economy: 500 I’z = $1US. Currency purchased and sold via paypal account

The Interview

Thank you for agreeing to this Q & A interview, I do understand you are extremely busy. How many new accounts can you handle immediately?

New accounts are not an issue. Even if there is an issue for them registering, we handle it very quickly with a simple note to us in the forums or emailing support@inworldz.com

How many logins can your grid cope with? What would happen if 5,000 people attempted to create an account and login this weekend?

I would love to say we could handle it no problem, but that would be very unrealistic. Right now, the back end hardware can handle easily 1000-1500 avatars spread out over the grid. If they all logged in at one time as first time registrations, I know InWorldz Desert Isle would be very unhappy until we are ready to start our revolving regions for welcome area.

Do you see an upsurge in interest in Inworldz in recent weeks?

We track our registrations pretty closely, and we do see spikes in registration depending on the outside metaverse news. We are aware of the interest of other groups, seeing where we go, what we do, and we’re fairly sure that interest is just going to continue to grow.

Do you want there to be a move of the education stream from SL to IW?

The education sector is very welcome here, and we’re aware that there are education groups looking very closely at us as a viable alternative. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that we’re all aware that InWorldz is growing, and we don’t have staff dedicated to Education at this time, and some of the things they are looking for may or may not be readily available just yet. We hope that as we nail down the stability further, that we’ll be able to provide them with more of the standard features they’ve become accustomed to, and take their other needs into consideration for the entire grid as a whole. There’s a lot of good ideas that come out of the varied groups out there.

Do you welcome all communities (child avatars, Gor, BDSM)?

We currently have Gor sims, and BDSM and we even have child groups as well. InWorldz Kidz (by Kristobell Jiminy) was created and a charter was put together with our input to ensure that nothing inappropriate could be misconstrued, and we state very clearly sexual ageplay is simply not tolerated here. We also have many PG groups here, and we work with any group on their various charters to make sure that nothing violates ToS and we’re active with the community when there are questions about these groups and charters.

When do you plan to have voice capability?

I seem to get asked this a lot! We had started work on the Freeswitch voice module, however, there were some serious integration issues with it. Looking at the Whisper/Mumble system, it also has integration issues, such as the users would have to replace their SLVoice module to use their favorite viewers. We have not determined yet, whether we’ll have to just create a custom viewer for voice as of yet, so a timeline is very difficult to give on that. We had hoped to have it much sooner, but at this point, we’d rather look at a solution that doesn’t require custom coding our viewer unless we’re absolutely forced to do so.

I have been told that your physics engine will be Nvidia PhysX – is this correct and when do you plan to introduce it

Yes, we are going with the Nvidia PhysX engine. Tranquillity’s current timeline for it, is to be started around Jan. 1. His roadmap right now is to handle the network stack rewrite, then scrap the script engine and rewrite it so physics can become a reality. I think people will really like the physics engine, we’ve spent alot of time studying it and going through it’s capabilities and we’re fairly sure the residents will love what they’ll be able to do. Not to mention, we’re excited to see where we can take the script engine side of things and what neat things we’ll be able to do with the various options in PhysX.

Are you working with standard back-end protocols for everything?

Our backend protocol for assets is custom designed for maximum throughput and built in load balancing. other communications are done via SOAP, XMLRPC and other standard internet protocols.

What are your biggest technical challenges, at the moment?

Managing the many, many bugs that need fixing

Where is your funding coming from?

Our funding is strictly from our residents. Have we discussed other venture options? Of course. However, while we may debate the options occasionally, we feel very firmly that we answer to our residents, and anything else would sidetrack us from giving them the grid they want to see develop.

What sort of stability can you offer on your grid, especially for people keen to invest in land purchases?

Over the course of the past few months, stability has been our number 1 priority, and to that end, we have spent alot of time cleaning up memory leaks, streamlining code, completely rewriting the assets, and all of these things have greatly enhanced stability. Originally when we started, we would run rolling restarts daily, now we average a rolling restart every 3 days for regions. Stability is always at the top of our list, if our residents can’t get to their regions, then they have no reason to be here. If this means we monitor their region, pull scripts, or patch areas of concern, then that’s what we do.

Other grids have come and gone, which initially showed promise. You seem to be working at a steady pace, rather than providing all the bells and whistles immediately. What are the medium and long term plans for IW?

Bells and whistles are great if you have a solid stable foundation. Our feeling is until we’re at that point, the bells and whistles can stay as goals while we work out the core issues.
Short-mid term goals: stability, the new script engine with better controls, PhysX implementation.
Long term goals: Custom loadable modules for customers (we’d love to create an RP module for various forms of RP, and other modules our residents have ideas on), peer reviewed interoperability, and to actually bridge the 2D/3D gap between the web and Virtual Worlds

I would love to see an Arts community, live music, radio, and a diverse fashion industry here in IW. do you think all this is possible?

Interestingly enough, we have one resident already with two sims dedicated to the Arts, Stefanik Dagostino with Artlandia and West Artlandia. There’s also Jeri Rahja who has been working with some artists as well. Then we have soror Nishi who came over, and she’s just great, her work is amazing. We have dj’s in world, and music urls and streaming work fine here. Our fashion is really starting to get pretty diverse, as you blogged about. Although I think the gentlemen in our world may disagree, as they need far more variety.

Thank you again for your time!

Set up fee for a private isle is $75US, monthly tier is $75US, so an initial payment of $150Us. This gives you 35,000 prims for your sim.

Inworldz has a mentor programme to assist your entry into the environment.

The Inworldz Interview

Inworldz Arrival area – Inworldz Desert Island (IDI)

More information and FAQ on Inworldz can be found here

Metaverse Interview video here

Elenia’s blog here

Prims can be exported from SL and imported into Inworldz IF you are the creator of the prims. However, textures do not import and must be reapplied to prims in world.

Inworldz Servers

Inworldz Servers

Inworldz has huge room for growth, at a surprisingly reasonable cost. There is a rapidly growing market for creators wares: clothing, shoes, hair, AOs, furniture, botanical, jewellery, skins, shapes, accessories – in fact, you name it, there is a place for it. The demand is for high quality and known SL brands (although not only known brands). There is a growing arts community, music, live music, education, business and government sectors. Come and see for yourself!

thank you

A few weeks back, I wrote a post about the death of my son, Jesse.

Since then, I have travelled to Australia and buried him, and returned to New Zealand and to a small degree, SecondLife.

The purpose of this post is to say thank you for the very many messages I received: some from friends, many from strangers, but all of them were an outpouring of love and support which quite overwhelmed me. I showed my family the comments on the previous post, and they too were touched by the responses of the people who commented there.

From all of us, thank you

The Blur

The blur between sleep and awake, the little death

The Blur

The realm of tattered remnants of dreams

The Blur

The knowing of a moment

The Blur

The Awakening

Credits

Skin: Valentina by Ugly Duck

Hair: Enix by Truth

Clothing: Her Ghost by Scribble at Blur

Photographed at Blur – A Mirror Installation

Artists

Allegory Malaprop
Apatia Hammerer
Bryn Oh
Daelia Dollinger
Jojorunoo Runo
Juliette Westerburg
Lyndyn Tzara
Miel Nirvana
Moo Money
Note Buaku
OMGWTF Barbecue
Radio Signals
Redd Columbia
Riki Yifu
Sanura Sakai
Selavy Oh
Serj Enoch
Sienia Trevellion
Stoic Ixchel
Surrealia Anatine
Vintage McMillain
And others.

I close my eyes
Then I drift away

Aurora

Zeta dress by Kunglers, hair by Calico Ingmann, jewellery by Dark Mouse, skin by INAYA, shoes by Surf co

Aurora

Into the magic night
I softly sway

Aurora

Oh smile and pray
Like dreamers do
Then I fall asleep
To dream my dreams of you

Aurora

In dreams…I walk with you
In dreams…I talk to you
In dreams…Your mine

Aurora

All of the time
We’re together
In dreams…In dreams

Aurora

But just before the dawn
I awake and find you gone
I can’t help it…I can’t help it
If I cry
I remember

Aurora

I’ll be happy in my dreams
Only in dreams
In beautiful dreams

Credits

Dress: Zeta by Kunglers

Skin: Maori by INAYA

Hair: Monique by Calico Ingmann

Shoes: Nantucket by Surf Co

Jewellery: Heart Stone necklace and earrings by Dark Mouse

Poses: Del May

Photographed in the beautiful art installation, ‘Worlds Fair Shanghai 2010 by Bryn Oh’

Lyrics from “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison

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