Wednesday 26 November 2008

A week of travel

...has kept me from writing. I have stopped in Eugene, Portland and Olympia; tomorrow I shall stand in view of Vancouver and admire the view of the Straits from Victoria, before returning to Seattle and southward again. The weather has been fine, but cold. I shall post pictures once my affairs are settled.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Mix'n Match Guest Post: The Do's and Don'ts of Hosting a Treasure Hunt in Second Life


...let as many people find out about the treasure hunt as possible
Even before the treasure hunt opens, announce it to as many people as possible. Obviously, your contacts are the first ones. But, also take advantage of already active groups in SL who are keen on treasure hunting. List the event in SL's Classifieds a week before. And for best exposure, do your best to get the treasure hunt blogged by Hamlet Au.

...provide enough hints so that participants are not endlessly searching
Spacing the clues are critical. If they are so far apart, the hunter will most likely lose motivation to go on. So, make sure that along the way, they are either getting mini-rewards or are receiving additional clues. Also, clues should not only be interspersed when the hunter is getting "warm". It is just as important to lead them back to the right trail when they are getting seriously "cold".

...make the treasure worthwhile to find
Inform the participant on what the treasure would be. No one wants to spend hours and hours looking for a "treasure" only to find a freebie shirt in the end of the trail. Not cool. I've also seen some treasure hunts with only L$100 pots in the chest. I do not think it is enough of a motivation for most. The only ones you will attract are the camper types who are probably just bored of sitting on a chair. Be creative! It does not even have to be a pile of money.

...make the search process a social event
There are so many activities in SL that can be done solitarily. I think what the world needs the most are events that bring avatars together. So, design the hunt as a group activity instead of just a one avatar mission. Try setting up pairs to do the treasure hunt. It is always more fun with friends.

...test out the hunt process first before releasing it to the general public
Many forget to do this and only find the quirks when they are reported by the participants. It is important that the clues and trails are seamless before it opens to the general public. So, do a couple of test runs first with some guinea pigs.


...make it so difficult for the directionally challenged avatars
I was at this treasure hunt where the clue was embedded in the middle of a prim and can only be found if you switch to flycam and point it at the right angle. Too challenging for most I think. Don't make us sweat so much.

...write the hints in a culturally biased manner
Although North America has a significant number of participation, SL residents come from all over the world. So, keep in mind the universality of the hints when writing it down. In other words, avoid geo-centric clues such as..."this is where the Brady Bunch vacationed during the reunion episode". It does not mean you have to avoid Pop Cultural references entirely. Just make sure it as accessible to most participants.

...turn off flight abilities
In RL, hunts are done on foot. But, it is unnatural to force avatars to do the hunts in this manner. Remember, it is a 3-dimensional environment. So, allow the possibility of vertical searches without the need for hiking up long stairwells.

...leave the treasure hunt all by itself
The "build it and they will come" attitude will not work. Keep a narrow window when the treasure hunt is open to the public. And as best you can, be present to host the event. No matter how well organized the treasure hunt is, there are bound to be questions and comments from participants. At the very least, be present so that participants have someone to interact with.


After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in Computer Science and Economics, Chenin Anabuki worked for various companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has also been involved with small to large-scale software engineering projects for consumer goods, finance, biotech and industrial design institutions in Silicon Valley. In addition to his Bachelor's, Chenin holds a Master's Degree in International Development Studies from the Universiteit van Amsterdam in The Netherlands. His graduate school thesis is an assessment on the impacts of micro-finance on rural poverty. Chenin Anabuki started Avatrian because it fulfills three of his most fervent goals...entrepreneurial, technological, and developmental. During his free time, Chenin enjoys drinking tea, reading Harry Potter and snowboarding down a black-diamond run at Lake Tahoe. Fortunate enough to travel and visit over fifty cities in the world, he considers Barcelona as his favorite. View Dennis Bacsafra's profile on LinkedIn When asked about his proudest achievement, Chenin recalls the time he hiked by himself to the peak of the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. "It was when I realized how much more I am capable of doing". Chenin can often be found in Second Life teleporting to various sites while overseeing in-world projects at Avatrian.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Mix'n Match

I have waited for Chenin Anabuki's guest Mix'n Match blog entry all week, but received nary a thing, except a promise he would send it last Monday. Ah well, such contests sound like fun when they begin, but can become a burden to a busy person.
My blog entry can be found on Harper's Bizarre.

Saturday 8 November 2008

Master of All She Surveys

Back in my standalone sim I am feeling much more like myself. I shall have to make a new tricorn, which I am loathe to do having seen the elegance that now caps Osprey's head. Well, I am due for a new outfit in any case.
My button land has become mountainous thanks to some fiddling with L3DT. We progress. Next I shall create a 3×3 region sim, rename it Tempietto, and spend a little more effort on landscaping. Once the ground is ready, I shall begin to build.

Friday 7 November 2008


What I find particularly fascinating about OpenSim is the magical ability to watch the behind-the-curtains communication that accompanies everything we do in this Life, as if the laws of nature (or the forces that convey those laws to our perceptions) were laid bare. Our universe is in active communication with our client, receiving requests, seeking permissions, assigning agents, requesting inventory and wearables, and broadcasting appearances to other agents. Of course I am the only being to exist in my Universe, so these (extracted) lines are like eavesdropping on the language of angels:
16:51:12 - [LOGIN BEGIN]: XMLRPC Received login request message from user 'Young' 'Geoffrion'
16:51:12 - [LOGIN]: Authenticating Young Geoffrion
16:51:12 - [LOGIN]: Telling OpenSim Test @ 1000,1000 ( to prepare for client connection
16:51:12 - [LOGIN END]: XMLRPC Authentication of user Young Geoffrion successful. Sending response to client.
16:51:14 - [CLIENT]: Got authenticated connection from
16:51:14 - [CLIENT]: Adding new child agent Young Geoffrion in OpenSim Test
16:51:14 - [APPEARANCE]: Sending appearance to all other agents for Young Geoffrion
16:51:14 - [FRIEND]: Young Geoffrion logged in; sending presence updates
16:51:14 - [FRIEND]: Young Geoffrion doesn't have friends.
16:51:14 - [FRIEND]: Claiming Young Geoffrion in region:1099511628032000

No doubt those readers who work with networks and protocols will find nothing remarkable about it. To the neophyte, it is metaphysical poetry. I am impressed that our names are first presented in quotes, and that a region claims us as their own, as though our existence were somehow in doubt. On reflection it is in doubt indeed, and our name, person, appearance, indeed our very claim to the tiny portion of space or time we occupy is the result of an agreement between those who perceive us and the universe at large. For if we could not agree that Young Geoffrion was an avatar agent, she would be no more than a whirling blur of bits and pixels, a message without a receipient or a sender.
Ponder thine own existence then, and what you are without them who love you and the region that claims you for its own.

Sapere aude!

One could be forgiven for thinking an 18th Century adventurer would be utterly hopeless around new technology, but if you remember my century gave you the natural philosophers and encyclopaediasts, Denis Diderot, Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, Rene Descartes, not to mention Emilie du Chatelet, Caroline Herschel, and the Palatine Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, then you might grudgingly agree we rationalists have never be slow to advance new ideas (even if we may be long-winded about doing so).
Therefore, when Osprey breathed that she had begun to play with a standalone sim, I could hardly stand about and watch: imagine, an island running on your own computer, with no assets (in explico except those you create yourself), no lag and no griefers, free uploads, and the ability to connect to a growing grid of opensource, experimental sims operated by the most technically adventurous residents of this Life.
Well, I went ahead and obtained one for myself. As you can see. Do not fear, that is Young Geoffrion, Ruth'd, and renamed as the default Test User, scandalously attired in tights and tee. As one of us is fond of uttering, Bwahahaha! I claim this dollop of land in the name of her Royal Highness...
I rub my hands in glee, for I have ambitions and designs on this teardrop of existence, this bubble universe, this vaporous plane. Architectural ambitions. Vast architectural ambitions.

Thursday 6 November 2008

At Last

“We cannot tell the exact moment a friendship is formed; as in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one that makes the heart run over.”

When first I came to this Life, I passed long months wand'ring friendless and uninspired. I cannot remember how I first heard of Osprey, but when I did I knew she was someone whose acquaintance I could not miss, and I remember clearly my first visit to her Combat Cards dueling grounds in Spangle two years ago and my first sight of her. Her love for this world and its divers delights, her patience and generosity to all who approach, her inventiveness and desire to try everything, and her wit and sense of mischief represent all that is right and good about this Life. Without her and those friends she has drawn about her, our World, in whichever reality you choose to inhabit, would be mere plywood prims and default animations, an empty wasteland of grey goo. To those famous newcomers who stay for an hour and disappear forever I can only say, but you have not yet met Osprey!

At last our paths crossed last night, and as tired as she was, and as willing as I ever could be to simply sit and talk, she just had to show me her discoveries: a Japanese Fishing Village from the 1950s, oh, help me out dear, I didn't make a note of the second jump, and finally the Templum Ex Obscurum! We shall return to Baron Grayson's site one day and I will make a proper entry on these wonderful builds, but for now, having found Osprey's company, I feel that I have come home at last.

Wednesday 5 November 2008


I visited the Big Brass ball at Caledon Steam City where a party was going on. When I asked if we were celebrating, Magdalena Kamenev diplomatically explained, "You may celebrate, mourn or just be, as you wish. All are welcome :> "

Then to Finechal Alliez for another party that was most definitely celebratory, where Code Hunter waved the flag.

And to Unofficial Obama Headquarters where the celebration had become exultatory.

A quiet moment at Gion,

And a most unusual encounter in Rivet City, worthy of a post of its own....

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Congratulations, Friends!

To all my American friends,
Felicitations! It was very exciting, and you have a leader you deserve! You do yourselves proud!

Sunday 2 November 2008

Mix'n Match

Second Effects explorers and merchants ArminasX Saiman and Vint Falken invited fellow diarists to open their blogs to one guest writing on a subject proposed by a second guest. After a seven-month hiatus from writing, I need all the encouragement I can get to return to regular postings, and left my name.

I have been assigned to write about Second Life as an exploration of culture & diversity, suggested by steampunk kitty Eladrienne Laval, and to be posted on Harper's Bizarre, a blog by reluctant space traveller Harper Beresford, whom I am yet to meet, and whose blog I am looking forward to reading. 
My proposed subject, Theatre in Second Life, will be journaled by Peter Stindberg, the founder of Babel Translations, on Tiyuk's Second Life Adventures. Here is one devoted to the worthy business of translation, building bridges and connecting cultures. Bravo. 
And I shall have the pleasure of hosting a guest entry by Chenin Anabuki, CEO and Founder of, about the do's and dont's of hosting a treasure hunt in Second Life, suggested by jeweller Skinkie Winkler. Welcome, Chenin, and we'll not mind if you leave a map or two around after your research. I have shovels and picks and some urns that want filling with doubloons and denarii.

Several new acquaintances in one fell swoop. I do hope Vint and ArminasX will bring us all together in world one day. 


I was unable to attend the opening or the parade later in the day, but I did make my first return to Second Life this morning, appearing to Enjah like a fantôme at daybreak on All Hallow's Day. She was mounting an exhibition of digital aboriginal at her gallery in Grignano. I was not entirely at ease in my skin - I never quite know how one says that in English - having been absent from it for so long, so express'd my pleasure inelegantly. My stony expression encased a volcanic delight. I hope Enjah could see igneous smiles behind my eyes at least.

Of course I was too happy to see Enjah to think of taking pictures, or even asking news of my friends, but remembered to pass a moment enjoying the colour behind the gallery after Enjah parted to feed Spouse and Hound. I may not have much time for visits this autumn but I look forward to seeing you all before long, and to writing again. My pen is loosed and my tongue is sure to follow. We shall see if I can dredge up enough wit to torture an audience.

My state of mind has persuaded me to seek solitary distractions in recent months. I have taken much comfort in puzzling out a mystery of sorts, applying myself to understanding a building tool called Blender and a dialect named Python. Here are some very early results. Translating them into what passes for physical reality in this world is embêtant, as I am still a rank beginner. Enjah will attest to that. But it is a start and sculpted objects are enticing.

As I have lost my home in Orion I shall soon start a search for land on which to build a new one. Do tell me if you have any recommendations. Or if you are acquainted with anyone who might desire a slightly used Radcliffe Camera. For the present I remain your very humble and itinerant servant.