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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eCollege et al

eCollege.me is nearly ready. I have transferred it from WordPress to my Hostgator hosting account. This means I can set up sub domains and have email accounts. Currently the eCollege site auto directs to the blog. I love the design you can view it here. (my links always open a new window)

I have a problem.

einsteinlaughing

omgg.net  how can I worry with a picture like that on my page? My problem is this: I have too many domains and I need help. I have now registered 45 domains, all of which IMHO are great,  Really Great dot me  and Really Really Great dot com. I can manage them all but it is getting to the point where i have to start teaching others. My message is simple : Everyone should have an Internet address. I can teach HTML and how to set up a domain. I have a disability; I am bipolar, manic depressive in old jargon. There is now a strong movement for people with disabilities to access Internet technology. I can help with this.

I have skimmed The ICT  pdf on disability and inclusiveness for those with disabilities. Bit of my history, two points:

  1. During my first degree (B.Sc. (hons) Psychology) I visited a few large mental hospitals in the UK that were being closed and the patients released into the community. They were terrible places. Care in the community was to be the thing. I spent six months in an acute admissions ward of a psychiatric unit in a general hospital. Often patients were dragged in screaming and kicking and forcibly medicated. Some were given ECT.
  2. Michael was a young schizophrenic 6ft tall and built like a brick shithouse. He was admitted to psychiatric care because of his behaviour. He was released into the community without any support. He returned to our local housing estate and the local crack dealers were using him as muscle. They kept him supplied with crack cocaine. He went on to murder an ordinary person who was visiting the estate for no good reason. He killed him by stomping on the victims face who later died from facial injuries. I had to write a social enquiry report for the central criminal court (Old Bailey). Despite Michael being mentally ill I made sure he did NOT get a three year hospital order. He was too dangerous. He was sentenced to 18 years in a prison hospital. Care in the community did not work.

Being mentally ill is a disability and from my skimming of the report disability is mostly seen as being physical or as a mental defect. My target is the mentally ill, which is a permanent disability. There are several things I can do.

  1. Building our self-esteem is something most of us will have to work on all our lives. Most of us will never reach a stage in life where we feel 100% secure about ourselves. Certain events in our daily lives take a toll on our self-esteem, just like other events can make us feel better about ourselves. The Internet is a great medium for encouraging self esteem. Having an Internet identity can promote self esteem
  2. Skills can be taught like basic HTML and graphics.
  3. Having a blog can be a wonderful form of expression.
  4. I belong to the blues community in the virtual world of Second Life, it is a very caring community. I have blogged about it a lot and it is detailed in my briefing on Cybercommunities here. I believe it would help to overcome feelings of isolation.

This is my goal to target people suffering from a mental illness ( I an a qualified counsellor) . I can guide and teach all of the above. How am I going to do this? I’m not sure. I need advice and I will seek it from the RSA.

Meanwhile back at the ranch I just got my brain pickings Sunday report. Very interesting and I highly recommend you subscribe to it.

The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the “OK Plateau” of Performance & Personal Growth

by

Essential Free Graphics

One of my sites I am developing is called eCollege dot me. I have taken the post from there and duplicated it here as it has a few good points worth mentioning.  I am a wannabe artist. When I was at school many years ago I had a wonderful imagination but couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life. Even my stick men were misshapen. It came as a revelation that computers could draw straight lines for me.  I have said on my RavensKiss dot org  site that my computer is a window on the world where I spend most of my time and this is why I make videos to give others a chance to see what I see. On the eCollege site I will be offering hints and tips like the ones below. i do love playing with graphics I dunno if its art but it is creative. I live on disability so I cannot afford to buy programs but found through my trawling of the Internet that I don’t have to. I now run 46 gTLDS accumulated over the past year and at €10 per year each and my own hosting company………its a great hobby. Not interested in making money but I do like to be of use, I can nearly write whole sentences with my domains so please Useme.biz 🙂

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A good graphics program is essential. Photoshop is used by all professionals and I did a free online course where I learned the essentials. Photoshop CS2 is very old but available free of charge. I use it primarily to make backgrounds transparent. I have a green studio in Second Life (dot) com which makes it easy to make a background transparent. The whole process takes minutes.

hoverboardcs2

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To make a background transparent use the magic wand to highlight the colour range then create a layer. Then go back to the main layer and cut the highlighted background. Save the file as a PNG which preserves the transparency. Once I have the image with the transparency I can add it to any picture I like.

hoverboard2csa

However for everyday work I use Expression Design because it is so much easier to use. You can produce excellent graphics and manipulate images. You can also import Photoshop. PNG files are great and hold transparency information. I use it to create text logos and signs. It is made by Microsoft as part of the Expression Studio. The latest version is free.

hoverboarding

You can get Expression Design here

If you need icons there is a good site here, Click on picture.

20-Flat-Icons-PSD

talk Because I am not very good at Photoshop and Expression Design is so easy to use I import the sheet of icons as a jpgtalk copy then cut out the ones i want. However you may want to get rid of the background so use Photoshop for that. All this takes minutes. It is worth spending time learning both Photoshop and Expression Design. A lot of my learning has taken place through experimentation.

To capture any image on your computer you can use “Print Screen” top right on your keyboard. If you want to be a bit more sophisticated download and install 4 Shared Shot . This enables you to have control over what you capture.

ecollege2

TIP: Be careful when you download and install some free programs. The only way they make money is to install add ons. These can be toolbars or set your search engine to one they get commission on. Always install using the Advanced option and deselect the add ons or search engine choice.

Of course Microsoft Word is a great graphics program too…..more later.

Next post HTML.

If you need a hand with anything do get in touch…..

Seren Says

From : Seren Haven My Comments in Italics

notmyselfIf there’s one thing we can be sure of, people are very different from their real world selves when they are in sl. Many that i’ve spoken to will say that they are less reserved, more outgoing, and less inhibited in sl than in their real lives; for many, sl is an opportunity to explore ideas, pathways and leanings that are either impossible or untenable in rl. Indeed there are a large number of people who will say that the representation of the person you’ll meet in the virtual world is far more ‘themself’ than the person you will meet in the flesh – possibly the most absurd contradiction of all, but then again, perhaps also the most revealing of insights.

Co0mment: Why is there such a lack of inhibition?  This I find hard to understand. If I make a fool of myself in sl I blush in rl. When I make a joke I laugh in rl. From a study of Evolutionary Psychology “People are complex,” said Kruger. “Just because somebody seems to be a big risk taker in one area doesn’t mean they will take risks in all areas.”. I can (and have) base jumped off the Eiffel tower in sl and admit to having a wrench in my stomach,  even tho I could not die. We can take risks with our avatars without fear of approbation? I think not. People have been driven from sl because they have been emotionally hurt. s why the lack of inhibitions when the avatar can be censored?

That is not something with which i have a problem, but i can’t help wondering sometimes just how much my perception of the person, gathered from my interaction with them inworld, may be very different from the reality – and, if people really are very different when they’re logged in to the person who goes about their daily life outside sl, then how much is my perception of them coloured by their virtual behaviour?

Comment: This happens to me with women I have met. They have acted and looked in sl like 20 somethings. They have acted in speech like 30 somethings. I have reacted to them as such as I have been a 30 something. We have exchanged rl photographs. My perception of them has changed. The avatar “looks” become a mere cypher. However the behaviour mine and theirs  remains the same. In rl I act like a 30 something with physical limitations.

If we’re talking practicalities, then the answer to those questions is quite possibly, ‘it doesn’t matter’ – if i’m only ever going to spend time with you inworld, does it really make any odds whether the avatar bears any resemblance, in any way, to the person behind it? Probably not – ignorance, as they say, is bliss and in many ways it’s a lot easier to get to know and socialise with someone on a virtual level, that it can be to reconcile two very different, yet the very same, personalities that form the two sides of the sl/rl coin. That’s not to say it can’t be done – many inhabitants of sl have no problem with this sort of dilemma: within my own circle of sl friends and acquaintances there a quite a few who socialise with each other in both worlds, indeed, i can think of at least three couples i know who met in sl and have successfully, and very happily, developed that relationship into one that spans both worlds.

Comment:  Are there different personalities inhabiting the same rl/ sl complex? Seren would say yes. Quiet, unassuming, shy rl  + outgoing, chirpy, vociferous in sl . We have :
“Dissociative identity disorder (DID), also known as multiple personality disorder (MPD),[1] is a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior, and is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

Is this what we are seeing? Two enduring personalities but without memory impairment and do the two identities cross over  at all?  I am reminded of Superman, mild mannered Clark Kent until he becomes the avatar Superman. His were integrated and Clark would lift his glasses to see through walls.

Long-time adherents of this blog and close friends will know that i am not one of those people. When it comes to the division between real and second lives, i tend to see either/or and that dividing line is, for me at least, a difficult one to cross. You might imagine that there’s a simple explanation for this – but it’s actually quite a complex set of factors that result in the stratification of worlds in my mind, and much of it boils down to the point i made at the head of this post: the person behind the avatar, through design or ‘accident’ is highly likely to differ from their inworld persona in, often very fundamental, ways. Anyone who has ever corresponded with me outside of sl will attest to the fact that this is entirely true when it comes to myself.

Inworld, i am gregarious, fun, sociable and utterly bonkers – sometimes i have to consciously make an effort to shut myself up and let somebody else get a word in edgeways, and yes – i am one of those who would say that this is more representative of the ‘real me’ than you would ever see in the real world. Take me even a small step distant from sl and my personal changes dramatically – there are few people indeed, even close friends from sl with whom i’ve made connections outside the virtual environment, who will ever have received a chatty, amusing or sociable e-mail, or for that matter any correspondence that is more than a couple of lines of bare facts and information. Gone is the gregarious, risk-taking, typo-monster – instead you’ll find a person for whom normal conversation and social interaction is insanely difficult. (So if you ever do get an e-mail from me along the lines of “Hi, here’s that thing i promised to send you. Bye!”, it’s not that i’m being rude, i simply clammed up beyond any hope of recovery after the “Hi”!)

Sad, isn’t it?

Yes it is sad. I would love to take you down the pub and a circle would develop around you. You would be the life and soul of the party as you are in sl. i am reminded of the movie :Nim’s Island where a writer of a popular adventure story is an agoraphobic recluse. Living her life vicariously through her books. When faced with a reality dilemma she rises to the occasion magnificently. She becomes her avatar. What are you frightened of Seren? What have you got to lose?

Sometimes i do have a crazy moment and think it would be amazing to meet up with someone from sl in the real world, maybe go for a drink or play tennis, or whatever it is that normal people do… but then sanity asserts itself and i safely rationalise myself out of trouble.

The way i see it, sl is sl – rl is rl and, until i can be convinced otherwise, never the twain shall meet. You see, i really enjoy the illusion that sl weaves – the happy, crazy, clever, chatty people that i surround myself with and count myself to be fortunate to know – but the point is that it is only their sl persona that i really know, and it that illusion was to be tarnished or shattered, things could never be the same again. What if that incredibly talented, funny guy that i know so well in sl turned out to be an insufferable bore, with bad breath and an irritating manner in rl? What if that daft girl, with the ridiculously tall avatar and the terribly inappropriate topics of conversation inworld turned out to be ridiculously short, terribly staid and awfully sensible when away from her laptop? Just as bad… what if i turned out to be a massive disappointment to you?

Comment. Why the dichotomy? When I see you in sl I see the blogger Seren I do not see an avatar. I find you intimidating both blog and avatar wise. Its why I haven’t spoken to you these past two weeks. And dear lady I reached this space through your sl profile. physical characteristics play little part to the discerning mind. as do physical avatar characteristics. Avatar character however DOES play a part. All of us do not belong in a psychoanalytical box. Humans / avatars are part of the same being labelled ME. I am including this in my briefing on cyberculture.

How could we retain the rosy-hued picture we’d built up of each other, if we knew the reality would make us feel nauseous if we had to spend more than ten minutes in each other’s company? Bitter experience has taught us that, in so many things, the reality is never as palatable as the imagined reality… so, to avoid disappointment, maybe i’ll just stick to my imaginary friends. Will you be my imaginary friend too?

s. x

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. 
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly. 
I’m crying.

I’ll be your friend. Fancy a pint?

Philip / Dude

Passivity

Second Life Hosting and

2ndlife.biz refers

Graphic Designers and professional web designers are princesses and princes and are paid accordingly. Always wanted to be one but between you and me and this blog (just between us ok?) I’m not good enough. Sure I know html (hypertext markup language) even a bit of html 5 . I can recognise segments of code and nick them if they are not copyrighted. But friends why bother? There are a million free WordPress themes. AND web site templates. All free. AND if you find a really really good one buy it. I did for 2ndLife.biz. Its gorgeous and omg costs me 8 euros a month! Shock! Horror! 2 euros a week that’s, hang on, oh shit about 21 cents a day. Damn and me living on disability. The cat will have to go, she costs me 80 cents a day. Could have 4 web sites ….I’M JOKING>

I just do not understand why people are not internet freaks like me.

In this one-hour documentary produced by the BBC in 1990, Douglas falls asleep in front of a television and dreams about future time when he may be allowed to play a more active role in the information he chooses to digest. A software agent, Tom (played by Tom Baker), guides Douglas around a multimedia information landscape, examining (then) cuttting-edge research by the SF Multimedia Lab and NASA Ames research center, and encountering hypermedia visionaries such as Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson. Looking back now, it’s interesting to see how much he got right and how much he didn’t: these days, no one’s heard of the SF Multimedia Lab, and his super-high-tech portrayal of VR in 2005 could be outdone by a modern PC with a 3D card. However, these are just minor niggles when you consider how much more popular the technologies in question have become than anyone could have predicted – for while Douglas was creating Hyperland, a student at CERN in Switzerland was working on a little hypertext project he called the World Wide Web…

LANGUAGE: English
PUBLISHER: BBC

The point is Douglas was tired of the passivity of watching television; Here is the opening of the movie:

He thought there would be an Avatar to assist him through the internet, cyberspace. We do not have such a thing unless Google bots can be called that. The multi media lab no longer exist and the only micons we have are the ones I created and yes I own micons.org and made hundreds of them . Here’s one i like :

tigerzoomSo we are interactive. um…er… is web surfing different from channel surfing? Of course we have 600 million vids on youtube but is that different from just having 600 tv channels? We have a global community like Facebook AND ANYTIME ANYWHERE I can poke a friend. Second Life has Avatars now we are getting somewhere, well to 30 to 50k people. We have blogs.

How many posts are published on WordPress.com?

WordPress.com users produce about 29.2 million new posts

I spent a good while sussing out my comments plug in. Because :

How many people read blogs on WordPress.com?

Over 395 million people view more than 3.7 billion pages each month.

40.5 million new comments each month.

So here we have great interactivity. Youtube has comments.

What gets to me I guess is that people do not seem to be a part of it all. If I lived in a city I would want a cool address. I would also want a cool mail address (jeez I’ve been saying this sine 1998, still they don’t listen). I have philipjamesbryan@live.com (hate country names) . its my name. I have Philip and Dude @irishsecure.com for twitter i have pj@micons.org . info@2ndlife.biz and now admin@imacoolchick.com for staff i am hiring. If I need an email address i just create one. Takes 30 seconds and they all have web mail. No no no I don’t check each one I have them all forwarded to philip@irishsecure.com which I keep open all the time.

So kids there you have it., I can do no more than offer my services. Domains cost 15 bucks hosting 9 bucks a month getting me as Tech Support and will throw in a web site and blog. AND training if you need it. C’mon guys the internet is here to stay, start living it. Go to Services page

IDIA labs Jupiter and Microsoft take over Vivaty

English Dude and California Boy are the previous post. Oh Do Keep up! LOL

Blue Mars : The Chat Room with exquisite curtains

Please watch in Full Screen or go to blip here

http://blip.tv/play/hK87gfvwVAI%2Em4v

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hK87gfvwVAI%2Em4v%5D

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And I was back in Shade City trying to capture Jupiter. It took me 45 minutes to climb the mountains in real time I took this on the way up:

Another 20 minutes and I captured this:

Ver Interesting!

The Following was copied from: Microsoft Buys Vivaty For New Project, May Be Looking For More

The rumor that Microsoft is bidding on troubled virtual world Second Life just got a bit more interesting. It turns out that Microsoft is the previously unnamed company that acquired Vivaty, a virtual world competing with Second Life that went out of business in April. The terms of the deal remain undisclosed but Microsoft definitely paid less than $75 million, according to Microsoft Managing Director of Corporate Development Marc Brown.

The acquisition was confirmed by Vivaty founder Keith McCurdy, in an email to paidContent.org. When Vivaty closed earlier this year, McCurdy said that the company acquiring Vivaty intended to use it as the foundation for an unnamed new project. Given the details that have just emerged, it seems like Microsoft is working on some sort of virtual world or possibly a game-like service with a persistent 3D world. 

McCurdy did not disclose to paidContent why Microsoft acquired Vivaty on its deathbed, but ZDnet is reporting that Microsoft is making acquisition overtures to a variety of companies involved in the social gaming and virtual world sectors (including Linden Lab). Microsoft was rumored to be in talks to purchase CrowdStar earlier this year, though no deal went through. While it’s obvious why Microsoft might want to own a social game developer at this point, why Microsoft might want a virtual world is unclear.

While the youth virtual world sector is relatively healthy, this year has seen a string of adult-oriented virtual worlds– MetaplaceThere.com, and Vivaty– all shut down. All of those companies launched to compete with Second Life, which isn’t doing so well itself these days. The dominant theory regarding why Microsoft might want to develop its own virtual world ties in with its Xbox Live platform and its success with virtual goods sales.

Vivaty did monetize through sales of virtual goods and its own virtual currency, VivaBux. Xbox Live sells both virtual goods and a broader range of digital content, but has users make all purchases using a virtual currency called Microsoft Points. Microsoft’s competitor Sony has a virtual world for its PlayStation 3, Home, and reports virtual goods sales that are “quite profitable” despite pricing all items in real world denominations (which is generally believed to depress sales).


I amost despair of you guys. There was a meeting, about 10 of us AND EVERYONE STILL STANDS AROUND AT THE SPAWNING AREA INSTEAD OF USING THE WONDERFUL LAID OUT SEATING AREA IN THE DOME? WHY?????

Even in November last year we sat down! (its 54 minutes long so and my first bm video so its a bit iffy… up to you 🙂

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hK87gbPcLQI%2Em4v%5D

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btw Dude Starship and Micons are different facets of a well integrated split personality LOL