Friday Night at SL6B

DJ Gospeed Racer and dancers at SL6B

If you harbor any doubts about the creative talent among Second Life members, be sure to visit SB6L, Second Life’s sixth birthday celebration, this weekend. Even if you harbor no doubts and just want a good time, stop in this weekend. The exhibits will remain in place through July 6, 2009, but the performances and other events end on June 30.

Last night’s events had both DJs spinning music and live concerts. The picture to the right is DJ GoSpeed Racer (in the blue shirt) leading an enthusiastic group of dancers doing the bunny hop. Other DJs included Cataplexia Numbers, Ghostwall Schwarz, and Deede Debs. The live music, which featured a range of music including country-western, included performers Bosco Constantine, Gregg Huet, and Ichie Kamachi. They all enthralled enthusiastic audiences.

One oddball event last night was “Ask The Omni Prim”, in which avatars seeking wisdom – sort of – knelt respectfully before the Omni Prim and asked questions.

You can get a calendar of upcoming events here and a list of exhbits and their coordinates here.

SL6B, “The Future of Virtual Worlds”

The Paradox. SL6B's entry hub

Dallier’s Hope, a meteor 600 light years from Earth and said to have been discovered in theyear 2499, is the location of Second Life’s 6th anniversary celebration, "The Future of Virtual Worlds". It consists of 20 regions of exhibits and a wide range of events from June 23 to June 30, 2009, including dancing, storytelling, panel discussions, opera, and even a marching band. You can read the full schedule of events here.

The best way to begin is to get a special HUD at The Paradox, the official entry point to the festivities. There are five landing points at The Paradox. One landing point is You can find other Paradox landing points as well as other teleport coordinates at Linden Lab’s SL6B wiki page When you wear the HUD, it appears in the lower left of your screen with arrows for going to the next or previous SL6B location.

Touring SL6B

An alternate way of getting around is the tram, a 35 minute tour of the exhibit. The tram however lacks one very important feature: a tour narrative describing what you’re passing. Still, it can be useful as a general survey to see what’s there. Look for green triangles. Clicking one of these will rez an instance of the tram for you.

Android Stage at SL6B
 Android Stage

One of the opening day events was dancing on Android Stage, pictured here. DJ LilTank Thibedeau was positioned high above the stage, spinning music while avatars danced on the circular stage, located at

Exhibits cover a wide range of interests, with titles such as Women of Second Life, The Lost Avatars of Zion, Social Metaverse, The Future of Media in Virtual Worlds, Global Online Hockey Association, The Future of Being Human, and America. You can get a complete list of events with their dates and locations here.

SL6B events will be held through June 30, 2009 and the exhibits will remain in place until July 6, 2009. Be sure to visit, and to allow plenty of time. There’sa lot to see.

American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life

Don a snail avatar and race against other snails to fight cancer? Yes, that’s one of the ways you can contribute in Second Life to the fight against cancer.

The American Cancer Society‘s Relay for Life not only allows teams of people around the physical world to raise money to fight cancer, but also around the virtual world of Second Life. There are several ways in Second Life in which you can contribute to the fight, including a silent art auction, donation kiosks, and a snail race.

Site of the Midsummer’s Eve Relay For Life Benefit

One way to contribute is by bidding for art at a silent auction on American Cancer Society Island. There you’ll find an array of sculptures and other artwork on a beach, where you can place a bid for your favorite pieces. Winning bids go to the Cancer Society.

Another way to contribute is to donate Lindens. There are over two dozen locations around Second Life, including clubs, fashion centers, a role playing club, the Pink Panthers store, and yes, the Giant Snail Cross Country Race. You can find all of them by clicking on Search in your Second Life viewer, and typing "Relay for Life". As of this writing, there are over 800 entries for events, teams, and places involved in the Relay for Life, including two of a number of benefit events being held this coming Saturday, June 20: the Giant Snail Cross Country Race and the Midsummer’s Eve Relay For Life Benefit, a concert that will feature live performers and DJs.

The Giant Snail Cross Country Race

Fifteen alternate Second Life viewers

Meerkat Second Life viewer logo

Do you know that there are other ways of viewing Second Life than the standard Second Life viewer? There are in fact at least fifteen Second Life viewers other than those created by Second Life. The picture on the right is the logo of one of them, the Meerkat Viewer.

The Second Life Wiki lists the following alternate viewers, and has download links for each of them:

  • Able Edition
  • Dale Glass Edition
  • Greenlife Emerald Viewer
  • Henri Beauchamp Edition
  • Imprudence
  • Marine Edition
  • Meerkat
  • METAbolt
  • MonoVida Studio
  • Nicholaz Edition
  • omvviewer
  • omvviewer-light
  • Rainbow Viewer / Cool Viewer
  • RealXtend Edition
  • SLiteChat

The four that I’ve tried so far (Greenlife, Imprudence, Kirsten’s, and Meerkat) aren’t radical departures from the standard Second Life viewer. The casual user probably wouldn’t notice any difference at all. What the alternate viewers try to do is to add or improve functionality that many people feel is missing from or not implemented satisfactorily in the standard viewer. They are made possible by the fact that Linden Lab has made the source code for the viewer open source, allowing anyone with the requisite programming skills to to create their own versione, subject to licensing restrictions,.

If you’re dissatisfied with the Second Life viewer, I suggest looking into some of these. You might find one that meets your needs. You can install any or all of them on your computer without interfering with your standard Second Life viewer. You can find a list of alternate viewers and their features at the Second Life wiki.

Over coming weeks I’ll be trying some of these viewers and will report back from time to time about them. If you try any – or if you already have – please let me know what your experience is, what you like, what you disliked. You can either write it as a comment on this blog, or you can send me email at

Talis Sci-Fi and Fantasy Portal

Ursula Leguin reading in Second Life

Are you a sci-fi, speculative fiction, or fantasy enthusiast? If so, Second Life’s Talis Sci-Fi and Fantasy Portal is for you. Founded in 2006, it is one of Second Life’s older institutions, featuring informational displays, author appearances, and discussions. Current displays include "Look into the Liaden Universe", about the series of books authored by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, and displays about speculative fiction written by Asian-American and African-American authors. Other displays include Nebula and Hugo award winning novels, and displays of books featured in upcoming author appearances and discussions.

One notable event was the February 2009 author appearance by Ursula Le Guin, who was reading from her novel Always Coming Home at the Potlatch 18 conference in Sunnyvale, CA and simultaneously viewed by avatars gathered in Second Life, who along with members or the Potlatch audience were able to ask her questions.

The Talis Sci-Fi & Fantasy Portal

Two upcoming events are scheduled for this month:

  • Book of the Month Discussion: We will be discussing Neal Stephenson’s 1991 novel Snowcrash, which inspired much of what we see in virtual worlds today. It will be held on two separate days, Wednesday June 17th at 6:30pm SLT for those in the Americas, and Saturday June 20 at 1pm for those in European time zones.
  • Meet the Author: Professional geologist B Billy Marse will discuss his book H2onE2, which deals with the exploration of the universe, Earth’s climate, geology, and climate, folklore, and ancient structures, and he’ll discuss "Glacial Respiration" and how it affects climate change.

This month’s Film Discussion, already held, was about the new Star Trek film.

The easiest way to learn about upcoming events is to join the Second Life group "Sci Fi & Fantasy Portal", which runs the Portal and sends all members notices of events. If you have ideas for events or displays you would like to see or lead at the Portal, contact Franja Russell in Second Life.

Inside the Talis Sci-Fi & Fantasy Portal

The Portal got its start in 2006 when a group of avatars that included Floria Hand, Franja Russell, Michael Maitland, Grizzy Griswold, Chris Reitveld, and myself (in the form of my alt avatar Hawk Lightcloud) met to plan what we hoped would be a resource both for fans and reseachers in these forms of fiction. The Portal became reality when the Alliance Virtual Library provided the land, Talis provided the funding, and Chris Reitveld designed and built the Portal building. Today the rest of us have shifted our focus to other activities, but Franja Russell remains dedicated to the Portal, putting in long hours managing displays and events. Without her hard work, there would be no Portal.

Second Life members can teleport to the Talis Sci-Fi and Fantasy Portal by clicking