Archives - Start to Feb 22, 2013

Moving Forward

February 18, 2013

There has been a lot of controversy across the Metaverse, gridlings, centered around decisions and actions taken by the main grid of the OpenSim Metaverse, OSGrid. A controversy that continues still, though not as heatedly. I still see people posting about child avatars, the blocking of HyperGrid access, legalities and more. I see people divided, some calling the others haters and trolls while others call for reason and resolution. I see respect for each other lost and friendships broken.

Whatever your position is, whatever you think the issues are, I’m moving forward. I will still talk about those issues, but those issues will come to a resolution in their own time. I am not going to let them hold me back from working towards my own goals.

Yet those same issues have had their own influence on my goals.

Excelsior Station will have a Bill of Avatar Rights, in some form, as part of its Terms of Service. It will be written in plain English so that it is easy to understand. It will detail everyone’s rights and obligations.

This is not a new idea. Vanish Firecaster at TGIB recently posted about some work he’s done at and there’s been some discussion in the OpenSim Virtual Community on G+ at .

I expect there are those who will declare that its not feasible. To them I ask, have you ever tried? Some will laugh out right. Well, let them laugh. There are others who will point out that grids are inherently feudal in how they are governed. I agree, they are, but why can’t a kingdom ensure that its citizens are protected from abuse and injustice?

I had thought to start by posting what Vanish has published, adding those things that were talked about in the conversation at OpenSim Virtual, and to work from there. But this isn’t the time. This is only the very start of it, the very first few steps.

I’ve had the goal of making Excelsior Station a place to showcase what AuroraSim is capable of. To make Excelsior Station a place where people can have fun and to explore their creativity. That has not changed. What has changed is that those goals have expanded. They have been added to.

Excelsior Station will not only showcase what AuroraSim can do, it will showcase what people can do.


Is OSGrid Based in the USSR?

February 13, 2013

You know, I started writing this article to share my thoughts and outrage over recent actions taken by the Administration at OSGrid. How they are unilaterally blocking HyperGrid connections to other grids, sudden changes to policies that were never fully disclosed to begin with, a hidden ToS, eliminating methods for community input and discussion, censorship and banishment of individuals for disagreeing with them. I intended to do so in a respectful and well thought out manner.

Fuck it.

OSGrid was setup to for testing the ongoing development of the OpenSimulator software. They allow people to run their own software on their own systems and to connect their regions to OSGrid. Out of that has grown a large, vibrant, creative and intelligent community.

But it is not free nor is it a democratic community. It believes that it is, but recent events have proven that it isn’t. Anyone who disagrees with the decisions or actions of the Administration at OSGrid will be censored and kicked out.

In the old USSR, anyone who disagreed with the Administration was sent to the gulag. There the dissenters, the "bad thinkers" were taught “right thinking”. Think this isn’t happening at OSGrid? Here’s what Walter Balazic is promoting in the OSGrid forums; “Go out and when you see a negative or incorrect post about the grid. Post the "right" information. …” ( )

I was posting to that thread when my forum account got deleted. Shortly afterwards, my account on OSGrid itself was blocked. Read my posts there. I was not disrespectful. I was not trolling. I haven’t been on their grid itself since before December, so I certainly haven’t been griefing anyone. I have not been telling people to stay away.

All I did was have the balls to voice my disagreement with the Administration at OSGrid.

I do not blame any one individual. The Administration at OSGrid is a group effort and they have been supporting these actions and decisions.

The choice is yours, gridlings, to support an organization that is administrated by a group that practices censorship or not. At least you still have that much freedom.

I sure as hell won’t be.


The Future of Excelsior Station

February 9, 2013

Well, when all the legal crap came down two months ago, I removed all of my instances from the Metaverse, including Excelsior Station. Well, the legal crap got flushed and I am able to get things back up and running. Including finding a new home for the Station.

And I may have done that. Things are still waiting on details and finalization, but it looks like I may achieve one of my original goals for Excelsior Station, that is become an independent grid. In other words, not a region on someone else’s grid but its own virtual world.

Now, its going to be awhile before anything gets going, maybe as much as 3 months, but I am confident that things will work out. Which means that this is a perfect opportunity to rebuild the Station.

So, what do you think about a single region that is 4,096 metres by 4,096 metres large? That is the equivalent to 128 standard OpenSim regions. 16.77 square kilometres, or 6.55 square miles for all you non-metrics out there. Central Park in New York is only 1.25 square miles. You can fit five and a quarter Central Parks into that large a region.

And how about 2,000,000 prims? Can a person O.D. on prims? Oh, but there’s a bit of a (virtual) reality check here. In SL 128 regions would have a total prim allowance of 1,920,000 prims. Still, that sure is a lot for one person to handle.

And just think of the possibilities. With that much room and absolutely zero region crossing issues, racing would be awesome. And how about starship battles? Four kilometres form one side of the region to the other leaves a lot of room for 200 metre long battlecruisers to manoeuvre in. Oh, and you just know I’m going to have water happening, so there’s a hell of an opportunity to having wet navies duke it out. Those of you who have known me for awhile know that those are things I dearly desire for the Station. But what else?

Frankly, I’m not sure. There is also an opportunity to get you involved. You see, I’m thinking of setting things up so people can rent parcels. They can have a piece of the Station and help to build it into something truly awesome. And it’s something that isn’t dependent on being a closed or open grid. Speaking of open or closed, what about HyperGrid? Is having HG a good idea or not?

So, there’s a few things to think about here. I invite all of you to comment with your own thought, ideas and wants. I can’t promise to include them, but I do promise to listen and to tell you why.

Oh, and since its likely to come up. There won’t be any restrictions on avatars, other than what is mandated by law. Canadian law at that. We’re a little less uptight about such things than some other countries are.

Yes, that means that child avatars would be allowed. As I’ve tried to get across, I don’t have anything in particular against child avatars, its the controversy that surrounds them that I don’t want to deal with. The thing is, when I weigh that want against what can be accomplished here, well, I can handle the controversy if it means making Excelsior Station what I know it can be.

So, go ahead, tell me what you would like to see happen.


Hiro and the Kid

February 8, 2013

Although I’ve been sidelined the last couple of months doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. And one of the things I’ve been trying to keep up on is this controversy regarding child avatars on OSGrid.

Child avatars has been, and will likely to remain, a very controversial and contentious issue. And this current controversy on OSG is part of that. It has also drawn its fair share of drama llamas and rabble rousers. I detest such things. People should be free to decide for themselves based on reasoned discussion, not emotionally loaded diatribes.

Let me start with my own position about child avatars. Whether a grid’s owners allow child avatars or not, I don’t allow them on my regions. I understand people using child avatars as a therapy to deal with their own childhood issues. I don’t have a problem with that. I know and recognize that roleplay is a valid therapeutic tool. Involving a virtual presence make it all that much more powerful. Hell, the military is using virtual world RP to help their people to deal with such things as PTSD.

But I don’t want to be a part of someone else’s therapy. I have enough issues of my own.

Another reason is that my regions get setup for combat, heavy vehicles, bars, nightclubs and more. All environments that we would never allow RL children to be in. There is nothing worse for my RP than to suddenly have a child skipping along through my environment.

And then there’s all the RL issues, such as paedophilia. If I don’t allow them, then I don’t have to deal with that.

Now, here’s the important point. No matter what anyone might say about that, making such a decision and taking this position is my right. I won’t argue it. I won’t debate it. I won’t discuss it.

And this is the exact same right that the owners of OSGrid have.

This dispute has become divisive within our community. It has become so because people are inflamed by emotional biased statements. And it appears to have started with a posting on one blog. The blog of Jai the Grid Explore Kid, found at

So, let me show you a few things I noticed in the postings on the Kid’s blog. At the end of January, the Kid was at the LBSA Plaza on OSGrid when he contacted by Hiro regarding the avatar he was wearing. During that conversation, Hiro, acting as Admin, informed the Kid that child avatars were not allowed. The Kid started arguing the point. He was told there was no discussion, change avatar or leave. There’s not much more than that. There’s no pic, so no way of knowing what the av looked like. And the quoted section appears to be only a section, so there’s no way of knowing what happening in the minutes before. Nor do we know if the Kid complied or was booted. An important point from his Jan 29th post, though, is that the Kid admits he was wearing a child avatar.

From this pint on, it is clear that the Kid is targeting Hiro. He doesn’t accept the rule, so he declares Hiro to be a dictator. In fact, he Godwin’s himself in his Jan 30th posting …
“What we have here is the real world equivalent of WW2….one may think that view point sounds a bit extreme but i think it suits as a very good example. In the 1930's germany had it very bad off, they didnt know what to do which could help them recover there nation from horrible problems that loomed over them. Then ONE MAN got into power….forced his way into the position. His solution to the nations problems was to exterminate the jewish race from existence. “

Yeah, right. Banning child avatars is the same as murdering 6 million people. Clearly there is a huge emotional bias being portrayed here.

And then the Kid decides he’s going to push. On Jan 31 he returns to LBSA wearing a child avatar after he’s already been told they aren’t allowed! Something to note about the Kid’s posting of that day. ”… I did not have the time to copypasta that part of the chat as he ejected me from the plaza before i could properly do so. “ So, just how long does it take to copy and paste something?

In his next posting, the Kid then states ”It is my belief that this new rule in Osgrid has gone on long enough. Hiro cannot be allowed to get away with this injustice, if we allow him to have his way on this then that will only spell trouble for everyone on the grid in the coming future. Furries shall be at risk, Faieries, anyone that is different or lives a virtual life that is not within what he views as normal shall soon be in danger. “

Really? Injustice? Allowed? It would be a true injustice if OSGrid was the only grid. But it isn’t. It would be an injustice if OSGrid was a government. But it isn’t. It is a privately owned organization. It is made available to the general public for develop, use and enjoyment of OpenSimulator. There is no "allowing" involved. Seriously. How do you "not allow" this? Shoot him? Lock him up? Put him on trial? Clap him in irons?

On February 3rd, there was a Town Hall meeting. And the Kid decided he would attend. In a child av. His complaint is that the Meetings are open to all, but he’s not allowed because of his avatar. By that same logic, I should be able to attend RL Town Hall Meetings dressed in a bunny suit. But that’s not allowed. So, if I want to attend such a meeting, I either dress appropriately or I don’t go.

Overall, we have here a person who doesn’t like a rule, refuses to abide by it and believes he can have one of the owners removed. And we also have a number of other people who are buying into this. They have resorted to name calling, “dictator”, “Caesar” and others.

It should be noted that, from what I have seen, Hiro has behaved admirably. He has not responded with the same. At no time have I seen him call anyone names or imply anything negative about them, despite all the crap being thrown his way.

Here’s another important point. Hiro is not the only owner. There are three others. From what I understand of how any privately owned organization, non profit or for profit, is run, if the other owners don’t like a decision, the vote on it and change it, if the vote calls for it. Since the rule has not changed and Hiro’s decision has not been reversed, then it is reasonable to conclude that the majority of owners support him.

The owners of any grid, open or closed, for profit or not, have the right to make whatever rules they want. Just as we have the right to not go to hose that we disagree with. However none of us has the right to “overthrow” the “rulers” of a grid.

The behaviour that has gone on surrounding this issue is deplorable. People are behaving like gangs, not like a community. Rather than engaging in discussion, people have been engaging in mud-slinging and rabble rousing.

There’s more than enough of that shit in RL. Leave it there.


Here's What Happened …

February 7, 2013

Two months ago, almost to the day, I pulled all of my virtual world instances and stopped all of my interactions with the Metaverse community. You are not going to believe what happened to bring this about.

On December 7th, I received a letter from a lawyer in Toronto, Ontario who was representing a software development firm in Toronto. The company was claiming two things; that I had infringed on their trademark by using the word "Excelsior" and that the Station infringed on the intellectual property they were developing for their own virtual world project. Their claim was that I had somehow gained unauthorized access to their systems, or was given the content from their systems, and was using their ideas and content to develop Excelsior Station. The letter went on to say that any claims that might be made against me would be dropped if I handed over all my files so they could remove all of thier content.

I freaked.

I overreacted and pulled everything without any word of explanation. I've been through a civil suit and I spent all those years in a law office, I know how fucked up and destructive a law suit can be. That was my concern. Created Worlds, SoftPaw Estates, everyone connected with my builds could possible be dragged in. With the resulting court expenses costing them so much that they go bankrupt. I can take anything that anyone hits me with, but I cannot tolerate anyone else getting hurt because I am being attacked.

To anyone that this action has let down, I apologize. And an apology is in order. As I said, I overreacted. If I had kept calm and dealt with this as I should have, and which I soon did, then any disappointment this has caused would not have happened.

Here's hard enough to believe that this could happen in the first place. The usual practice is to demand the removal of infringing content or trademark. But not this one. They were demanding my files, promising to return them to me with any infringing content removed by them. It was that or suffer the expense of traveling to and from Ontario, plus all those court costs. Hell, it was even worded as if they were doing me a favour!

But, I had the weekend to think it through and that next Monday morning, I called a lawyer. In fact, I called the lawyer I worked with for 10 years. Harry and I had worked very well together and we have a pretty solid friendship. He got things rolling and I went out to Vancouver to meet with him. And it was a very good meeting, too. Not just because of some preliminary results, but I got to visit with people I haven't seen in over eight years. After all, it was the start of the Holiday Season and things were going to move pretty slowly until January, so I took the time to relax and refresh myself, getting ready to deal with the stress that court brings.

It is at this point that I will tell you that I am not going to name any names. I'm not going to post pics of the letter or anything else that might identify them. This is on the advice of my lawyer and is to protect me from any further actions, such as getting sued for defamation. That would be all I'd need just then. Not only that, but since I had already withdrawn from the Metaverse, Harry recommended that I maintain that until this was settled.

So, why am I posting now? Well, settling this situation took one hell of a turn.

You see, Harry had set in motion the initial work while I was on my way to meet with him. Basically, gathering background information about the company and their lawyer, getting current with the legislation, searching case law, all the things I used to do when I worked there. And it wasn't long before things began to not add up.

First of all, no listing for the software firm could be found. No business registry, no phone book listing, nothing. A bit odd, but not all that unusual. I'm not sure about elsewhere, but in Canada, you can save costs by letting the government assign a number as the business name. After that, you can simply us "dba" to have a name for your business. "dba" stands for "doing business as". As a fictitious example, the result would be 123456789 LLC dba Acme Inc.

But then another very odd thing surfaced. The law firm representing the company didn't seem to exist either. And a law firm would be listed. How else are they going to get new clients if people can't find a phone number for them? And then the lawyer himself. His name is not on the Ontario Bar Association. That's when the proverbial alarm bells started ringing. You cannot practice law in Ontario without being a member of the Bar. Not in any province in Canada. And Harry was all over this.

That was in the first week of January. Since then, an investigation by the RCMP has been launched and charges of misrepresentation, fraud, criminal impersonation and about a dozen other charges have been laid against the "lawyer" who started this. Today I received the notarized documents regarding those charges as well as a letter from Harry advising me that I can start trying to restore everything, as well as letting all of you know what has happened.

Which raises a huge question. What now?

I've had a couple of weeks while waiting on the documents to think about this. And I don't know. I will be working on this site again, but with a big change. In the past, I have generally stuck with writing about AuroraSim and issues within the Metaverse. I'm going to expand that now. I've seen now that what goes on in the Real World has huge impacts on us, both as a community and as individuals. And I will be tweeting and commenting again, too.

I've also returned to the world of MMO gaming and hadn't realized how much I had missed it. So, I will be spending some time in those virtual worlds, slashing and slaying my way to victory. By the way, for anyone interested, you can find me in EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Star Trek Online and Star Wars - the Old Republic. Perhaps I'll blog a little about my adventures and mishaps in those worlds.

But its the Station I am truly undecided about. Do I seek to restore it to Created Worlds? Perhaps I should seek a new home for it, perhaps as its own VW? Or maybe completely rebuild it. I've seen that AuroraScape is up and running and that their hosting company, Zetamex, have AuroraSim based packages. Perhaps a 4,096 by 4,096 would be the way to go? Anybody have any ideas?

The important thing, though, is that I am no longer in a battle to protect my work. I can rejoin the community that I have come to love and return to enjoying all the wonderful people, things and ideas that it is brimming over with.


The CCU & You

September 12, 2012

Yesterday, September 11th, HyperGrid Business published a release by Michael Sietz announcing the formation of the Content Creators Union.

Our intention is to gather creators and artists from all “virtual reality” platforms in order to collect, and organize factual information about rights and responsibilities of content creators.

Sounds good and although I have reservations about such an organization, I know that my bias is due to personal experience with quite a few grass roots organizations. Yet those same experiences have me looking closely at CCU because some organizations do succeed.

But before I begin tearing in, let me say that there is a very good reason for my doing so. People should make their decisions based on all the information available tempered with logic and sound reasoning. And sound reasoning comes from asking questions and pointing out issues.

So, to begin with, here’s a group of seven people who are forming a group to help us to protect our intellectual property. A very laudable goal and I have no problems with that. But two issues were immediately apparent from the announcement.

As creators of intellectual content we are responsible for our own work. Currently it has been up to the individual creator to take legal action when alleged infringement occurs.

The Content Creators Union will support and assist creators in facilitating this process. The DMCA is a legal action that creators have as an option to protect copyrighted work. We will investigate each claim as soon as possible and ask our members when taking action against possible violators to give them the benefit of doubt.

With this arises the issue of jurisdiction. Not all content creators are under the jurisdiction of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Jurisdiction is usually determined by the location of the grid in the Real World. Second Life, InWorldz, Created Worlds are all based in the US and so they are covered by the DMCA. Although I am Canadian, my content in InWorldz and Created Worlds are protected under the DMCA since that is the jurisdiction named in the respective Terms of Service agreements that I agreed to.

But what about my online instance, Misfit’s Folly? I own and operate Misfit’s Folly and so it is covered under Canadian copyright law, not the DMCA. No, that doesn’t make Folly a piracy haven, it just means that I have to apply a different legislation to such matters. Fortunately, its not much of an issue as it is such a small place I can police it quite thoroughly. The point here, though, is how will the CCU help content creators who are in a similar position?

Then there’s the promise of investigation. To be blunt, CCU has no such authority, training or experience. They place themselves in a position of liability if they investigate a claim and come to an incorrect finding. If someone acts on that finding and that person suffers a loss, then CCU may be liable for damages.

Another issue that surfaced was in response to my comment after the article. The lack of knowledge. I am confident that anyone with an interest in intellectual property protection and copyright are aware of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, yet the CCU is not. How can a group work towards a goal if they are unaware of other groups and resources with similar goals?

Before I move on to the CCU’s Charter and Articles, I’m going to take a moment here to address an issue that was raised in another comment, the fact that the seven members are all active in SpotOn3D. This is no more an SO3D initiative than it is a Second Life one. After all, six of the seven are also in SL. Are we going to start thinking that SO3D and SL are somehow working together? So, let’s just pass on that one as being coincidence.

So, let’s move on to the CCU Charter and membership requirements.

There are two important pages on the CCU’s site, the one with their Charter and the one for signing up for membership.

According to their membership application page, "The Content Creator’s Union, (CCU) is being assembled in an effort to establish standards and best practices for grid owners and creators alike.” and they have listed some of the things they want to deal with.

How the content may be distributed on the grid” Can you imagine Linden Lab’s reaction? Or any other grid? No grid is going to let CCU or anyone else dictate how content is sold, traded or otherwise distributed on their grid. This would be like a group of shoppers telling WalMart what goods to put on what shelves in what stores.

The criteria, time frame and method of executing DMCA’s” CCU has no say in this. Neither does a grid nor any individual. That is because these factors are already addressed within the DMCA itself and nobody has the authority to change any of this. If a grid does not comply with the “criteria, time frame and method of executing DMCA’s” as detailed by the DMCA, then that grid risks serious litigation.

How content purchased by grid owners and their team members may be used” I would expect a grid to comply with whatever licensing comes with the content. If a grid does not comply with the licensing, then they become liable under the relevant copyright laws, don’t they? And then there’s the bad publicity that any such violations would bring about. A grid can probably survive copyright litigation, but the bad publicity would destroy them.

Then there’s the Charter itself, which lists nine articles as being a proposed “Artisan Bill of Rights”.

1. All Trademarks, Copyrights and Intellectual Property Rights are retained by the original creator/artisan unless otherwise agreed upon by written document that is held in trust with the platform owner and the CCU.” Sounds good until you realize that the platform owner is not going to create a separate document to cover what is already covered by their ToS. Nor will they do so for a sub-group of users, which is what the members of CCU would be. Also, when it comes to a Trademark, it has to be registered and so ownership of the trademark is always retained.

2. In return all CCU members are expected to provide proof of any extended licenses for prefab kits used in the creation of their works to the CCU and platform owners and/or an email from the original content/prefab kit creator to the CCU and platform owner stating their permissions to any particular creator or kit user. This is to enable a everyone to be on the same page and reasonably limit everyone’s risk factors, false accusations of ownership and the many other problems arising from kit makers and their customer base.” I don’t make prefab kits, but if I were, I certainly wouldn’t spend my time emailing my licenses to CCU and the owners of the various platforms where I sell my kits. Imagine if I had a dozen kits on a dozen grids. I am not going to send 156 emails out (12 kits on 12 grids plus CCU). I expect the purchasers to comply with my licensing or possibly face litigation.

3. The sale and distribution of said same are to follow the CCU’s standard TOS/EULA, unless otherwise stated in the individual creator’s documentation as advertised via all marketplace listings and/or provided inside the packaging of their content.” This is not going to happen. Does the Furniture Maker’s Union (if there is one) dictate how how chairs and tables are sold in a department store?

4. In return, all CCU Members are required to give fair and true information as to the usage rights of their content sold and/or distributed at the purchase point, so that consumers have all the details needed to make an informed decision.” Don’t consumers receive that information when they purchase the product? If information of the usage rights is not included with the product, then the product gets treated as unlicensed. Which leads to a lot of confusion and grey areas, but my understanding is that the creator retains all copyrights, though with reasonable latitude in how the purchaser uses the product.

5. No company and/or grid owner and/or platform owner shall have the right to exercise authority over a CCU member’s content/assets unless given written permission to do so in trust.” This is another one that won’t happen. That is because a grid’s ToS already deals with this. Then there’s the DMCA. If a grid receives a take-down notice, then the grid owners have to exercise authority over a CCU member’s content/assets to remove the content and assets so as to comply with the law.

6. In the event of the sale, merger and/or closing of any grid and/or platform, the assets of the CCU Members will be handled in the following manner:
a. CCU Members will be given no less than (60) sixty-day notice before the change of ownership is executed. This is to enable each CCU Member the time needed to review any new terms of services, do a background check on the new owners, and make a decision as to whether their content will remain on said platform or be removed by themselves. This is unenforceable. Notices of the change of ownership of any business is already covered under the applicable laws. Same with notices of closure.
b. If the latter is the written request and choice of the individual CCU Member, then any and all content assets of theirs, excluding previously sold items, are required to be removed from the database. If a content creator decides to leave a grid, for any reason let alone a grid’s ownership change, they have the responsibility and obligation of deleting and removing unsold content themselves. Anything further is unworkable as this would require the grid owners to search the whole of the grid for unsold content and assets as well as removal from archived backups.
c. If the above is chosen, all avatars are to be renamed as the examples illustrate below, and thereby rename the original creator of any previously sold assets created by the CCU Member as follows: EXAMPLE Before: Joe Smith After: CCU-LTD JoeSmith ( just a suggestion) The sale or merger of a grid is complicated and costly. In such a situation, to make such a demand is unreasonable. Furthermore, avatar names are generally retained as it is too costly to the new grid owners to require all users to rename their avatars.

7. The CCU and its Members will work closely with platform owners and their designated admin staff to in order to assist in security of content on that grid. This includes a through exploit evaluation and installation of a CCU Information Station at near the platform’s entry area to promote education of users and new content creators alike.” This won’t happen as it involves all sorts of liability and security issues. Furthermore, for a grid to comply with this would be to give the impression to users in general that CCU is a part of the grid administration and have authority in the operations of the grid.

8. The CCU will provide the platform owner with a web based DMCA complaint form for users to fill out about suspected illicit content, as well as a formal DMCA form for the content creator that will be automatically sent to both the platform owner and/or designated admin and the CCU. The following steps outlined below are suggested as a means to expedite all complaints in a fair and unbiased manner. First of all, only the content creator can initiate anything under the DMCA. Users can only notify the creator of suspected illicit content. Furthermore, such notifications are handled by a specified agent of the grid, as required by the DMCA. To include the CCU may also be an infringement of privacy. As for sub-articles 8a, b, c, d and e,
a. Acknowledgement within (7) seven business days.” Covered under the DMCA.
b. An investigation will commence within (7-14 days) seven to fourteen business days.” Grids have no power or authority to investigate claims of copyright infringement. That is the purview of the Courts. Furthermore, for a grid to conduct such an investigation may infringe on their safe harbour status.
c. If there is a question of whom is the original content creator of questionable virtual goods, both parties are responsible for submitting live screen share views of their creation files and/or any legally filed copyrights.” This is evidence. As such, it falls under the procedures of a court action. Furthermore, consider the event of two people creating similar products. If I build a white two-masted sailing schooner and you build a white two-masted sailing schooner, who is the actual creator? We both are as we built our creations independent of the other. There is no copyright infringement.
d. The creator that submits the most credible and legal proof, including creation dates on screen shared HD, will be deemed the original creator.” Again, what about independent creation? If I build my schooner two days after you, I haven’t infringed on your copyright. As for any the creator submitting the most credible and legal proof, that is for a court of law to decide, not a grid owner or a group of users.
e. Any disputes of these presentations of ownership can then only be handled by a reputable mediator or arbitration service at a fee to the creator.” The DMCA defines how such a dispute is resolved. A court may decide whether a mediation or arbitration is appropriate. Furthermore, it is for the courts to decide who pays any fees.

9. If a member of the CCU is under consideration for suspension or permanent banning from any platform, the CCU requests that a written notification to the creator in question and to the Content Creators Union be sent via (moc.liamg|zerpnoinusrotaerc#moc.liamg|zerpnoinusrotaerc) with a detailed description as to why. This is to ensure the CCU Member has a fair opportunity to answer any accusations and to remove content of their own creation after a (2) day cool down period.” Suspensions and banning from a grid is covered under the grid’s ToS. No grid is going to make exceptions for a sub-group of users. No grid is going to share private information with a third party, which is what this article does by requesting that a detailed description of the reasons be sent to the CCU. Furthermore, grids generally have a process in place for a suspended or banned user to explain and appeal such a decision.

One side point I must make. In this article I refer to sub-groups of users and that grids will make no exceptions for any sub-groups if users. I want to make clear that I do not apply this to any sub-group of users that are disabled. Clearly, grids will make exceptions for disabled persons, but only specific exceptions, such as access limitations or the use of specific software that the disabled use. Grids will not make exceptions for a sub-group such as the CCU.

I understand that these are the very first days of the CCU. What I have done here is to point out the problems and issues that they must address if they are to achieve their goals. Helping content creators to protect their rights is a laudable goal. Introducing requirements over and above those required by law is unworkable and unnecessary. Introducing requirements that are in conflict with the relevant legislation renders those requirements as unenforceable and unworkable. Perhaps even illegal. Introducing requirements that cost grid owners and/or users time, money and other resources will not be accepted by those owners or users.

The best thing that the Content Creators Union can do is to build a large membership while pressuring alllevels of governments around the world to change the laws to protect all content creators. In fact, that is the best thing that any and all of us can do.


Myriad Lite Preview 6 - Updated

August 31, 2012

Allen Kerensky has been busy working on the Myriad RP System and he has posted updated scripts tot he Myriad System.

And Again

September 5, 2012

New scripts including a couple of Critical Fixes have been released.

These have now been posted as MyriadLite6-September-05-2012.iar on the Myriad RP System page.

Another Viewer Lost

August 21, 2012

Another viewer, Exodus, has decided to go with Second Life and will be dropping support for OpenSim.

"We hope to begin circulating test builds of our Viewer 3.4 based version of Exodus with the new Havok sub-license sometime in the next week or two."


The Cool VL Viewer will be maintaining OpenSims support.

"The Cool VL Viewer will stay an Open Source viewer and as such, will not use sub-licensed Havok libraries".

Please post any comments on the MIV page.

News ‘n Views, Odds ‘n Sods

August 20, 2012

There’s been quite a bit going on in the Metaverse lately, and all at a pretty fast pace. Well, faster than I can write about. So I thought, why not one post to touch on as many things as I can.

I’ve not chosen any particular order or priority of what to say on what, so let me begin with my favourite, AuroraSim.

Fly_Man has released a pre-compiled unofficial release of AuroraSim 0.6, which you can download at I’ve been running with the last official release, 0.5.1, and since then the devs have introduced some new GUIs for the first time setup. Nice idea, poor implementation since they haven’t included any instructions on what to do or what to watch for. I’ll be posting a piece with that information very soon, once I’ve figured out the proper procedure for myself.

This is the biggest problem with AuroraSim. The lack of news and information. It doesn’t matter how good a product is if nobody knows about it. The development team is small and I can understand not having time to deal with the web site and issue news about the developments, but I’ve also not seen any call for volunteers from them either.

As for the release itself, I decided to push things a little. I made a fresh instance (Aurora Station) that is 4,096 metres by 4,096 meters. That is equal to two hundred and fifty-six regions! All running on a quad-core system with 6Gb RAM. I have decided to really push it and successfully changed the size of the region to 8,192 metres by 8,192 metres for an area that is 1,024SRE (SRE is Standard Region Equivalent) in size. Yes, you can do that in AuroraSim. I will start adding prims and scripts and building shortly, just to see what sort of load occurs. But let’s face it, even totally empty, can an OpenSim instance do the same thing on an off-the-WalMart-shelf computer? And, who knows, maybe this is the birth of Excelsior City? I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of large regions, Kitely has enabled megaregions, or Big Worlds as they call them. You can read the announcement and about other new features at In essence, you pay for whatever plan you want and then choose whether to go with individual region/worlds or large region/worlds or a combination of both. The Big Worlds come in 3 flavours, 2x2 for a 4SRE size, 3x3 for 9SRE or 4x4 for 16SRE. So, if you went all out and got the Gold Plan for 20 region/worlds and unlimited time, you can have five 2x2’s or a 4x4 and a 2x2 or two 3x3’s and two singles. There’s a lot more information about this at Kitely, such as uploading OARs and prim allowances, so go read up on it.

Linda Kellie has left OpenSim. I would provide a link to her blog post about it, but she’s wiped the site. She did say that she would continue to build and add freebies to her content site at so she’s not severed all ties to the community, but she won’t be blogging or using GridCache or remain involved in any other way. Her stated reasons for this is bullying and griefing since she joined SpotOn3D. While she will be missed, this is her decision and we should respect that.

There are others, though, who have been making a bit of drama over this. They use such words and phrases as “demise” and “blood on our hands” and even go so far as to seek people to blame. They have even gone so far as to build a memorial to her “death”.

Reality check. Linda is not dead, deceased, shuffled off from this mortal coil. She has simply left the OpenSim community. There is nobody to blame. Nobody put a gun to her head. Nobody stole her computer. She made her own decision. To build a memorial to her “death” is misleading. And it cheapens our memories of those whom we have actually lost in the physical world.

You can find those postings on GridPress at The author, by the way, just happens to be the Chief Operating Officer of SpotOn3D.

In the article she claims of bullying rhetoric and something she calls “blog spam”. “When anything you say in a blog gets scrolled out of view because a few very long and loud people are repeating their same arguments over and over so that’s your say is never seen??? And doing it on every blog you try to reach out to? I call this blog spamming”. Granted I don’t read every blog about OpenSim and related topics that are out there, but I have not seen this happen. I haven’t seen Tessa regularly comment on other blogs nor does she provide links to those postings. I did go to SO3D’s own blog and scanned over the various posts. What I found is that the majority of posts are used to simply feature a freebie. Of the posts of news and opinions, the majority had zero comments. The most contentious post was in August 2011 when they announced that they had applied for a patent of their FB plugin. Total number of comments: two. Both short and to the point asking for the application number. So much for bullying rhetoric and trolling.

I also visited a few other blogs, including Prokofy Neva’s Second Thoughts I searched the Prokodile’s ramblings for anything on SO3D and found nothing. I ran a search on Tateru Nino’s Dwell On It and again, no results. There were two results when I searched the Metaverse Journal One for 3Di Cloud and the other for a virtual publication called The Watch. There were results on Hamlet Au’s New World Notes from August 2011, when SO3D announced the patent application. I did see that some of the longest comments were by Tess herself. So, I don’t know where all this “blog spam” is occurring. Perhaps Tess will be good enough to post a comment here with links as citations. To paraphrase the words of the Internet, “links or it didn’t happen”.

On the browser based viewer front, 3Di Cloud has released the embedding code for their Live Chat. Maria at HyperGrid Business posted an article about it at She’s included links to where to get the embed code, so just follow those. I checked it out and, although I am not a fan of Unity, its pretty okay. Very simply, it means that you can use your browser to enter a Unity-based virtual world to chat with others. You don’t have much choice of avatars and I couldn’t seem to login with Twitter properly, but then again, this is the first release, so bugs and limitations are to be expected. I did think enough of it to add it to my Forum page. And if anyone knows of other browser based virtual worlds, let me know. I’ll check them out and maybe add them. Who knows, if I get enough I may create a separate page just for browser based viewers and virtual worlds.

As for viewers in general, they’ve taken a hit from the Havok sub-licensing that Linden Lab has implemented. We’ve already lost two from the Metaverse, Niran’s Viewer and Dolphin Viewer. Nothing harsh on them. Those viewers are developed by single persons and its a lot of work to build, maintain, improve and update do just one, especially if they create a flavour for each operating system. Its understandable that they haven’t got the time to create a whole set for OpenSim. And there’s nothing stopping anyone from grabbing the source code and making their own for OpenSim/AuroraSim.

I do hope that viewer developers will begin working on including AuroraSim compatibility. That is another thing holding back the adoption and use of AuroraSim, the lack of viewers. Currently, there’s only Angstrom, which is now listed on the MIV, though according to FlyMan’s tweet of August 18, “On 1st of October 2012, Perseus Viewer will be taking it's place next to the other TPV viewers, made for Opensim/Aurora-Sim based grids”. Good news indeed. However, this lack of compatible viewers may also be a hold back on the creation of AuroraSim based grids. And the lack of grids may be a hold back on the development of viewers. A bit of a negative feedback loop. One way of breaking that is for people to simply give AuroraSim a try. Setup an online instance and tell people about it.

Which is why I speak about Created Worlds. Its an AuroraSim based grid. Its not yet publicly open, but they are accepting Beta memberships at I like it enough to have placed Excelsior Station there. As an opinion, I see them as being the InWorldz of AuroraSim. There’s only two people building the grid, Zarta Vargas and Nichodemos Vesperia and I have found them to be just as caring, open and helpful as the Founders of InWorldz.

Excelsior Station itself is doing well. I’ve been retexturing and rebuilding. Many of the buildings I used in the PortSide area are wooden. That’s a very big incongruity as the Station doesn’t have any trees. And I really don’t think anyone is going to ship lumber across interstellar distances. So, I have to bring those into line with the overall theme and look of things. I’ve begun setting up areas for residences and shops and I’m adding blamgates so people can quickly get to and from different areas. I’ve also got an area built that I hope SpaceTinies will move into.

Speaking of InWorldz, they’re running Beta tests of their new PhysX physics engine. All reports have been overwhelmingly positive. You can read the details on the InWorldz Tech Blog at Basically, almost all physics capabilities will be implemented, but not all. To quote “Phase1 of the project does not include: Mesh physics implementation [or] Vehicle specific LSL parameters and functions (llSetVehicleType, llSetVehicleFloatParam, etc).” So, no driving around yet, but RP involving firearms will happen. What’s really been cool about all this is the creativity of the residents of IW in creating vehicles that do work even before PhysX is fully implemented. Including a recreation of the USS Enterprise, which is reportedly longer than a region.

When it comes to vehicles, I’ve recently learned how to make some of my own. It was a bit of a battle, but between using Nebadon’s OKC Racers as examples and the LSL Scripting Portal for (very limited) descriptions of the functions, the comments and answers of those I asked questions of, and an alarmingly high rate of motor vehicle accidents, I have got things figured out enough to create my own hover vehicles. Not the big noisy air cushion types, but the anti-grav type such as those in Star Wars. Mine don’t work as well as Nebadon’s and I am still trying to find sounds for them. On the plus side, my scripting skills have improved and I have also learned how to use Qavimator to make poses. Here’s a couple of pics to show off the two that I have built so far.

Marauder Mk IIb HoverAV

The Marauder is the first one I built and it can across water as well as land.

Penetrator Mk I HoverBike

The Penetrator is my second vehicle and is intended as an unarmed scout. It, too, can cross water as well as land. And I may add weapons. By the way, the weapons are currently for show, but will become functional under the Myriad RP System once I've worked out the scripting for them.

I’ve got at least another four in mind, including a steam/cyber-punk trike and a “pink Cadillac”. Oh, and of course we cannot forget the hoverboard, so make it five more to be built. So, I should have a few ready for when InWorldz has PhysX fully implemented and for when Created Worlds opens.

When it comes to RolePlay, Allen Kerensky has released Preview 6 of the Myriad RP System. Its becoming a very highly developed system with many features and options available. One of it’s biggest options is that you don’t have to include combat to use it. Simply don’t use the Meter. Some of its features include quests, rumours and now Critter/Goons, a feature that will have NPCs attack. If you would like a set of the scripts and instruction notecards, I’ve uploaded an IAR to the Myriad RP page, but fair warning, since I created that IAR, Allen's added a Healing script. I'll update the IAR as soon as I can. If you would like to read about the system, you can at You can also grab the heal script and notecard through that link. Allen also has a roadmap of Myriad’s progress posted at

So, all in all, that’s the news, those are my views and the odds have been sodded.


Of Cabbages and Kings, SpotOn3D and Viewer Things

August 7, 2012

Cabbages are good for coleslaw, sauerkraut and borscht.

Kings are best seen and not heard.

I haven’t written anything in awhile, nor have I been commenting or tweeting. The reason is, I’ve been in a pretty bad headspace over the past month or so. This is a part of my life as a person with Depression and PTSD. It gets pretty bad sometimes and it takes everything I have to not step out of this Universe into the next one. But there’s usually something that comes along which lifts me out of that Abyss, so I do what I can to hold on until that thing to happens. This time, it was Her Poutineness, Ener Hax, and her post Thanks Ener.

But despite where my head was at, I have kept up with things. Reading the blogs, the tweets, the various e-zines and forums, so I know there’s been a few things of note happening in the Metaverse lately. So, here I go with my own views on those.

I read Maria Korolov’s recent article in HyperGrid Business about Linda Kellie joining SpotOn3D and I have to agree with Maria, this is a PR coup for them. After all, Linda is well known as a content creator and generous contributor to the OpenSim community and has some stature in our community as a result. And they did take advantage of it, with a posting on their blog about it.

Let me pull a quote from their blog that I find a little troubling, though. “While she intends to continue making free items for her Website, Linda is impressed with the security for intellectual property offered by the SpotON3D platform… “. This seems at odds with her own past statements that she doesn’t care about copyright or patent licenses. After all, those licenses are what gives us protections for our intellectual properties as well as providing remedies when those licenses are violated. Its not the best system and its seriously flawed, but it is what we have and the fight goes on to change it.

Something dismayed me, though, are her comments regarding many people’s positions about SO3D. According to Linda, we’re all trolls and idiots for not supporting SO3D. Yes, I take that personally. I’m one of those people. But, just because I don’t support SO3D doesn’t make me a troll. A troll will never explain the reasons for their disagreement. I do. Nor am I an idiot. I made a decision based on the information I was able to gather and I have stuck by that decision. Furthermore, show me an error in my logic or a bit of information I have wrong and I will change my mind. That makes me principled, not idiotic.

To date, nobody has shown me to be wrong about SpotOn3D. That is because we’re all waiting to see if SO3D gets their five patent applications approved. And what they will do after that. From their own blog at - “If a patent is granted on the plugin, Spoton3D will enforce its IP rights“. Since the CEO and primary investor in SO3D is a patent lawyer, we can all be sure that they will carry out this threat. I also will put forth that, if SO3D does get the patents approved and does pursue any court actions, let us all be ready to help with contributions to a defense fund. Lack of money for the court costs is the biggest and most powerful weapon that can be used against our community.

Each and every one of us will make up our own minds when it comes to SO3D, but here’s a few things to keep in mind while you deliberate. SO3D has stated that their “goal from the very beginning has been to improve the metaverse” ( ). SpotOn3D’s server software is a fork of OpenSim. Any fixes that they have made to the code they have never contributed back to the development of OpenSim. Their viewer is based on one of the TPVs. Any fixes to any bugs in the viewer code they made they have never contributed back. Furthermore, they do not make the source code for their viewer public, which I think violates the GNU license of TPV viewers. How do these actions “improve the metaverse”?

And speaking of licenses, it looks like Linden Lab has been pwned by Havok. LL will be disabling the ability to use its viewer, and its approved Third Party Viewers, to connect to OpenSim grids so as to comply with the Havok license. This means that viewer developers will have three options. Go SecondLife only, go OpenSim/AuroraSim only or split in two and do both, which is what the Phoenix/Firestorm team are doing. For me, it means some major changes coming to the MIV over the next couple of months as developers make their choices. I have already decided that I will not list SL only viewers.

To be honest, I see this as a good thing for us. Many have said that we need viewers that can take advantage of OpenSim’s distinct features without having to remain compliant to Second Life. Yes, if you are present in both OpenSim and SL you will have to use two different viewers, but look on the bright side. You won’t get your grid caches messed up as often. And there’s an advantage for the viewer devs, too, though it means a lot of hard work. Build a new viewer from scratch, in C# and licensed to ditch that six month development delay that LL stuck you with. Think on that, viewers developed with the same coding language in synch with OpenSim and AuroraSim by both server and viewer developers working and communicating together.

The apron strings are being cut. The Metaverse will continue to grow. Second Life will continue to have a place in it, but it won’t be as big and profitable as Linden Lab would like. SL is suffering the death of a thousand cuts as people leave and regions disappear. Its only a trickle, but that only means that it will take a long time. I doubt that Second Life will ever shut down, but it will end up losing the distinction of being the biggest.

One final thought. This opens up a vast opportunity for some good-hearted fun. Let Linden Lab make “war” on us. There’s not much they can do, especially if we fight back with laughter and comedy. We can open refugee centres on OSGrid and drop care packages of quality freebies into SL. We can make over-the-top machinima vids giving instructions on how to slip across the borders to freedom. We can infiltrate and start a resistance movement of “freedom fighters”. We can PhotoShop recruitment posters and “warbonds” (Uncle Sarge wants YOU!!)

Let loose the Hounds of War!


A Bit of Spring Cleaning

May 25, 2012

Well, it looks like I had just a few too many things on the go, gridlings. So its time to take care of things and clean up the To Do List.

So, let's see …. still dealing with the debugging in Created Worlds. Turns out that some of my textures just don't like my 64bit system anymore, and they got blanked. So, there's some re-texturing to do. Not a big deal, more of a chore than anything else. So, that's going on for a bit. And don't forget, if anyone of you is looking to diversify, contact Zarta Vargas through the Created Worlds website.

I brought Misfit's Folly up to date, though some of the parcels have messed up. Couchs are in place for people to relax on, Domes have been designated for freebies. The Myriad RP/Combat System is up to date, too. There's now two available, with and without combat, so everyone can enjoy the Role Play features of the system. Feel free to visit via HyperGrid, in the Lower Realms. You can also create a new account and then wait for me to authourize it. It doesn't automatically notify me, so it might be a good idea to post a comment or email me. Or send a Tweet. Or, and we'll be getting Groups, Profiles and Search (using Speculoos setup)

I restructured my Kitely Worlds, too. I was not happy with them, but they ended up being back-burnered. Finally began to deal with it. Its a whole new project. Port Conor. A Port is a cross-roads, with something new all the time, both a safe haven and a dangerous jungle, things are almost always interesting in a port. And Conor is Latin for "venture". So, "new venture" becomes Port Conor. It too has designated Domes for freebies and the Myriad system is updated. Its the only Region/World at present, I deleted the others. The plan now is to wait on megaregions and then create an archipelago. With each island connected by a bridged roadway. Until then, I'll be working on putting together sculpties, scripts, animations and everything else to open up an Excelsior Armaments shop there. This is the time to do it as Kitely is now working on enabling inworld currency.

And I've even turned my attention to my InWorldz shop. One of the biggest hold backs is a lack of necessary animations. Well, I got a copy of Gregg Legendary's Qavimator tutorials. If you have an InWorldz presence, and you want to get it, Kiera Angel posted it at, and the location is New Orleans, 98, 158, 2003.

Misfit's Index of Viewers needs a minor update as there have been a couple of new releases and there's more features to be checked and listed. That's an ongoing project, so nothing major to report there.

So things are now at the point where I can get back to getting the InWorldz shop open again and I can also begin exploring Kitely while looking for those various things I need to get ready for inworld currency. I can continue testing the viewers while exploring the HyperGrid. I'll also be travelling around to meet content creators and invite them to place vendors on my little corner of the metaverse.

So, things are going well and things are fun. I guess I can't ask for anything more than that.


My Own Corner of the Metaverse

May 17, 2012

The other day Linda Kellie Tweeted about a new venture from Timothy Viper. Timothy ran CyberWrld, which was best known for its support of Furries. However, he had to close down. I'm not sure why, and that is actually immaterial. And Timothy isn't out of the picture, either. He's still here in the Metaverse, but now he's hosting regions and sims at SoftPaws Estates. Being the ever curious cat, I went and took a look.

He's got some good deals happening, gridlings. Good enough that I've signed up!

There's two types of packages available. One set has two deals that set you up with a region on OSGrid and the other has two that set you up with your own independent sim. Of course I went with the independent set up. The Slim Sim package, actually.

Now, you might think that its not that good a deal, being only 15,000 prims total whether you have one or two regions. But think about it. With one region that is exactly the same as you would get in Second Life, but at zero cost to set up and only 5% of SL’s tier. And no “Your stuff is ours” Terms of Service, either.

In fact, Timothy’s rates are better than InWorldz. Sure, you can get three times the prims on a private region on InWorldz, but at five times what Timothy is charging. Don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely other things that InWorldz has Timothy beat on. IW is a closed grid so they have an inworld economy, which is a huge plus in my books. I am definitely not closing my shop there.

Getting set up was very easy, too. A half a dozen emails as we worked out the details and we were set. Timothy is friendly and professional, which impressed me. I already have respect for him due to his willingness to stand up to the haters by supporting Furries and Nekos. He does his billing through PayPal. He’s even setting me up with a handbook on how to do all the Remote Admin stuff, which I have no experience at. And I get to have my own domain name, too. Free.

So, like I said, I went with the Slim Sim package, two regions, a total of 15,000 prims. I’m going to leave the second region undeveloped, though, so lots of room for RP. And I’m not going to build up the main region all that much. Just a place to live, an Arrival Point, maybe a few other features.

I haven’t given up on Excelsior Station, either. No way. That’s my baby. But that doesn’t mean I can’t diversify, does it? And there’s a very good reason for me to do this. My ISP setup pretty much makes it impossible for me to run a sim from home and be able to HyperGrid around. Yes, Timothy’s deals include HG capability. And remote admin, so I can load my own OARs and IARs, pretty much do everything I need to do that would be available if I were running it from here. Which brings me to why I did this.

I hate having to re-script my builds.

This way, I can build at home, which saves on data costs. Yes, I’m on one of those flex plans. I don’t have a cap on the data, but I do have one on my wallet. So, I need to be able to build offline, then upload the finished product.

This is the almost perfect solution. I can build something here at home, script it, animate it, give it sound and then save a copy into a specific folder in my Inventory. I can then save that folder as an IAR and upload it to my online self. From there, I can HyperGrid out to wherever the build is going to go and set it up.

Its a Diva Distro setup, so you should be able to create a new account on the webpage. Everyone is welcome and HyperGrid should be setup soon. So drop by, have a look around, say hello, help yourselves to any freebies I may have set out and so on.

Welcome to Misfit’s Folly.

Beer’s in the fridge, don’t step on the cat.


The Backstory and the Future

May 14, 2012

Yesterday, Ener posted an interesting piece on her blog, iliveinsl, about creativity. In that post she mentioned the Station by saying "… it’s the story of the place that draws me in – regions like a shipyard with housing (PortSide) and alleys and a medical dome - none of it having to do with how many prims or texture sizes. Excelsior Station piques my curiosity – the notion of it entertains me by telling a story – what’s the history of the place, what’s going on now, what other places are there to explore within it, why is there combat, what’s being fought over? it’s the story and not the details he has toiled over that make it what it is … ". Which sparked my own thoughts.

The story of a place is just as important as the place itself. The only way I can show the importance of backstory is by posing a question. What would Greece be without its backstory?

With that came the realization that Excelsior Station's backstory is still a bit vague and outdated. I had started it with the thought of it becoming an independent VW, but that has changed. (Nice thing about fiction, you can change it as you need). With the Station now having a home on Created Worlds and the current end result of the build, the backstory needs a bit of further development.

Here it is.

I'm a soldier-of-fortune who has been successful enough to be able to purchase a defunct starport and settlement on a large world, CW. Using robots and drones, the settlement has been repaired and refurbished and things are almost ready for people to immigrate to and settle in at Excelsior Station.

There's a small shipyard for the building and repair of starships. Portside is open and ready for merchants, crafters and residents to move in and setup. There's lots of room beneath the landing field for storage and repair shops. If anyone wants to set up, well, they can simply move in and stake out a space. Of course, they'll have to defend those spaces from others, but that's pretty much how Life goes, doesn't it? There's always someone trying to take yours away from you, no matter what laws rule the land.

The Colony has also been brought up to standard and will serve as the main Landing Point for new arrivals. There's even the SkySpires, a structure that was left behind by an avian species who had tried to farm the land and failed. True bird brains since they never seemed to understand that the land is simply too arid and nutrient depleted to be much good for growing anything.

I've never been very good at submitting to Authority. Can't stand those big Corporate ruled worlds with their crowded cities and all those "Don't Do This, Don't Do That" rules. Let people do what they want. If they want to blow each other's brains out over a glowberry muffin, let them. I figure there's only 3 laws that anyone needs. No rape. No child molestation. And give the other guy a fair chance to shoot back. Forget all that lawyer mumbo-jumbo. The only Habeous I'm interested in is whether I end up as the Corpus or the other guy does.

But, some people want that little bit of extra security, so land is being set aside for those that are safety conscious. They'll be able to have their plots of land to build a house or workshop on. There'll be a small merchants area as well, for those merchants who don't care to risk gun fire around their shop inventory. At a reasonable rate, of course.

There is a future story for the Station, though that is still to be written. Perhaps I will dedicate a page to the stories that people will have about Excelsior Station. I think it would be fun and interesting to see what sort of history we can make.

And there's no need to wait until Created Worlds officially opens to begin creating those stories. They are accepting applications for Beta accounts. Created Worlds has now completed its transition over to AuroraSim and logins have been enabled. We've been bug hunting and so things are coming along just fine.

One of the big concerns people have with a new grid is the security of their content. Created Worlds is very aware of this and are dedicated to the security of content. In fact, to quote one of the owners, Zarta Vargas, from a recent conversation "… the important things with this transition are that we now have variable-sized regions, other benefits that come with aurora, and also a way to track original creation/ownership of items. to me, the last is probably the most significant, …". I added the bold for extra emphasis. Zarta continued and also said "… all cw travelers and settlers can be assured that we'll continue to make improvements that can help with creative endeavors, undertakings, projects within cw… … …. without creativity, cw (and any virtual world) is nothing, …".

Now, I'm not going to tell you how Created Worlds is able to track that ownership. And I am not going to tell you about any other security measures that they have in place.That is because I don't know. Nor do I want to know. Furthermore, even though I can figure out how some of how it works, I am not going to weaken that security by posting my thoughts on it.

Fellow gridlings, I am as aware of the scams and rip-offs out there as you are. I have the confidence in Created Worlds to have Excelsior Station there. That's two years of work that I have dedicated to the building and development of the Station and I have placed its safety and security in their hands.

Created Worlds is accepting Beta memberships and have a Beta land deal happening right now. They are seeking all class of creators, from fashion to scripts to animations, everything. I encourage you to contact them and talk with them. They are approachable and are always willing to talk with you and to answer your questions.

And you can help with the Station's future history.


Misfit's Index of Viewers Updated

May 10, 2012

I have just added two more viewers to the MIV, Niran's Viewer and Kokua Viewer. I will begin working on expanding the features that are being listed, so watch for updates.

I would like a little input. Kirsten's Viewer is no longer being developed. I don't know if people are using it on OpenSim or not, although version S21(9) is still available for download. Very simply, should it be included despite the fact that it is no longer being developed?

(edited to add) Oh! And what features would you like to see listed?


A Decision Made

May 9, 2012

Well, if you've been checking out Misfit's Index of Viewers and the comments, you will have seen that the developer of the Cool VL Viewer, Henri Beauchamp, has taken issue with my non-inclusion of the word "Viewer" in the name of his viewer in the listing. In short, he demands that I use the complete name of the viewer or don't list it at all.

Obviously, I have issues with that. The Index is my work and nobody can tell me what to do with what I create. But, we live in a time of copyright trolls and litigation at the drop of a hat so I thought I'd cover my bases and talked with my advocate about this issue.

And what a meeting! We talked about a number of things and it was really positive, but here's what came about regarding this dispute.

When I explained to Henri Beauchamp that shortening the name for an unofficial list like this is a common practice, he responded by saying that people don't call the Tower of London anything else but that. Although, from what I understand, many people in London call it The Tower, but I could be wrong as confirmed by at least one commentor. More importantly, he used buildings as examples, not products. One of those apples and oranges situations.

Consider the two major beverage companies, Coca-cola and Pepsi-cola. When they first introduced their products to the general public, it wasn't long before people were calling the soft drinks Coke and Pepsi. Did the owners start demanding that people call the drinks by their full proper names? No, they didn't. Instead, they registered those shortened names as trademarks and brand names and took ownership. And so we have a precedent for the practice.

That brings us to another point. One that is extremely important. My advocate searched the US, Canadian and WIPO databases for a Cool VL Viewer trademark, brand name or copyright. He also searched for obvious variations, such as Cool Viewer and CoolVL, Cool VL, etc. None were found. This means that I am under no legal obligation to comply with Henri Beauchamp's demand.

Just to clear up any other potential legal issues, I receive no compensation for this. I make no guarantees of accuracy, though I will strive to keep the information as accurate and up to date as I can. I make absolutely no claims on any of the viewers. Misfit's Index of Viewers has no other purpose than to inform users of the features of the various viewers available so that they can make the best possible choice to meet their needs. Misfit's Index of Viewers is nothing more than an informal list created and maintained by a knowledgeable amateur.

Now, a little explanation for why I have laid out the MIV the way I did, which is a major factor in this issue.

When I began working on the Index, I had to make choices on how to organize it. That meant getting the priorities straight. The biggest priority is to include information in as much detail as possible, yet keep it balanced with conciseness and ease of understanding. Consider one of the entries I use, under the TP heading, which says "calls up World Map". "Opens World Map for teleporting" is certainly detailed and just as easy to understand, but it does take up a lot of space. The entry I have used is detailed, easy to understand and concise. That is why I have not used the word "Viewer" with all the viewer names. Not including the word saves space, which is a major factor of the layout. I'm also going to point out that each viewer does include "Viewer" as part of the name. This can be easily verified by visiting a viewer's home page. This also means that the entry for the Cool VL Viewer has been treated the same way as the other viewers.

That's another priority, to treat each viewer the same, without any bias. That is why I have not included any highlighting of various features. That is because different people have different needs. For me, a builder, having nanoprims to 3 decimal places and showing the build axis on the root prim are very important. But a machinamist will have lighting and shadows as their priority while scripters will want OSSL funcionality. That is why none of the entries are italicized, or bold or underlined. Besides, if I were to do so, that would turn the MIV into a consumer review, not a list. And that is all it is, an unofficial list of viewers and their features.

And when it comes to priorities, it seems to me that the average user will hold the features of a viewer as the higher priority over the name of the viewer. So, when it comes to the layout of the tables, space is given to the details of the features before it is given to the details of the names. If I enter the full and complete name of one viewer, I have to do it for all of them. And that entails a complete change to the layout.

Now we come to the personal issues that are involved.

The MIV is my creation. I do welcome and encourage input, both positive and negative. But, the layout, wording, prioritizing, everything is my decision and nobody else's. If anyone is going to demand that I change something I don't want to change, they will need to do one of two things. Convince me that it is a reasonable change. Or serve me with a court order.

I am sure that by now that you're getting an inkling of my decision about Henri Beachamp's demand. But to be absolutely clear about it …


I will not change Misfit's Index of Viewers except at my discretion.

This does not mean that I won't include the word "Viewer" as part of the names in the future. It does mean that such a change will happen only if the layout and priorities allow it, not because someone demands it.


Mesh, Viewers and the MIV

May 6, 2012

Thank you everyone for your positive comments regarding Misfit's Index of Viewers, or MIV. One thing that has come up, though, is regarding mesh support. I did not test to determine if a viewer supports mesh, that is, whether a viewer can "see" mesh inworld. I only tested for their ability to import mesh. I have changed the column heading to reflect that.

The reason for not testing mesh support inworld is due to a glitch in my LAN. My setup simply disables, or "greys out', the menu entry to import a mesh model. The one mesh I have in my inventory isn't rezzing, either. Once this glitch has been fixed, I will be testing for inworld mesh support.


Misfit's Index of Viewers

May 3, 2012

Viewers are as important to the metaverse as OpenSim is. After all, without a viewer you can't access the metaverse at all. But not all viewers are created the same. Each has a little something different from the others. Which is great since each of us seeks the best possible experience. And there's always lots of discussions about the various pro's and con's of viewers. Yet, it seems to me that there isn't a listing of the viewers and their features. Yes, Second Life has their Third Party Viewer directory, but that doesn't list any of the various features. Well, no more. Here's Misfit's Viewer Features Index.

But first, a bit of info about what I've done here. I downloaded the latest release of each viewer listed, current as of May 3, 2011. I uninstalled my current installation and deleted all caches, including the Users files. I then did a clean install of each viewer. In the future, I will simply overlay any new installations, which will keep my settings. I tried to test every feature that I am use as well as those that I see people talking about. I am hoping that people will let me know of features they like so I can add them.

This index will be carried on as a separate page on this site and I've added a link to the menu on the left. I have laid this index out in 2 distinct sections. First, a set of tables that list the features and whether they are available, or what the feature's limits are. I have also included a short section for notes specific to individual viewers.

Viewers come in two distinct "flavours". Those that focus on Second Life and those that focus on OpenSim. Some viewers try to bridge both. I list both types here because many people like those Second Life oriented viewers, though they take a bit of manual configuring to be able to access OpenSim grids. I do not include the Second Life viewer in this index. I do this for the same reason I do not include the InWorldz viewer or the Avination viewer. Those viewers are focused on their particular grids.

I have used a common practice to truncate or shorten the length of the names of the viewers. Just as we do not include the word "Incorporated" when referring to a business, so I have not included the word "Viewer" when referring to the viewers. I did this due to page width and layout and have treated the name of each viewer in the same way. So, "Astra" is actually "Astra Viewer", "Cool VL" is actually "Cool VL Viewer" and so on.

Viewer Features

Viewer Version Home Page Download Link
Astra 1.6.3 None found
Catznip R6 (3.2.2)
Cool VL 1.26.4 (10)
Dolphin 3 3.3.6 (23776)
Exodus Beta (
Firestorm 4.0.1 (27000)
Imprudence 1.4.2 (Beta)
Phoenix 1.6.1 (1691)
Singularity 1.6.0
Teapot 0.1.6 None found
Zen 3.3.3
Viewer Interface Grid Access Export Linkset XML Axis on Root Nanoprim Max Hollow Undo
Astra V1 Manager Yes Yes 0.01 95 Yes
Catznip V3 File Modify no no 0.01 95 Yes
Cool VL V1 Manager Yes no 0.01 95 Yes
Dolphin 3 V3 File Modify no Yes 0.01 99 Yes
Exodus V3 File Modify no Yes 0.01 95 Yes
Firestorm V3 File Modify no Yes 0.001 99 Yes
Imprudence V1 Manager Yes no 0.001 99 Yes
Phoenix V1 Manager Yes Yes 0.01 99 Yes
Singularity V1 Manager Yes Yes 0.01 95 Yes
Teapot V1 URL Entry no Yes 0.001 99 no
Zen V3 URL Entry no Yes 0.001 99 Yes

(Note: 'File Modify' refers to the need to modify the link by adding —loginuri <grid url> or by editing a grid XML file. 'Manager' refers to a built in Grid Manager that allows the user to add, delete and update grids via a specific window, accessible on the login page or through Preferences. 'URL Entry' refers to a feature where the user can manually directly enter the grid URL into the grid menu on the login page, similar to when a user wishes to manually enter the region they wish to login to.)

Viewer Built-in AO Radar Double Click TP Import Mesh Command in Chat AuroraSim Compatible
Astra Borked - use HUD on MiniMap calls World Map no Yes Yes
Catznip HUD no calls World Map Yes no no
Cool VL HUD Top Taskbar Menu calls World Map Yes no no
Dolphin 3 Yes Preferences calls World Map Yes no no
Exodus Yes Preferences calls World Map Yes Yes no
Firestorm Yes Preferences calls World Map Yes Yes no
Imprudence Yes on MiniMap Yes no Yes Yes
Phoenix Yes Bottom Taskbar Button calls World Map Yes Yes no
Singularity Yes Top Taskbar Menu calls World Map no Yes Yes
Teapot HUD no Yes Yes no no
Zen Yes no calls World Map Yes no no

(Note: Double Click TP refers to the feature of double clicking on the minimap to teleport to that location. This does not refer to teleporting when double clicking on land, which is generally configurable through Preferences. An entry of "calls World Map" means that double clicking on the minimap will open the World Map for your teleport. Command in Chat refers to a feature where the user can say in chat a specific command to initiate something. Example: saying in open chat gtp 128 128 100 will teleport the user to the coordinates of 128, 128, 100. Saying dd 512 will change the draw distance to 512 metres.)

Viewer Notes

Does not save the user's settings, requiring repositioning of Inventory window, MiniMap, camera controls, etc every time it is used.

Firestorm, Phoenix:
Both of these viewers use a unique feature, the LSL<>Client Bridge. This Bridge is functional only in Second Life. Disabling the use of the Bridge in OpenSim has no effect that I can discover. This is done in the Preferences. If you leave it enabled, however, the viewer will attempt to attach it, will not be able to and will drop it on the ground, leaving an invisible almost impossible to find and grab prim.


Station Status Report: New Hardware Integration Successful

April 14, 2012

This past week, on Good Friday, as a matter of fact, I received three years of back tax rebates. Fifteen hundred bucks worth of cha-ching!

Well, I took care of some bills, put some extra food in the fridge, partied a bit with some friends (got drunk for the first time in 4 years) and bought a new computer.

Its an AMD A8-3820 APU QuadCore processor running at 2500Mhz. Its got 6Gb of RAM and a 1.5Tb harddrive, which I've partitioned to a 100Tb partition and a 500Gb partion. One for programs and system files, the other for my sims and files and archives. The graphics are Radeon HD 6550D embedded in the motherboard. Pretty good system, though the graphics aren't all that great. And its ATI. The problem is that the case is too small to swap my nVida 9500GT in.

But I found a solution. I now have them networked as a LAN, via a Cisco router. Just left everything at default and now I've got the quadcore running my at-home sim and my single core is running everything else. I did lose the use of the Apache server from SoaS. Its just stops running. No problem logging in though.

Next is to get my system online.

And that's where I've got problems. You see, my Internet service is a mobility service. The setup uses a USB stick to connect to the network (its Bell Mobility, btw), so none of the instructions that I find work out. The whole of the system starts with the region server quadcore, connected via ethernet to the Cisco router/hub. This also connects my single core applications system. This system connects to the Internet. In short, the region server has to go through the LAN router/hub, then my the applications computer to connect.

If anyone has any tips or links, feel free to comment, I'll appreciate the help.


April 1, 2012
updated April 14, 2012

I am always trying out the latest releases of software, such as the various viewers that we use. With viewers, I will install the latest and then see what the features are, how it handles my at home stand-alone, how easy is it to build, move and all the rest. Lately, though, I've noticed a loss of an important feature in some viewers, the ability to import and export linkset XMLs.

For me, this is a very important feature because many grids do not allow the export and import of IARs. So, if I make something here on my home system, I need to use the XML export and import functions to be able to move a copy from my home setup into the grid(s) I want to use it in. Yes, that means I have to re-script and re-animate and all that, but that's simply the way it is at the moment.

I have read nothing that says that this feature is being phased out. If it is, why are people not saying anything? If it isn't, then why are some viewers apparently dropping it?

I don't have copies of all the different viewers and there are likely newer releases that do have the Linkset Import/Export function, so please let me know of if this is the case. Here's the list of viewers I have checked, updated April 14,2012:

Viewer Export via Pie Menu Export via Drop Down Menu Import Linkset Download Link
Catznip No No No
CoolVL Yes Yes Yes
Firestorm No No No
Imprudence Yes Yes Yes
Phoenix Yes No Yes
Singularity Yes No Yes
Teapot No No No
Zen No No Nos


Can AuroraSim connect to OpenSim?

March 31,2012

An interesting question was asked earlier this morning on Ener Hax's blog by Xpontaneous which was

"… Can I connect an Aurora to Osgrid … ?"

I didn't see why not, though it would depend on how AuroraSim and OpenSim handle the information between them. Well, I went to the source, the AuroraSim developers themselves. I logged into the #aurora-dev IRC channel and asked.

"[12:49] I’ve got what I think is an interesting question. Can an AuroraSim instance hosted on my computer connect to and join an OpenSim grid, such as OSG? I don’t mean using HyperGrid, I mean join the grid itself, becoming one of their regions.
[12:49] yes"

Now, how you do it is another thing, one I will leave for others to work through until I can improve my own skills. But I will go through the configurations and see if I can find a few paths to follow.


AuroraSim on SoaS: Update

March 30, 2012

Well, I'm behind on things and working hard on catching up. Here's one I've just done, catching up on new releases of SoaS and AuroraSim and how to combine them.

Although there have been some problems with the development of AuroraSim, such as the closure and opening of a new site, the development has continued to progress. The latest stable release is and can be found at . SoaS has undergone some changes, as well. Its incorporated the latest OpenSim release, 0.7.3 and it now gives you the option of choosing between three setups, a single region, 4 separate regions in a 2x2 grid and the usual 4 SRE megaregion that has always come with SoaS. (Get the new one at ) There have also been some changes to ports used. The database, MySQL is now set to use 3307 and the login now uses 9100. This means a couple of new things to edit to get AuroraSim to run with SoaS's MySQL.

So, here's what you need to do now to get AuroraSim to work with SoaS …

First of all, when you unzip the AuroraSim file and start looking for the INI files, you will find that there is no /bin folder. AuroaSim is designed to let you simply copy the unzipped folders and files directly into your current /bin folder, over-writing the old files with their replacements. So, forgive me if I step back and discuss the obvious here, but I want to be sure that everyone is on the same page.

Bear with me on this as it will help you to keep things organized. Create a new folder named whatever you like, though I will call it BaseFolder for the purpose of this post. Inside the BaseFolder create two more, SoaS and AuroraBin, or whatever you like, so long as you know what they are. Now, locate your unzipped soas073 folder, you'll have the right one if you see the mowes.exe and the inifile.exe files. Copy all those files and folders as is to your new BaseFolder\SoaS folder. Now locate your unzipped Aurora0.5.0.1Release folder. In this one you will see 7za.exe and Aurora.bat files along with the various folders and other files that are included. Copy everything as is to your BaseFolder\AuroraBin folder.

Next is editing the .ini files. If you already have an AuroraSim setup, you will likely want to copy your current .ini files over to the new one you are working on. There have been some changes to AuroraSim, though, so your old .ini files may cause problems. I do not know for sure about this, I still have to check that. Give it a try if you want, let me know how it goes. otherwise, you've a bit of work ahead of you. Almost all of the AuroraSim .ini files have been renamed to <filename>.ini.example . The simple solution is to rename the files from <filename>.ini.example to <filename>.ini. But, this is also a good opportunity to fine tune your setup from your old configuration, adding in those things you want and getting rid of those you don't. In other words, you can also open the <filename>.ini.example with your text editor, review the contents of the file, make any changes you need, and then Save As <filename>.ini. Here is the list of locations of the .example files you need to rename;


Two of those .ini files are particular to this post. Those files are \BaseFolder\AuroraBin\Configuration\Data\Data.ini and the accompanying MySQL.ini files.

Open the Data.ini file and comment out the Include-SQLite = Configuration/Data/SQLite.ini entry by putting a semicolon at the beginning. Then remove the colon in front of the use MySQL line, which enables the use of SoaS's MySQL setup. Those two lines should look like this;

;; If you want to use SQLite, select this file.
;Include-SQLite = Configuration/Data/SQLite.ini

;; If you want to use MySQL, select this file.
Include-MySQL = Configuration/Data/MySQL.ini

Next, open MySQL.ini and you will see that the passwords are set to ***. Change those to opensimpass.

Before -> ConnectionString = "Data Source=localhost;Port=3306;Database=opensim;User ID=opensim;Password=***;"

After -> ConnectionString = "Data Source=localhost;Port=3306;Database=opensim;User ID=opensim;Password=opensimpass;"

Now, here's one of the big changes. See where it says "Port=3306"? Well, with SoaS, that has been changed to 3307. However, I tried making that change in the file here, but had a problem with registering my region. So, to fix this, you now have to go to your new BaseFolder\SoaS\ folder and then into the mysql folder. Open for editing the my.ini file you will find there. There are two entries to change, the ones designating the port as being 3307. Change this to 3306. This is what you should see once you have done that.

Before —>



# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# The following options will be read by the MySQL Server. Make sure that
# you have installed the server correctly (see above) so it reads this 
# file.

# The TCP/IP Port the MySQL Server will listen on

After —>



# ----------------------------------------------------------------------
# The following options will be read by the MySQL Server. Make sure that
# you have installed the server correctly (see above) so it reads this 
# file.

# The TCP/IP Port the MySQL Server will listen on

Okay, now on to fixing a minor issue before it begins. AuroraSim now looks for your ExternalHost automatically. For me, this is a problem since I am not always online. This means that I have to have my External Host set to This actually shouldn't be much of a problem (I think) if you use DynDNS or No-IP, but my ISP is a mobility service, so my router stuff is different to configure. And that is something I haven't figured out yet. Anyway, if you are in the same situation as I am, or just simply want to play it safe, then you there is an entry to be changed in BaseFolder\AuroraBin\aurora.ini. Look for the Network section for the Hostname entry and remove the semicolon to enable it. Here's the end result;

;; This doesn't require any changes if you wish to use the automatic finding of the external IP
    HostName =

To start things up, go to BaseFolder\SoaS and double click the mowes.exe file. Don't use any of the others, they won't do anything since they are for the OpenSim version. Next, go to BaseFolder\AuroraBin\ and double click aurora.exe. The usual console window will open and start running.

Head up! You may see a number of red error messages. The first set is related to finding the ExternalHostName. No worries, you changed that when you set the HostName in aurora.ini. Everything runs just fine. The other set is the result of changes that get made to the database. OpenSim defines the columns, rows and entries one way while AuroraSim does it another. So, you get red error messages and then AuroraSim reformats the database. Again, no worries as this database is now dedicated to AuroraSim.


Excelsior Station Has A Home!!

March 12, 2012

That's right, gridlings, Excelsior Station has been adopted by a soon-to-go-public grid, Created Worlds, which is here:

And I have to give a very big thank you to Zarta Vargas and Nichodemos Vesperia for accepting me and the Station. Even more so, thank you for the compliment. You see, folks, they contacted me and invited me to join. Not the other way around. Seems they've been reading this site and like what I'm doing. To me, that's a helluva compliment. Even more so, this is a big step towards achieving one of the major goals I have set out here. To open Excelsior Station to the public.

So, let me tell you a bit about Created Worlds, gridlings. They are science fiction themed and dedicated to roleplay. That's another goal of mine, to support and promote roleplay throughout the metaverse as a method of increasing its adoption by the general public. And the sci-fi just makes it all the better. Especially since they are putting the emphasis on creating your own sci-fi. They aren't against Star Trek and Star Wars and such, but, like me, they want to support other sci-fi related themes and especially original work.

They have some great Windlight and LightShare environmental effects going on, so don't go with the default Midday setting. Go with the Region Default. Trust me. And wait until they get to playing around with some of the environmental configurations that are available in AuroraSim. Such as setting gravity to a specific point in space. And just imagine what Tinies would do with an asteroid at 2,000 meters.

Created Worlds is right in the middle of switching over to AuroraSim, too, so the Station will be retaining its 1024x1024 size. And then there's the Infiinite Region capability. That means I can build and fly my BattleCruiser across 'uncharted' waters to do battle. Eventually. And supporting the AuroraSim is another big plus.

Created Worlds has a Welcome Centre, with freebies available, and a few other features that you might find interesting. But I don't want to let the cat out of the bag on what those are.

Since they already have a Welcome Centre set up, I decided to remove mine. Wow, what a difference that made. Excelsior Station now has 57,659 prims, a decrease of about 25%. There are now only 2,442 active scripts, too, which is a decrease of around 60%!

So, the Settlement is now The Colony and it has my combat system set out.

That's based on Myriad Lite in accordance with their license under Creative Commons. I do say its my system since I have been editing it to work with AurroaSim and Excelsior Station, as well as Kitely and InWorlds. And I do give credit to the actual creators on this site and in each world where I have set it up. I even include "Myriad" as the first part of the name. Anyway, I've set the Colony as a no combat area,

although there is a training/sparring area available.

Any sparring or training doesn't count for experience, but you can use it to get used to your weapons and animations, as well s a bit of friendly sparring.

Oh, and there's also a medical dome now, too.

I've been busy throughout the rest of the sim, too.

What's sci-fi without a floating structure of some kind?

Just imagine what Tinies would do with this. Maybe Raglan Shire would be interested. "Tinies In Space!"

I also built a ShipYard.

There's two ships being built there. I have a third that is parked on the landing field, with a furnished copy docked at the docking tower.

And it wouldn't be a port without PortSide and its twisted alleys.

There's more, folks, but you'll just have to wait and discover them for yourselves.

Okay, okay, … just a hint, though …. think monsters and deadly traps ….

Created Worlds is in Beta and they project 3 to 6 months before officially opening. But that's not firm. We've all gone through the building phase and there is always problems that blind-side you, so that projection is by no means a promise. However, they are accepting applications for people to help with testing and building. If you're interested, here's the link:
But be aware, they are allowing access only on individual review. They are still working on balancing resources while building things up, too. Its definitely not open to exploration. It'd be like trying to explore an empty warehouse. The structure's there, but there's nothing really interesting inside.

They also have a beta land offer here:
Just look for the button on the left named Beta Discount Offer. And the thing as with access, its by individual review. But if you do get approved, you will have access of course.

If you do register, they are being kept so you will be informed once you do have access, though it might not be until the full opening.


New at AuroraSim

March 7, 2012

So, with all that's been going on, I've not been keeping up to date with developments at AuroraSim. Their website was closed for a short bit, but a new one has been built. Looks good, too. You can find it at

And the devs have been working hard, too. The last stable release they had before the old website went down was 0.4.2, though you could go to their github location (, along with optional modules and such, and then compile the server'ware yourself. And now there is a new release, 0.5.0 which you can get at

I have discovered one problem, though, which I've posted in the AuroraSim forums. The problem is with cross-compatability. That is, using OpenSim stuff on AuroraSim and AuroaSim stuff on OpenSim. The problem is that an IAR saved from AuroraSim does not load into OpenSim, even though you use the same viewer (not sure if that's a factor). So, time to wait for an answer and see what's happening on that.

XMLs are still fine and you can still do the usual uploading of textures and all.

OAR files run into the problem of variable region versus megaregion. Makes sense, though. Excelsior Station is 1024x1024. OpenSim likely reads OAR files and expects to see it for the standard 256x256, so all the info from an AuroraSim OAR gets read into that smaller space. Loading an OpenSim OAR into AuroraSim can be done, but takes a little work. Essentially, you load the OpenSim OAR into your AuroraSim. It will default to the SW corner of your grid. Next, you move all the prims from there to where you want them.


Birth of a Federation

March 5, 2012

Well, as I posted a little while ago, with the closure of NovaGrid, I've joined Kitely. And that means a massive rebuild. If you've been reading this site, you will know that Excelsior Station is a 16 SRE sim using AuroraSim for the server'ware. You will also likely know that Kitely has only single regions with no joining. In other words, no megaregions. Talk about a challenge, rebuild a single sim the size of 16 regions to a set of individual regions with no linking between them. And to do so with the knowledge that two things will be happening in the future; megaregions and inter-region teleporting.

Now, that might seem a pretty daunting task and a completely different direction in the plans I have for Excelsior Station. Or so it would seem. In the past I posted about my idea of getting a number of sim owners to connect and create a group of RP/combat virtual worlds. We would travel to each others grids using HG, engage in battles, duels, gladiatorial contests, trade, diplomacy and more, as well as all the attendant role playing that is necessary to flesh everything out. Big project, that. Heck of a goal.

So, how to keep those goals while working with unconnected regions on a single grid? Well, its just a matter of perspective. Old plan, I build a virtual world and call out for others to join in the fun. New plan, build a group of regions as the seed for such a group. Or federation, if you will. Kitely is pretty much perfect for testing this idea. Inexpensive, allowed to use OARs and everything else you might want in your own grid.

And so we witness the birth of the Excelsior Station Federation.

The basic premise is that each world is the result of some form of cosmic event that created a partial copy of a place in other dimensions. Law has broken down. Shock and madness have led to suicides and murder. People arm themselves with whatever they can find. Yet, there are some few who have risen to the challenge of being ripped from their worlds and dropped in this alternate reality. Some see this as an opportunity to elevate themselves to positions of power in this new existence, imposing their will upon those around them. Others fight to restore law and justice, to build a new civilization that abides by a fair and just way of life. And all sorts in between. Over time, a few of those lost worlds have joined to form a loosely-knit federation, inviting others join them. Some will, others will only be allies and still others will maintain their independence.

Currently, only Excelsior Station Federation HQ (ESFHQ) is on Kitely, but I also have a post-apocalypse urban area, a Lycan forest, a Vampire realm and an Elven/Fae world. Full creds to Linda Kellie whose OARs I have used and minorly modded for my own use. Future plans include a water world, two that will have one or more sky platforms, one bing futuristic in look and feel while the other will be steam-punk. Also, a starshipyard, wrecked starship, and an orbital station. I'm currently working on a multiple level city, from sewers to highest towers (think Blade Runner).

There are some things, though, that have to be common to all worlds in the Federation, whether those worlds are mine or belong to other people. A common set of guidelines for all to use. One being the use of the Myriad-ESF RP/Combat System, or MESF, which is based on the Myriad Lite RPG System edited for use in the ESF project. A copy is available for free at ESF HQ. I have considered setting out freebies of clothing and shapes and all, but there is already a ton on Kitely. (Linda, your stuff is really getting around *grins*) Over time, I will be adding some free weapons and armour and things, and hope that others will, too. I will also be setting up script kits so people can make their own things. Fair warning, I've modded the scripts to work within Kitely and as part of the ESF, so they are no mod. Copy and trans is fine, but there needs to be consistency with the goods. After all, its not much fun to kit yourself out with all the legit things only to have some jerk come along with a Dagger of MegaKill doing you in with one hit.

I have also decided to create a separate website for the Excelsior Station Federation, using Google sites ( ). Seems like to good an opportunity to test out Google Sites. Its only a blank template at the moment, but that will cahnge. Also, there will be at least 3 types of world memberships, Federation Member, Allied World and Independent World. As for people, well, for now, there’s just Federation Citizen. As other people join their worlds in, they will be setting up their own memberships, which I will incorporate into the Federation setup. I will also be keeping up this site, though for metaverse issues and thoughts unrelated to the ESF. I hope to expand my writings here, too, to include other issues that I find interesting.

And so, with that, I will bid you adieu and hope to see you in the Excelsior Station Federation.

Excelsior Station Federation,
The Pompous Bastid Hisself,
Sarge Misfit


The Future of Excelsior Station

February 21, 2012

Well, with NovaGrid missing in action, I have to change plans for where the future home of the Station will be. There are a few options, though, and they should all be considered.

I could run Excelsior Station from here at home. Either s an independant grid or attached to another one, such as OSG. That would give me the greatest level of control over things, but that would also make me the IT guy.

I could contract with a hosting company. Less control, better tech support. And there's some reputable companies out there. Maria at HyperGrid Business has a listing at In fact, she has a series of articles on Getting Started. What it really comes down to, though, is bang for your buck. Which is one of the reasons for writing here. To show people what it takes to setup your own virtual world with few skills and fewer dollars.

And I seem to have made my choice. Kitely.

Kitely is in the news a lot, so if you haven't heard of them, go read HyperGrid Business and check out the Kitely Site. They meet almost all the requirements I have for the future home of the Station. Good tech support (as evidenced by the lack of complaints) and low cost. If you have been reading the various metaverse blogs, such as Ener Hax's I Live in Science Land, you will see that one of the co-owners of Kitely, Ilan Tochner, is a regular commentor. He's friendly and well spoken, which shows me that he knows how important customer relations are. This has been further evidenced over a series of emails I recently traded with him. Not only was he prompt in his response, his explanations were easy to understand and he also put forth other ideas in keeping with my own.

There are a couple of downsides, though, to locating to Kitely. Its account creation uses only FaceBook. I refuse to sue FaceBook for two reasons. What they do with information about us and their refusal to allow pseudonyms. But that will be changing soon. The registration process at Kitely, that is. Kitely will be adding Twitter and email registrations very soon. I don't know when and I haven't asked, since there are always problems that delay such things. Once the new registration processes have been enabled, I am definitely going to check it out. By the way, just in case you haven't checked out the Kitely site, they have a Free Plan available. One region and 2 hours per month. Kitely does things a bit different. They call their regions worlds because they give you some of the abilities that grid owners have, like uploading OAR files. I've come to think of Kitely as a "pocket metaverse" and their worlds as being region/worlds.

Not only is the cost very nice (I'm likely to go with the $20/month plan) but you get 100,000 prims on each region/world. That's HUGE! You can restrict access to each region/world, too. Completely open to the public of by group. I believe that is similar to what we are all used to with banning, though its not an actual ban. Its more like a private members club. You have to be a member to enter.

A factor to be considered, though, is the lack of megaregions. You cannot even put regions side-by-side. But, megaregions are coming, too. Let's not forget, Kitely is relatively new and they are working things out first, then releasing new features. Another thing that is coming is region to region teleports. I'm not sure if you have to logout and then log in to another region/world to travel about, but its easy enough to get that info. And, as I said, region-region TPs are coming. So, a little patience on that will go a long way.

Now, you might think that the lack of megaregions is a killer to the Station, but not so. There's a very common theme in science fiction, the rift in the space-time continuum. With that as a theme, I can set up each region/world as different variations. Post apocalypse, future tech, magic based and more. In fact, there's a commercial MMO out there called Rift that, I believe, relies on that theme. So, I will use wormholes. I know, I can use the term "rift", but I'm not interested in any legal crap form some Big Biz, despite being able to prove that they have only a copyright to the name of their game, not the concept. And I don't need the griefers and haters yelling "Copycat!" I've got better things to do with my time.

So, doing things that way also works in with my idea of a group of grids that all use the same RP system and a common set of rules. Only do that within the "pocket metaverse" of Kitely. In fact, it was Ilan that pointed out that other Kitely world owners might want to join my group, so we could all travel around. The attraction of that for others is that there would be a core group of region/worlds that will provide some continuity. And, once HyperGrid is enabled, the metaverse sky's the limit.

And so we have the birth of the Excelsior Station Federation.


A Bit More Comparing

February 16, 2012

Ener asked a good question in the comments the other day, what about CPU and RAM Usage. Initially, I was wondering how to measure those and where I can get some open source free tools when it hit me like a slap in the forehead,


Windows has a Resource Monitor. So, off I went to run those tests. I ran both versions of Excelsior Station the same was as I did last time, with only one difference. I did not clear the cache this time. And in so doing, I found out that some of the lag that I experienced before was due to Imp building up a new cache.

The first thing I did was to record my CPU and RAM usage without either sim being run to get a base measurement. Without either version of the Station running, my CPU usage was between 0% and 2% with the RAM used holding steady at 1.11Gb, or 37%. When I ran AuroraSim and waiting about 5 minutes after everything rezzed, I had 100% CPU usage and it used 2.04Gb of RAM, or 68%. The OpenSim version, after rezzing and waiitng, also ran the CPU at 100% but the RAM usage was 2.58Gb, or 86%.

Parameter No Sim OpenSim AuroraSim
CPU Usage 0 to 2% 100% 100%
Gb RAM Used 1.11 2.58 2.04
% RAM Used 37% 86% 68%


OpenSim & AuroraSim: An Informal Comparison

February 14, 2012

So, the bad news is that NovaGrid has closed, which is where I was going to go to get Excelsior Station hosted. Which doesn't leave me much in the way of options. Locate another hosting company or try to setup here at home.

Or, go with OpenSim. Which is an option, especially with the news from Kitely lately. Kitely now has payment plans and they'll be adding Twitter and email registrations in the next few weeks and megaregions are on their To Do List. Although I've not checked out any of the Kitely worlds yet, they are shaping up as an option.

So, I decided to cover my bases and build an OpenSim version of Excelsior Station based on Kitely's current rates. With Nova, I would have been paying $50 a month to host my 1024x1024 region, so I used that as my base. Currently, $50/month on Kitely gets you 30 one region worlds. Now, there's no saying if that will be the rate for a single 30regionMega on Kitely, but its easier to remove regions from a build than it is to add. Well, that's my theory, anyway.

But then there were some comments posted about differences between AuroraSim and OpenSim, so this seems to be a good time to do a bit of informal testing using my own system here at home.

The first thing is to reduce the variables. One is the computer. My system is an Athlon single core processor running at 2.7Ghz with 3Gb RAM and an nVidia GeForce 9500GT graphics card. So, that will be the same across both versions of the Station.

They both use the FlotsamCache for asset caching. Both versions of Excelsior Station have a 256 link limit (physical and non-physical) and both allow megaprims up to 256m and physical prims up to 50m. Both have groups, media on a prim, NPC and mesh enabled. Both are setup as a StandAlone using as the localhost. Both use Sim-on-a-Stick for MySQL. I have Excelsior Station on Aurora configured for 250,000 prims (yes, a quarter of a million) and the Excelsior Station on OpenSim has been reconfigured for 15,625 prims on each region for the same total, 250,000. I'm assuming that OpenSim totals the prim allowance up like that.

The AuroraSim version is the 0.4.2 "weekly", however, the main AuroraSim site is being rebuilt. You can get a more current version from their GitHub location but that is the current development version and is less likely to be as stable. I am using the 0.4.2 version for the purpose of this testing.

The OpenSim version is DivaDistro that comes with Sim-on-a-Stick updated to diva-r16915-a.

I'm using Imprudence 1.4 beta 2 on Windows Vista with Service Pack 1. I'm manually clearing the cache with both runs. So, same viewer with empty caches on the same computer running the same OS. I have the graphics set to High using the Recommended Settings button and a draw distance of 1024m. Once inworld, I slowly turned full circle to make sure that all the textures within my view were fully rezzed. I then spent an extra 5 minutes doing nothing just to be sure everything had loaded.

That's just about as far as I can go to ensure that differences are related to which server'ware I'm using and not due to any other factor. Other differences will be the number of prims rezzed and the number of active scripts on each version of Excelsior Station. I've also gone through the OpenSim INI files to get them to match AuroraSim as closely as I possible can.

Some differences cannot be helped. OpenSim uses XEngine for scripting while AuroraSim uses AuroraDotNetEngine. They both use Meshmerizer but OpenSim uses the OpenDynamicsEngine for physics while AuroraSim uses AuroraOpenDynamicsEngine. I don't know the details of the differences.

Another big difference is regions. AuroraSim uses VarRegion, or variable sized region, to set the land area while OpenSim uses MegaRegion. The idea is to eliminate sim border lag and both work. The difference is that AuroraSim's VarRegion defines the dimensions of a single region while OpenSims MegaRegion "welds" multiple default regions together into one land area. In this case, Excelsior Station-Aurora is 1,024m x 1,024m, which is the equivalent area of 16 standard regions. I setup Excelsior Station-OpenSim as a 16regionMega so as to ensure that I had the same land area.

Another difference is that the builds are not the same. And little wonder since I've been working on Excelsior Station using AuroraSimt for about a year while I've been working on the OpenSim build for only a few days.

Parameter OpenSim AuroraSim
Amount of time to load & start 10 minutes 10 seconds 3 minutes 4 seconds
Number of Prims 69,303 70,087
Number of Active Scripts 4,188 3,290
Spare Time (as measured on Statistics Bar) 0ms 40000000ms

I'm not sure about the Spare Time results, but that's what I got from the Statistics. Both versions have similar number of prims and active scripts but a significant difference in load times and spare time inworld. Subjectively, I found that my movement was noticeably more herky-jerky and rubberbanding in OpenSim.

There are some other differences as well.

In OpenSim, set up the ground textures of each region before you join them into a megaregion. Applying ground textures after joining affects only your base region, the one set at the SW corner. As for terraforming, you still run into those sim boundaries. Getting the land to smoothly transition across is very difficult. On the other side of the coin, one of the biggest problems for AuroraSim is the lack of compatible viewers. Imprudence won't render the default water texture from beyond 640m on your sim. Astra does, but it has its own issues, like not saving user preferences. I've not yet found any other viewer that will log into AuroraSim, though I am looking. There's also a lack of hosting companies for Aurora, which is a big factor when you are setting up your world for public access.

All in all, the pluses and minuses of both balance each other out. Whichever simulator server'ware you use is up to you. Just take your time and do your own evaluations. Fort me, I'm going to go with whatever gets Excelsior Station open for visitors.


What's New At SL?

February 12, 2012

Looks like Linden Lab has changed their ToS/Privacy Policy. Without warning. Again. This one raises a couple of questions, too. When you login now, you get presented with this little window:


So, here's the first thing I noticed. Yesterday I checked out the new Firestorm release and did not get that window. I only heard about this new policy this morning when I dropped in to InWorldz for my morning coffee, so I checked it out with Imprudence, which is when I got that window. So, why didn't it show up with Firestorm? Looks like the developers at Firestorm have simply complied with Linden Lab's new policy. Without informing us, the users.

There's something else about that policy that is setting off the alarm bells in my head. Its the quotes around the words 'statistics packet'. People tend use that to mean its like something, but isn't actually that something. That is, its sort of like a statistics packet, but it isn't an actual statistics packet. So, what is it? And how large is that packet? If you pay by bandwidth usage, sending that info every 5 minutes could add up to a hefty increase in your ISP bill.

And then there's the fact that the window names only Imprudence, which seems to me that LL is targeting viewers that aren't wholly oriented on SL, the way Firestorm is. The Phoenix/Firestorm developers have said in the past that SL is their focus, that OpenSim is secondary.

And there's no opt out. Its comply or don't enter. And if you choose not to, then you will have to abandon everything you have in SL.

Its likely safe to go ahead and comply, but still, in this world of "the information you give us belongs to us" attitude, this is one more thing to be aware of. And what about those people who don't get the heads-up? Shouldn't they be informed?

This is just more of Linden lab's attitude towards its users. High prices, lack of service, buggy upgrades and no-choice compliance.

"Resistance is futile"


Let Loose The Hounds of War

February 10, 2012

As a Virtual World owner-to-be, I think about things like the future of my VW and about the metaverse as a whole. I can't help it. After all, without the metaverse I wouldn't be able to build Excelsior Station to begin with. So, the future and success of the metaverse is something I think about.

And it is my thought that adoption by the average person is a huge factor in that future. And I don't mean those of us setting up the VWs. I am talking about the people who visit. The shoppers and gawkers, the gamers and players, the talkers and dancers. All the different people that enjoy virtual worlds but aren't interested in owning one. The non-geek.

Then I look at those other virtual worlds out there, the VWs that are already commonly accepted by the average person. The MMO games. World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Call of Duty and hundreds more. I think what makes them a good model here is the fact that they are all set-up the same way that our VWs are when it comes to the software, with server-side and client-side software that interact over the Internet.

And the most popular MMOs out there involve combat and role-play.

I don't have the interest in educating or researching or profit making, I'm in this for the enjoyment. And, it seems to me, that those big MMO's are providing a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people. Not to mention making tons of money. And that's where I differ from those MMOs. They are providing enjoyment for the purpose of making money. My theory is that you can provide the enjoyment for the sake of the enjoyment, and the money will follow. At least, enough to keep the doors open.

But this article isn't about money. Its not even about enjoyment except as how it relates to gaining acceptance by the masses. And, while I enjoy the social aspects of the metaverse, I do enjoy a good bit of combat. And so do millions of others, given the success of those MMOs.

So, let's make it official, Excelsior Station will be supporting RolePlay and Combat.

I also want to organize a network of virtual worlds that will also support RP-Combat, and will connect using HyperGrid/InterWorld. To set up some sort of guidelines, work on a commonly accepted combat system, and more. I already have ideas on this and will present them in future articles. For now, I just want to put that out there for discussion and brain-storming.

To get things started, I recently came across an Open Sourced combat system called Myriad RPG []. I found it on the SL Wiki, of all places. I had already begun work on a system of my own, but, to be honest, Myriad is better work. The Myriad RPG System was designed and written Ashok Desai and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England and Wales. The scripts, which comprise the The Myriad Lite software, are under Copyright (c) 2011 by Allen Kerensky (OSG/SL). The Myriad RPG System has an adventure/quest system as well, named the Baroun's Adventure Machine, copyright (c) 2008-2011 by Baroun Tardis (SL). Myriad Lite and Baroun's Adventure Machine licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike-Non-Commercial 3.0 Unported.

Frankly, this is a huge start. It includes HUD, meter, melee, firearm, armour, healing, targets and a bit more. Not as object, but the scripts themselves. I am adding pages for those scripts and will be contacting Ashok Desai and Baroun Tardis to see if they are still working on Myriad. In the meantime, here's a system that can be used everywhere. One that can be improved upon and developed further. I would like to see some sort of resource use included, like mining ore and cutting wood. And also to include vehicles and artillery within the same system. One HUD, one meter, all scenarios.

And yes, they are continuing work on the scripts with a version 5 now available in SL and on OSGrid. I'll post those as soon as I get them.

To the Myriad RPG Scripts


Station Status Report: February 3, 2012

Well, as I've said, I've been trying to keep up with things and I've been working away at getting the region and builds for Excelsior Station ready to go public, which is pretty much complete. maybe future residents will complete that on their own. I've also begun working on some starships, which I will be putting out there as IARs. I'm waiting on a response to an email earlier today about hosting services based in Ontario. One of those 'friend-of-a-friend' things. I think the corporate bigwigs call it 'networking'.

I'm using the Jan 8th release of AurorSim from their github repository. Excelsior Station is still setup as a stand-alone, though I am planning on trying my hand at gridding it., but using my local address for everything. I expect to be able to add a 2nd, perhaps even a 3rd, computer to my setup here at home within a couple of months. That will also depend on what is the best hosting solution for me.

Through my involvement with a couple of local community organisations, I met a local Community Advocate who sounded interested in the IP Protection and Copyright laws. Being a privately owned, non-commercial setup, I likely will not need any legal representation. But, to ignore the fact that there are copyright trolls and system abusers, its nice to know that there is someone local I can go to get the proper information from. Besides, Excelsior Station may just grow into something that requires incorporating and such, which would also affect how the laws are applied.

Speaking of which, under Canadian law, web hosts, content providers, etc are automatically granted safe harbour status. This includes virtual worlds in that we host and provide content. What Canada does not have is a Notice and Takedown system. Despite that, I plan on honouring any lawfully issued Notices. No promise on that, yet. I want to talk it over with the local advocate, first. I hope to get him to act as agent.

I'm using Imprudence 1.4.0 beta 2 (Sep 8 2011 17:16:46) with the graphics set at High with a bit of tweaking down. This is best for building. There is some lag, mostly with slow texture loading. Here are the system stats:

CPU: AMD Athlon LE-1620 Single Core Processor at 2712.33 MHz
SSE Support: SSE2
Memory: 3070 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 6001)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce 9500 GT/PCI/SSE2/3DNOW!
Windows Graphics Driver Version:
OpenGL Version: 3.3.0

Viewer SSE Version: SSE2
libcurl Version: libcurl/7.18.1 OpenSSL/0.9.8j zlib/1.2.3
J2C Decoder Version: OpenJPEG:, Runtime:
Audio Driver Version: OpenAL, version 1.1 ALSOFT 1.13 / OpenAL Community / OpenAL Soft: DirectSound Default
Qt Webkit Version: 4.6 (version number hard-coded)
Packets Lost: 0/20819 (0.0%)

Excelsior Station is a single region of 1,024 meters by 1,024 meters. It now has 70,502 prims on it and 3,447 active scripts. My current system is at its limits, but over all, not bad for a single core system that is also running Imp as well as the sim.


I'm Ba-aaack …

January 13, 2012

Thanks to everyone for their patience. I've dealt with almost everything that was screwed up over the holidays. It was one of those times when everything was going bad. And apologies to anyone I've offended, I was expressing some anger that ended up being misdirected. And due to an incorrect diagnosis.

Anyway, I'm back and will be carrying on as if nothing happened :-)

And I've been working away on Excelsior Station. The major structures are complete and I have only to script some doors and do a bit of re-texturing, too. I've also put together an Aurora version of Sim-on-a-Stick which I will be sending off to Ener with the hope that she adds it to her own site, making both available. (update: gmail is acting a bit funky and not allowing me to send her the file. I'll work out an alternative way of making the file available asap)

Plans to go public are still truckin' along and should be complete in another month or so. Not only that, but while I was away, I was offered an opportunity to discuss a local solution to hosting, so I have to follow that up first.

Hope everyone had good holidays and have a happy Friday the 13th.


Taking a Break

November 7, 2011

I have decided to take some time away to deal with health and other personal issues.

Support Creative Commons

October 25, 2011

Today kicks off Creative Commons' annual fundraiser. This is one of the groups that help to keep open source open. There's a button on the left side menu that will take you to their site where you can read the announcement and donate.

More Goodies!

October 25, 2011

Two of my favourite sites for content have been busy since I first posted about them. That's OpenSim Creations and Linda Kellie. Both of them are well worth checking on a regular basis.

At both sites you will find builds, textures, clothes, terrains, OARs and more. This time, though, I was very pleasantly surprised at what I found at Linda's site. Three more OAR files, which will be a big help with completing Excelsior Station. I'll post later on how to load OpenSim based OAR files to an AuroraSim grid.

Even better, though, she's posted a link to a sculpty site!

Check out Phaze Demesnes, my fellow gridlings, tons of sculpts there, all free to use. I've not had a chance to really take a look around, but a quick scan has shown me enough to add this one to the Content Providers page.



October 11, 2011

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Nothing in life is free except air and weather. The same is true when you are running a grid. And that is something that you must work out when you begin to consider opening your grid to the public. And its a crucial consideration when trying to decide to host from your home or from a hosting service provider.

When you look at the costs of running your grid from your home, you have to understand that its not free. First, you need a system that you can dedicate to keeping your grid up and running 24/7/365. Let's face it, you want people to enjoy their visits and if your hardware isn't up to it, they are going to deal with all sorts of things, most especially, lag. And a poor experience on their part will have long term repercussions on your reputation. So, you are going to need a system that can handle things.

My home system is a single core processor running at 2.6Ghz with 3Gb of RAM. I have two 150Gb harddrives installed with the 2nd one dedicated to data storage. My graphics card is a nVidia 9500GT with 1Gb RAM. It does very well for me, but I don't have any faith in it being to handle more than just me. And a new system really isn't all that costly. Tiger Direct has a six core desktop for sale for $803, though you'll also have to pay shipping and handling. Add a low cost monitor for $100, bring your RAM up to 16Gb for $60, a 2Tb harddrive for backups at $80 and you are looking at $1,200. Not bad, is it?

And then there's your ISP and the level of service you need. Its pretty hard to work out how much dataflow you will have once your grid is online. If nobody is visiting, then the data that goes back and forth is at its minimum. But how much dataflow is there when someone does visit? Initially, that looks like something that is impossible to determine unless your grid is online to measure it.

And then I realized that the dataflow is in two directions. And I have a way of measuring how much data passes from grid to person and back. My ISP tracks my data usage and I can get that information. And I am also a regular visitor to InWorldz where I have an armaments business, Excelsior Armaments. Bottom line, when I visit InWorldz, I use approximately 50Mb of dataflow per hour. That gives me something on which to base my estimates on.

Okay, I know Excelsior Station is not going to have people there every second of every day, but an over estimate is much better than an under estimate. So, 50Mb/hour comes to 1.2Gb/day. And that all works out to 36Gb/month. Now comes the hard part. That 36Gb/month would happen if someone was present every second of every day every month. And there is no way Excelsior Station will be that popular right away. That kind of popularity takes time to build up. But, there will be some visitors. So, how often will there be someone visiting? Is 2 hours a day realistic? I think so. That basically means that I am estimating that there will be a visitor about 10% of the time to begin with. And that means 3.6Gb/month of dataflow. And that's on top of my normal 'Net activities. My ISP charge $70/month for 3-5Gb of usage.

So, quick recap, $1,200 for the hardware and an estimated $70/month for ISP charges. But, that's not all. A computer uses electricity, after all, and that is another cost you have to factor in.

Ener Hax at hosts Enclave Harbour from her own system. Recently, she wrote a piece on how much energy her PC uses. Her hardware has a 500 watt power supply while mine is 250. That six core I mentioned above has a 700 watt power supply. Ener's article, though, gives you a very good idea of what you can expect. For estimating purposes, I am going to multiply Ener's number by 1.5 to reflect the cost of a running a 750 watt system. Like I said, its better to over estimate than to under estimate. Her results come to $585.31/year. Which, for my estimate becomes $877.65 per year. Or $73.16 per month. And don't forget, the cost of electricity where you live will be different form where Ener lives which is different from where I live. But what the hell, its only a rough estimate at this point. IN fact, I'm going add just a little to make things easier and call it $75/month for electricity.

So, here's where we are at. Hardware, ISP charges and the cost of electricity. It all comes to $1,200 for the initial outlay for hardware and then another $145/month to keep it running and online. Those numbers will be different for you, but not by much.

And that monthly estimate gives me something to use when I go looking into hiring a hosting service. More on that at a later time.


On Purpose

October 1, 2011

Its been a busy time lately. The port town of Excelsior Station is working out nicely, though there is still a lot to do. I have also found my thoughts turning to the question of "Why do this?" Obviously I enjoy working on Excelsior Station, and that is justification enough. Its fun.

But its also a lot of work. I mean, when you're setting up a virtual world to become public, there's a lot to deal with. Self-host or hosting service? Liabilities and lawsuits. Costs. Rules. Theme. And then the time to build the starting world, like a Welcome Centre, terrain mapping, settings.

Which comes to the purpose. Why do this? What will Excelsior Station be used for? Which also leads to thinking on how to get people interested enough that they want to come and visit, perhaps even stay. I see and read of all those other grids doing great things in education, schools are setting up their own virtual worlds, Enclave Harbour runs virtual field trips for classes and there's one place that uses OpenSim to train paramedics. Businesses are using OpenSim to hold virtual conferences and meetings, trade fairs.

But I'm neither an educator nor a business. I'm just some guy with a lot of time on his hands, a great interest in technology and a lot of enthusiasm for virtual worlds. I'm also a long time gamer, though not much online. And it seems to me, in a purely subjective assumption, that people generally visit a grid because of its social atmosphere. They enjoy it. They have fun. There's a helluva lot of stress out there, so people visit their favourite virtual world to relax.

I look at all the popular virtual worlds out there, including the corporate generated MMOs, like WoW and EVE. I look at Minecraft and Farmville. People like action, they like building and they like sexy. Well, the building is inherent to how the virtual worlds of our metaverse work, in that anyone can build anything they want. And sexy is in the eye of the beholder, so that, too, I can leave up to people to decide for themselves. Besides, I look terrible on a dance pole.

And so I am left with action. To me, that means combat and fast cars. Actually, all vehicles and vessels. I enjoyed driving the roads in SL. If Excelsior Station does grow, I'll be keeping roadways in mind. I also enjoy some of the roleplay, especially sci-fi. And science fiction is a pretty popular genre. So, science fiction, combat, vehicles for the "theme". And so, I went with Excelsior Station being a colony on a small world somewhere out there.

Being a small colony, its also a bit … rough. Downright lawless, in fact. Its a water world, where the only dry land is due to the ancient eruptions of a long dead volcano. Its an old world, much of the nutrients have been depleted and the biosphere has collapsed down to just a handful of species still surviving and the land itself is arid and desert-like. A small starport and port town, abandoned. Now owned by a single person and thrown open to all comers.

And there we have it. This is how Excelsior Station will begin.

Just An Update

September 17, 2011

So, here's where Excelsior Station is at.

The Landing Apron, Docking Tower and Stores are built. A very small Port Town is still being built, but thanks to Linda Kellie, that will soon see a quite a bit of progress. I'm running it on the Sept 7th github compiled source code Aurora0.3-1258-g6e01b22.

I'm going to take the opportunity to give a huge thank you to Linda for making her OAR file available. I got it when HyperGrid Business wrote about it here, but it was only recently that I had the opportunity to load it and check it out. Folks, its great!

I loaded it as a separate 256x256 region. She's included things for avatars

textures and sculpties

scattered about the sim are samplings of poses and scripts, furnishings. All in all, a good sampling of everything a new user may need. And that's not all. There's a tutorial display on how to build.

In fact, the OAR is a complete Welcome Centre.

Thank you, Linda

But, if you've been following along, gridlings, Excelsior Station is a colony world, rough and arid. So I will be making some changes to it, incorporating Linda's work into Excelsior Station. I'll be shifting things around, maybe doing a bit of resizing, re-texturing. And I'll be building the Linda Kellie Welcome Centre. Work like hers should be recognized and acredited. And that is where all new accounts will arrive. And gridhoppers, too, if Excelsior Station can get HyperGridded.

I'm still working out whether to go with a hosting company or set up here at home. Ener wrote a great piece about how much electricity her set up costs. That's the subject of another article, something along the lines of estimating costs versus rewards. New Voice looks good. Again, I found it through HyperGrid Business.

I've been looking at the hosting rates at New Voice, which also hosts Nova Grid and is owned by one of the developers of AuroraSim. Pretty handy since I want to run Excelsior Station using Aurora. It would also mean that I do not need to purchase a separate system to host the Station.

If I choose to run Excelsior Station form here, at home, the hardware will be getting a huge upgrade. Currently, I have a single core processor with 3Gb of RAM. I will be looking to replace that with a hex-core and 32Gb RAM, though I'll settle for a quad-core and 16Gb. That is in addition to the same as my personal system.

AuroraSim is HyperGrid capable but whether that will be available, I don't know yet. AuroraSim has its own intergrid travel system called InterWorld Connection. Again, whether I enable it or not, I have not decided. I want to have both and I might be able to, but there is the issue of IP protection.

For myself and what I have used in building Excelsior Station, everything that I have not created is freely available through those listed on the content providers page. And that also relates to what I want to set up Excelsior Station as.

Public, definitely. And non-commercial to start with. And that's an option I will keep open for the future, just in case things go really well. And do I want to allow others to connect their regions to the Station? Do I want to "sell" land? What about a ToS? Costs? WebUI?

All questions still to be worked out.

A Call For Regulation of Grid Operators

September 11, 2011

"Minimum Requirements “in the interest” of Bona Fide Grid Operators are:

1. Compliance with DMCA Safe Harbor requirements, No Vendor Lock-in

2. Due diligent “Offer and Accept” Contract Capability,

3. Warranted and due diligent compliance with Consumer Protection regulations, like those preventing Deceptive Advertising and those protecting e-Commerce & Telemedia regulations,

4. Implementation of Quality Management, ISO 9001:2008 and CMMI capability maturity appraisal levels. "

This is the call for regulation made by Eurominuteman. He has been saying this in a few places, Ener's blog and HyperGrid Business, for example. Besides some comments he's made that I found to be rude, this call of his started a debate between him and I. You can read it in detail at [].

Whether you call it a debate, heated discussion, argument or fight is immaterial. What matters is that it brought forward some issues that a grid operator needs to know about. Issues relating to any need to regulate grid operators. And so I will present my views on these matters as a continuation of that debate and I invite you all to continue it in the forum.

First, Euro has stated "My area is Consumer Protection as industrial engineer, call it Whistleblowing if you like. " That is all I know about his expertise in this area. Eurominuteman's position is that to be regarded as a legitimate and honest, or "bona fide", grid operator, you must comply with the four requirements as stated above. My own is ten years working as a researcher in a community advocacy office and over 25 as a social activist. I take the position that his demands are flawed, unenforceable and/or unnecessary.

Let's start at the beginning. What is a "Bona Fide Grid Operator"? Well a grid operator is obvious. Its a person, corporation or other entity that is running a grid. But what about "bona fide"? Euro would post a link to the Wikipedia definition. I, however, prefer a more authoritative source. Black's Law Dictionary.

"Bona Fide. In or with good faith; honestly, openly, sincerely; without deceit or fraud." So, according to Euro, to be considered as someone who operates a grid with honesty and integrity, you must meet those four qualifications that he has set out.

"1. Compliance with DMCA Safe Harbor requirements, No Vendor Lock-in"

This is actually two qualifiers. One that demands compliance with the DMCA and the other that demands the banning of vendor lock-in. Yes, he states compliance with the DMCA safe harbour provision, but you cannot pick and choose which part of a piece of legislation you comply with. In other words, to qualify as a DMCA safe harbour you have to comply with the DMCA as a whole.

And that's the first flaw. The metaverse is international, but the DMCA is US. If your grid is not based in the US and you comply with the DMCA, you MIGHT end up violating the IP protection laws of your country. To determine who has jurisdiction you have to know where the grid owner's headquarters are. Second Life is in the US, so US law has jurisdiction. Avination is in the UK so the United Kingdom has jurisdiction. Excelsior Station is Canadian, so its Canadian law that has jurisdiction. In other words, non-US based grids do not come under the rule of the DMCA.

As for banning vendor lock-in, Wikipedia describes it as being "In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs. Lock-in costs which create barriers to market entry may result in antitrust action against a monopoly." It then goes on to list some examples as well as a variety of companies that practice vendor lock-in, such as Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, Apple and more. []. While Euro's demand for DMCA compliance is flawed, his demand to ban vendor lock-in is something I can agree with.

"2. Due diligent “Offer and Accept” Contract Capability"

Euro links to the Wikipedia entry on this, which states "Offer and acceptance analysis is a traditional approach in contract law used to determine whether an agreement exists between two parties. Agreement consists of an offer by an indication of one person (the "offeror") to another (the "offeree") of the offeror's willingness to enter into a contract on certain terms without further negotiations. A contract is said to come into existence when acceptance of an offer (agreement to the terms in it) has been communicated to the offeror by the offeree and there has been consideration bargained-for induced by promises or a promise and performance.

The offer and acceptance formula, developed in the 19th century, identifies a moment of formation when the parties are of one mind. This classical approach to contract formation has been weakened by developments in the law of estoppel, misleading conduct, misrepresentation and unjust enrichment." []

This means that a grid operator should make and accept honest offers without any misrepresentation or other dishonest practice. This qualifier then becomes redundant. If a grid operator is a bona fide operator, then their offers and acceptances will be honest. When a contract has been dishonestly offered or accepted, then there are courts in which to seek remedies. There is no need for any further regulation.

"3. Warranted and due diligent compliance with Consumer Protection regulations, like those preventing Deceptive Advertising and those protecting e-Commerce & Telemedia regulations"

The flaw here isn't so much about protecting consumers as it is about jurisdiction. As with IP protection law, consumer protection law is different from country to country. Some countries don't even have such laws. Others are so corrupt as to be consumer predators themselves. And again, this is unenforceable due to those varied jurisdictions. How do you hold a China based grid accountable if you live in the US? How do I hold a US based grid accountable since I am in Canada?

"4. Implementation of Quality Management, ISO 9001:2008 and CMMI capability maturity appraisal levels"

To start with, the ISO is the International Organization for Standardization [].
They have the simple statement "International Standards for Business, Government and Society". I have no idea if they are the people who determine what a kilogram is or if this is a non-profit that fights for certain standard practices or a for profit consulting group. However, when googling the whole line as stated in 4., the website for the Integration Technologies Group, Inc. comes up. [] They have the tag line "Enabling our clients with a decisive, high quality, technology advantage…". Another bit of info it provides is the fact that the ISO "is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards". Just to point out, that means its not the only one.

In short, item 4 calls for specific certifications from the ISO. Which likely means fees. Fees that corporations can afford, but not individuals of middle income levels. Which would mean that someone like myself could never qualify as a "Bona Fide Grid Operator". Not because of any lack of integrity on my part, but because of a lack of dollar bills in my wallet.

Is this what we need in the Metaverse? Regulations and the bureaucracies that go with them? Bureaucracies that are open to nepotism, favouritism and financial pandering? Fees that put grid operation out of reach of the average person? Fees that make corruption and bribery a real possibility? Flawed legislation and conflicting jurisdictions that would leave honest people in violation of the law? Who would enforce the regulations? What would be the cost to enforce them?

My position is that we need to fix the laws that are already on the books. The DMCA is widely used in the metaverse due to the fact that most grids are based in the US. However, the DMCA is flawed. In fact, it flies in the face of commonly held principles of jurisprudence. Specifically, the right to face your accuser and the right to discovery of evidence.

Currently, under the DMCA, anyone can anonymously accuse you of IP infringement, resulting in the removal, or "take down", of your content. There is no review, no presentation of evidence, just the accusation. If you choose to dispute the accusation, your real life information is passed on to the accuser. But the reverse is not true. After that, it takes lawyers to proceed. This has to be changed. I say, if a person is going to accuse someone of IP infringement, they have to register at a court, with enough of a review to ensure that the accusation is neither frivolous nor vexatious. The court informs the grid, which performs the take down and gives the accused the contact information for the court. This is a procedure that can be adopted in all jurisdictions and does not call for any new regulations It would also put a leash on vindictive DMCA trolls.

As for the rest, nobody can legislate honesty or integrity. You can only legislate remedies and punishments. And such legislation is already in place. If you enter into a contract that was presented to you under false pretences, then you can sue for both damages and punitive awards. And one thing to keep in mind, every grid I have been to goes by the rule of caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

You cannot legislate quality management practices. As an example, think about landlords. There are a lot of good ones out there. They provide clean, well maintained, safe housing for their tenants, buildings that are managed by diligent and caring people. And then there's the slumlords. They operate within the law. Yet their buildings are dirty and vermin infested with managers that rule by force of violence and intimidation. When it comes to any business, if you could legislate quality management practices, then many, many real world businesses would have to shut their doors.

We live in a real world that is full of regulations. Do we need a virtual one like that, too?

When it comes to my integrity and honesty, I have no need for some suit in an office to decide that. I will leave that appraisal to my peers, other grid operators and users.

A Gridling's Thoughts

Aug 26, 2011

A Gridling is my own term for all of us out there exploring and building the multiverse. Gridhopper is a good term , too, but not everybody is actively HyperGating to different grids. And is a gridhopper someone with accounts on differentt grids rather than HGing? (I've got a Sarge Misfit on a few myself).

My thought is that a Gridling is anyone actively involved on at least one grid. By actively, I mean they keep returning. There are a few out there that visit one or more grids and then decide its not for them. They'll be back, most likely, but not until the multiverse becomes better known.

A Gridling can be of any species, any gender. I really enjoy the diversity and creativity of people. The multiverse transends bigotry, though we do have bigots out there. But I have seen over the past couple of years how people are stepping up to the plate, speaking out, saying no, becoming more active in curing that sort of hate. Take a look at Egypt, Libya, Syria at how such speaking out coupled with the Internet has such profound effects on the RL world around us.


Enjoying an Evening at Excelsior Station

Big Changes Are Coming

August 18, 2011

I'm about to rebuild Excelsior Station. With AuroraSim 0.4.2 we now have something called infinite regions. Very simply, if you are on a region that has infinite region enabled, you can travel over the no-av's-land that exists between unconnected regions to any other region on the grid. If the region you arrive at is also infinite, then you can travel back. If its not, well, you can always TP. Now, this by itself would not be reason enough to export Excelsior Station but what is reason enough is that I found out how to transfer my terrain from my original SoaS build to this one. In other words, no more flat desert abruptly ending at water. At the same time, I am going to increase the region size to 2048m by 2048m. That will give me more than enough room to place the buildings for the port's town.

But, before I do that, I thought this would be a good time to check performance. I am running an AMD Athlon LE-1620 Single Core at 2712 MHz. It has 3070 MB of RAM. My OS is Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 6001) and my graphics is a nVidia GeForce 9500 GT/PCI/SSE2/3DNOW!. All of the drivers and software are current and up to date as of last week. What I did was I rezzed some vehicles and a BBQ, took a coalesced copy and rezzed more. Here's a quick pic of the end result:
Those vehicles are from Nebadon's OKC Racer Kit, which I got at OpenSim Creations. With those rezzed, there were 42,759 prims and 1,008 scripts on the region. The scripts include sound, animated flame textures, colour palette, linked-prim communicators, prim parameter changers and more. To test the lag, I simply walked.

And experienced absolutely no lag.

With that, I am off to export the starport and then apply the terrain. Here's a hint, I found the info at Mattos World. But he shuts down his site when he goes to bed, so I will post the info here, too.

Progress of Excelsior Station

August 15, 2011

Well, I've continued to build the Station and got completely lost in the build. I started at about 9:00 this morning and the next thing I knew, the starport was complete and it was after 6:00 PM. And its looking pretty damned good, if I say so myself. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's 4,000 worth.

This is the starport looking roughly northeast -

Its big, too. Not counting those entrance extensions, the area is approximately 350m by 350m. Here's another angle, looking towards the north west -

That silvery metal structure is the main docking port. You can see The Plated Rat docked there. The Plated Rat is built by Daniel H and you can download it at OpenSim Creations. The docking structure is a mix of Stations Alpha, Beta and Gamma by EDTHARAN and, again, you can download them at OpenSim Creations. I did make some modification to get them all to connect, but it all worked out very well. The open area is for ship building and maintenance, or for ships that do not have compatible airlocks. You can see the partial builds for two ships I am (sort of) working on.

And, of course, I had to get a sunrise shot -

And a sunset -
By the way, underneath the starport is a huge area that is ideal for storage, workshops, squatters, ambushes, but I'm not going to show you those. I have to leave something for your imagination. I will tell you something about just how big it is.

I tried taking a shortcut and got lost!!

Next is the town. After all, what port doesn't have a town? I'll post on that once I get started on it.

What's in a Name?

August 14, 2011

Ener Hax at iliveinsl has written a short article informing us of the Tor Project, which you can use to keep yourself anonymous online. The Tor project is supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and, together, they have created a FireFox extension called HTTPS Everywhere, which you can use to encrypt your searching.

There's a lot going on about real names versus anonymous user names, generally called the Nymwars. FaceBook and Google+ demand that you use your "real" name to use their services. If you've been paying attention, you already know the positions taken by both sides. On the one hand, demanding the use of real names means that people cannot hide behind user names to grief, bully and generally talk nasty to others. In fact, according to Randi Zuckerberg, anonymity should not be allowed at all on the Internet. In a discussion hosted by Marie Claire magazine and posted at EFF, Zuckerberg said,"I think anonymity on the Internet has to go away. People behave a lot better when they have their real names down. … I think people hide behind anonymity and they feel like they can say whatever they want behind closed doors." You remember Randi, don't you? He's the guy who has become very rich selling information about FaceBook users to corporations and marketing agencies so they can more accurately target their spam at you. Of course he wants anonymity to be banned.

And then there is the other hand. The one that says that we need anonymity. Here the points are protection for whistleblowers and activists. And protection from stalkers. Very good points, to my mind. Yes, I am a supporter of anonymity on the Internet. A good friend of mine was raped. She refuses to use FB and G+ because she cannot be anonymous. So, she misses out on those social networks. Consider what would be going on in Egypt and Syria if there had been no anonymity. To quote EFF, the real-names-enforces-civility argument that Zuckerberg espouses "willfully ignores the many voices that are silenced in the name of shutting up trolls: activists living under authoritarian regimes, whistleblowers, victims of violence, abuse, and harassment, and anyone with an unpopular or dissenting point of view that can legitimately expect to be imprisoned, beat-up, or harassed for speaking out. " I don't know about you, but I can and will put up with rude behaviour in favour of protecting others from physical violence and retaliation.

Btw, celebrities are exempt from the real names policy on G+. Which brings up another point. Just what is a real name? Is it the name on your birth certificate, or the name you live by? I have been known as Sarge for about 40 years. My friends call me Sarge. The staff at my favourite restaurants call me Sarge. Everyone at the pub, my bank, my doctors all call me Sarge. In fact, the only times I use my birth name is when I deal with the government and when I open a bank account, which was eight years ago.

The real names policy is why I do not have FB or G+ accounts. Its also why I do not include those little buttons here. Yes, you can see them at the top of the page, but those are put there by WikiDot, not me. And they will be removed if I have the choice.

Sim, sim, which sim for Pim

August 12, 2011

Okay, so first of all, there's no Pim involved here, other than to create a title that sounds good.

If you've been reading things here, you know that I like both AuroraSim and OpenSim. They both have their pluses and they both have their minuses. So, I thought that a little about my experiences with each might help you to make up your mind about which one to run.

For my stand-alone, I tend to favour AuroraSim. Over the last few months, I've been experimenting with both building Excelsior Station. The reason I think AuroraSim has a bit of an edge over OpenSim is that AuroraSim uses my computer's resources more efficiently. However, as I approach the time when I will open Excelsior Station to the public, other considerations come into play.

When I was "exiled" outworld because of ISP problems, I was left with only a stand-alone to use. I have access to other computers, so I can download files and the problems I had here with my exISP were not so severe as to keep me from staying in touch and up to date, I just wasn't able to get inworld anywhere. Having discovered both SoaS and Aurora just before the troubles began, I had copies of both. And I was able to keep them up to date.

I started with SoaS, since everything was already pre-configured, most especially, MySQL. Another plus is that the Diva Distro that is included has a WebUI already setup, too. I learned quite a bit, like adding and removing regions, applying terrains maps, importing and exporting XMLs, IARs and OARs, using SoaS.

It wasn't long before I had mine setup as a 4 region by 4 region mega, giving me 1,024m along a side. And the map looked great! Unfortunately, my OpenSim version of Excelsior Station was one of the folders damaged during the DRM crap I just waded through. A let down, but I can recreate it with relative ease. And my AuroraSim version is okay, so I can IAR my inventory over to OpenSim in the future.

Now, here's where some of the minuses occur. Applying terrain maps is relatively easy and done using the console. But, adjusting terrain textures, water depth and all takes a bit of work. You have to disable the contiguous regions setting first, then go inworld, mod each region one by one, exit and then enable the contiguous region setting again. And its very hard to terraform away the edges at the region boundaries. Once done though, it looked pretty good.

Time to build. Excelsior Station is a very big build. Its current Aurora incarnation is over 37,000 prims. I never reached that with the OpenSim version. Once I started getting past 20,000, lag increased dramatically. Yes, I had some scripts running, but just less than 100. Fire, pose ball, 3 vehicles, some doors. I never made it to 22,000 prims because the lag brought me to a virtual standstill. Pretty easy to understand, too, as my system is NQPE. Not Quite Powerful Enough. Here's the stats:

CPU: AMD Athlon LE-1620 single core processor (2712.34 MHz)
SSE Support: SSE2
Memory: 3070 MB
OS Version: Microsoft Windows Vista 32-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 6001)
Graphics Card Vendor: NVIDIA Corporation
Graphics Card: GeForce 9500 GT/PCI/SSE2/3DNOW!
Windows Graphics Driver Version: 7.15.0011.7779
OpenGL Version: 2.1.2

As you can see, the crucial bit is that its a single core. Still, a square kilometer grid with 20,000+ prims isn't that bad, is it?

Anyway, I decided to see how AuroraSim would perform.

As I said earlier, it did do better. 37,000+ prims with no lag, though also no scripts running, either. However, a big problem was the terrain. AuroraSim apparently does not like RAW files. And handles .r32 poorly on anything over the default 256x256. There is also a problem with how Imprudence "sees" the water. On any region over the default dimensions, the water surface only goes to 640x640. The rest is just blank out to 1024x1024. Submerged is fine, but fly up over the surface and its just that pale blue default blank. Easy work around, just make the whole thing one solid landmass, which is how I came to develop a desert world. Unfortunately, once you get to the edge of the region, you've got the default water and no "natural" shoreline. Not a big problem for my own private stand-alone, but if people are going to come visiting, I want the place looking right.

I did try the same vehicles I had in my OpenSim version in AuroraSim, by the way. As well as fire and poseball and doors. All worked great. The vehicles behave better than in OpenSim, too. All of the scripts seemed to work just a bit better than in OpenSim.

So, which Sim to go with? Since I want to have Excelsior Station used for combat and vehicle development, added to the efficiency of the coding, then AuroraSim seems the better choice. However, the WebUI and popularity of OpenSim are also huge factors. And one more thing to be considered. Adoption of code. I am confident that the developers of OpenSim recognize code that works better and that they will likely add some of the AuroraSim code to OpenSim.

While I still have time in which to make up my mind, that may be the deciding factor. That the features of AuroraSim that I like may be added to OpenSim. Time will tell

As for you and your own grid, I hope this helps.


August 12, 2011

So, being an ex-con and an ex-junkie, you can imagine that my life has been pretty much a lemon. Its been rough. Poverty, homelessness, violence, illness, well, you can imagine. But, at some point, I heard that saying "When Life hands you a lemon, make lemonade". I did that and managed to turn things around for myself. I'm no angel, but I don't commit crimes and I don't do drugs (well, other than a bit of medicinal). But, this isn't about my life story, just giving you a bit of background.

Dealing with this PACE anti-piracy crap has certainly been a lemonade. I kept on having problems with my 2nd harddrive since I got rid of it (PACE, that is). My system kept running chkdsk at startup, kept repairing file indexes and more. It seemed that whenever my system tried to access D: drive, it would "disappear" and my system would lock up. Yep, definitely a lemon.

So, I made a bit of lemonade. Whether I could have tracked down and repaired things or not, I'll never know. This was just simply too frustrating. So, I've wiped my system and re-installed. And that's the lemonade. I took the time to go through my folders and files and got rid of a lot of old junk. Software I know longer use is gone with one re-partitioning.

Its kind of like having a brand new machine all over again. Even down to installing all 133 149 Windows and Micro$oft updates. *laughs*

Removing PACE Anti-piracy

August 11, 2011

There are a few places online that describe how to remove the PACE Anti-piracy drivers from your system. I used Google and set the search to removing pace anti-piracy. 218,000 results, but we all know that most of that is unrelated. The company's official information showed up, of course, so I checked that out first.

"To uninstall our drivers on Windows, use the "Add or Remove Program" feature found in the Windows 'Control Panel' and select "InterLok Driver Kit". The Windows 'Control Panel' can be accessed from the "Start button > Settings". Understand that on a Windows system, a reboot after the uninstall will be necessary to finalize the uninstall process. If this option is not available, you may optionally download and run the latest version of the "InterLok driver installer" and choose the "uninstall" option.

To uninstall our extensions for Macintosh, download the extensions installer for the proper operating system version, open the archive, run the script titled "uninstall_extensions.command", and then follow the provided instructions. Note that when entering your password when asked, no keystrokes will be reflected on the screen. This is normal and is intended as a security measure."

Unfortunately, neither PACE nor Interlok showed up in my Control Panel when I first looked to get rid of this Digital Rights Malware. I then ran regedit to search for any registry keys for the Interlok drivers that the PACE info mentions. Absolutely nothing. So, what does this mean? It means that in my manual removal of PACE and Unity also removed the Interlok drivers, or they were not installed in the first place. In the second case, it makes the offical info useless.

I then looked in other forums and blogs, using Google with the search key words set to removing pace anti-piracy.

I am not the only one to have problems with this piece of crap Digital Rights Malware. According to Pete at "What I found was that Pace installs so much garbage and hides files all over the system that it behaves like a nasty virus. It creates directories and files with seemingly random names. It puts files in directories that have nothing to do with the program itself. It makes bogus registry entries all over the place. … What I do have a problem with is a program concealing itself, acting like files it has written to the drive belong to another program, making changes all over the place that it will never uninstall, and making changes to my machine that act way too much like a virus."

There's a forum post at where people are talking about the depth of PACE's intrusions. "Spent 2.5 hrs going through the reg files & finally killed them off {Wish I had remembered each & every action} So, I don't need their uninstaller. I'm amazed @ the products tied to this dang thing and I do have a slight glitch I'll have to fix, due to deleting the blasted PACE entries. An uninstaller should be provided.", "Problems known to be related to PACE:

  • Inaccessible floppy drives. This could also apply to any other device using IRQ 6.
  • BSOD on shutdown or start up with "DRIVER_POWER_STATE_ERROR". This is related to the above.
  • Spontaneous reboots.
  • Corrupt registry entries (could be related to spontaneous reboots if Windows is writing to the registry when this occurs.)
  • Missing (not zero-byte, but none) paging file (swapfile.)
  • Inaccessible boot device."

There's more, but you get the idea. If you want, you can look into it for yourselves. One of the things I also noticed was the dates of some of the posts. This crap has been going on for years.

If you end up having PACE Anti-piracy installed on your system, read all the info and be prepared to spend a few hours dealing with the removal of it.

Unity3D Installs Anti-Piracy Spyware Without Your Knowledge!!

August 10, 2011

In my usual reading of the blogs and flogs that I keep up with, I read about a new virtual world development tool, Unity3D. Well, being as interested as I am in such things, I thought I'd check it out. After all, the screenshots and reviews sure looked good. So, I downloaded it and installed it and gave it a quick look.

To be honest, I like it. Its not for me, since its oriented around game development, but I thought I could use it to experiment with that on my own. I had planned on returning to it and giving it a more in-depth look. You know, see how difficult it is to learn, what its capabilities and limits are and so on.

And then I ran my disc defragger. Next thing I knew, my 2nd harddrive disappeared. That's right, I have two physical harddrives on my system. Now, I've used that particular defragger before (its from Iobit) and never had a problem with it. So I started checking out my computer to see what was up.

Well, lo and behold, I found a folder named PACE Anti-Piracy. Not in my Program Files folder, either, but in my ProgramData Folder. And in it, a folder named Licenses. And in that folder, a file named Unity_v3.x.ilf.

So, I did a quick Google on PACE Anti-Piracy and found out that it is used by some companies to enforce licenses and trial periods, such as Unity3d's 30day trial period. The home site for PACE Anti-piracy states that it is used for "Flexible, Cross-Platform License Management" and that it is "Transparent for End Users". Yeah, transparent if you go looking for the folder in places you don't expect to find it.

I also read on how to remove it. Its hard to do. I'm running Vista, so I first went to my Control Panel to use the program uninstall tool. PACE doesn't show up. I went into the PACE folder. It doesn't have an uninstall utility. I had to manually delete that folder. I then went through all the folders on my main drive, C:. I found PACE in

  • C:\ProgramData
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local
  • C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming

Well, I finally got rid of it. I had to manually delete all the folders. I also had to use regedit to remove it from the registry. I did the same with Unity. My system now has to run chkdsk before it will recognize D: drive. My viewer inventories differ when I visit InWorldz. My stand-alone won't load any more. I now have to do a complete harddrive format and re-install to be sure that I have removed it and repaired all the damage that has been done.

But, you know, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that Unity License file was there because PACE scans for and adds such things automatically. So, just to be sure before I write this, I re-installed Unity3D again. I read the EULA and watched the install progress. Nothing is mentioned about PACE! I looked in my folders after Unitiy3D was installed, and PACE wasn't there. Now I'm starting to think that maybe I was wrong about the source of PACE. So, I fired up Unity3D, since some software installs things on first run and went through the registration. That completed fine and Unity continued its start up.

Including the download of additional assets. That's what it said, additional assets. Still, no mention of PACE.

And then I checked my files. PACE was there.

I am fucking pissed off about this!

Never mind the damages that were done. And the upcoming 3 days to re-install, update and configure everything. Never mind the additional data usage I will be billed for downloading those updates.

Its the fucking insult! I am not a thief. Yet Unity3d has treated me like one.

They have no right to install anything on my system without my knowledge and consent. This is my computer in my home. When I downloaded and installed their trial software, it was so I could try it out and determine if I wanted to spend the money for the fully functional version. I expected to receive only the software that I agreed to. Nothing more, nothing less.

By installing anti-piracy software without our knowledge, they are treating all of us as thieves.

Too bad, too, because Unity3D looks pretty good. I would have been willing to give it a fair trial. But this one deceptive action on their part has decided me to never touch any of their products. Ever.

The Big No on SpotON3D

August 8, 2011

Having read the recent HyperGrid Business article regarding SpotON3D's proposed patent and licensing of their new plugin, I can only say HELL NO!

SpotON3D has clearly stated that, if they are granted the patent, they will license it to grids so as to allow users to use their browser to visit inworld. Well, that's all fine and dandy if you can afford it. But what about us little guys? I'm not interested in creating a commercial grid, though I will join the metaverse economy as it progresses. And who knows how much SpotON3D will charge for that license. Any ideas? It certainly won't be affordable to someone on a fixed income running a free/low-cost grid, that's for sure.

There's a potentially huge market of users out there that will use a browser based viewer, we are all aware of that. What will happen when someone else develops a plugin or fully integrated browser viewer? I'll bet you a lindie that SpotON3D will sue. After all, their major investor and CEO is a lawyer. Such law suits are common place nowadays. How many viewer developers out there can afford such a fight? How many will stop developing their product at even the hint of litigation?

How many of us will be left out in the metaverse boonies because we can't afford such a license.

Sim-on-a-Stick and AuroraSim

August 8, 2011

While I am pretty handy with software and hardware, I've never managed to get the hang of setting up MySQL, which is pretty much the best database system to use with OpenSim. So, one day, I went out and started searching for something pre-configured. That was when I discovered Ener Hax's Sim-on-a-Stick. That was just over a half a year ago and I've been using it ever since.

I've also configured AuroraSim to use SoaS.

Here's how …

You will need to download SoaS and AuroraSim. If you prefer to compile AuroraSim yourself, you can get the files from their github repository here.

I run SoaS from my 2nd harddrive, but it is not necessary that you do so. However you decide to set things up, extract the files from both SoaS and AuroraSim and compile AuroraSim if you've chosen that method. Do not run AurorSim yet.

Now, follow the instructions that are included with SoaS. Yes, this will run the Diva Distro. But it is necessary to do this so that you clear the data that is already included in the database. There is no need to go inworld, you only need to get the sim up and running.

Once the console is running, delete the four regions. OpenSim uses a megaregion system that pretty much stitches default regions together into one megaregion. It is necessary to remove these regions because AuroraSim uses a variable region size. That is, if you want a region that is larger than the default of 256m x 256m, you can simply configure the size. I tend to like having a region that is a square kilometer, so I set mine to 1024m x 1024m. (Note: AuroraSim's variable regions works in multiples of 32m)

So, now that the regions are deleted, you can shut down OpenSim.

Next, go to your AuroraSim folder to configure it's files for use with SoaS.

The files that you will need to configure are found in /bin/Configuration/Data. The first file to configure is Data.ini. Comment out the Include-SQLite line and enable the Include-MySQL line. It should look like this when you are done:

;; If you want to use SQLite, select this file.
;Include-SQLite = Configuration/Data/SQLite.ini

;; If you want to use MySQL, select this file.
Include-MySQL = Configuration/Data/MySQL.ini

Next, open MySQL.ini and you will see that the passwords are set to ***. Change those to 123. For example:

Before -> ConnectionString = "Data Source=localhost;Port=3306;Database=opensim;User ID=opensim;Password=***;"

After -> ConnectionString = "Data Source=localhost;Port=3306;Database=opensim;User ID=opensim;Password=123;"

And that's about it. Its really very simple. Now you can fire up the MySQL database and AuroraSim and finish setting things up.

Update: I forgot to note that I have not been able to figure out how to get the WebUI working for SoaS-Aurora, mnostly due to having a ton of things to catchup on. If anyone can post simple to follow instructions, feel free to use the forum, and I'll add a link.

How Come I Can't Find the Excelsior Station Grid?

August 8, 2011

Its very simple, really. Its not yet online.

Excelsior Station is a stand alone grid I have here at home, which I've been using while dealing with a half year of ISP problems. I've used that time to build the place and to think through some of the things I want for it. Theme, use, structure, rules and so on.

I am currently looking for a grid host and have contacted people about that. While waiting for responses, I've gone ahead with other things I've wanted to do, like this site.

So, here's my thoughts about what Excelsior Station will be.

I prefer that it use AuroraSim, though I am not against setting it up using OpenSim. Cost and services will be the deciding factor.

The theme will be that of a colony world, privately owned by a retired mercenary/merchant. As such its a relatively lawless world. This means that it will be dedicated to the development of an OpenSim based comprehensive combat system. What does that mean? Well, every combat system I've ever used was either personal or vehicular. But not both. I want a system that can be used with everything. Place a script in wall prims and you can blow up a building. Create a rocket launcher and a person can destroy a tank. Lob artillery shells and shrapnel affects the people near the impact.

Okay, so I'm not out to Benefit Mankind with all sorts of research and educational stuff. I just want to have fun. I'm not a developer, though I learn fast. So, I think the best thing I can do is to simply make a place available for people to visit and try things out.

Excelsior Station will be open to colonization. That is, people can connect their region to it, or they can come and buy a region that I host. All regions will be connected. TPing is nice and convenient, but what's the point of having vehicles and vessels if you can't travel to different places in them?

Speaking of vehicles, I think it would be awesome if we could fly/drive/sail using the HyperGrid, don't you? And who knows, maybe we can "invade" other grids that way, too. Maybe create a sort of BattleHyperGrid, a loose collection of grids that allow combat. (I would never support "invading" a non-combat grid)

As for rules, be mature. Not as in the media classification, but in age. Exercise a bit of good sense and respect for one another. Say things the way you want, but develop a thick skin. I'm not against adult content, though anything even remotely related to children will be removed and banned. Not even child avatars. I don't care if you have childhood issues that you want to work out, go to SL or some other grid that allows them. I'm not against gambling, though that will depend on the jurisdiction that Excelsior Station gets set up in.

When is Excelsior Station going to open? I don't know. I am hoping by mid-September, but there is nothing definite yet.

SpotON3D Wants Our Input

August 7, 2011

So, earlier this morning I was going through the morning news and stopped my Ener Hax's blog, iliveisl and came across an announcement from SpotON3D regarding the community's concerns over their new plugin.

Now, here's the thing. This announcement was made in the comments section. I found it also on SpotON3D's blog. Its not on HyperGrid Business. Its not anywhere else I've looked, either. Granted I don't know all the different sites that post related to OpenSim and all, but don't you think SpotON3D would have been a bit more public about it? I also noticed that the announcement was scheduled for 8AM PDT today, Sunday, Aug 7th. And the announcement was made only a few hours in advance.

And what were they announcing? A meeting in one of their worlds to find out what our concerns are. Talk about the Corporate Mentality. For over a week now people have been asking questions and voicing their concerns. Doesn't SpotON3D read!? Well, of course they do. But this is typical of the Corporate Mentality. Make it look like they are part of the community, but its all about the bottom line. Short notice time, limited announcement placement, lack of actual answers, ongoing obfuscation. All are tactics to delay and mollify. All are designed to keep information from those who seek it. Information that should be made public, since it affects the public.

And what information is that? Why nothing more than what exactly they are wanting to patent. I have no problem with people and corporations wanting to protect their intellectual property. But, there's a limit. One of those limits involves open source and its principles. If you develop something from open source, using open sourced tools, then the product should remain open source.

SpotON3D wants to patent a plugin that allows us to interact with virtual worlds from a browser. Its uses the opensourced viewer based on SL's viewers. In fact, SpotON3D's viewer is developed by Phoenix. The idea itself is not new. Many people have talked about it and many of us look forward to having a web-based browser. But, here's the thing.

If SpotON3D is granted the patent, what effect will that have on others who create their own plugins? What effect will it have when someone develops a viewer that is completely housed within a browser? Given SpotON3D's actions thus far, I can only conclude that they will sue. It won't matter if they win or lose the litigation. The cost of such an action is generally more than enough to stifle anyone from pursuing the matter.

Comparing SpotON3D's words to their actions, it is clear that they are only interested in their bottom line, not the community it claims to support.

A Bit More on SpotON3D

I just did a bit of research on the patent process. The USPTO has a nice flow chart at
There are also pre-grant databases at
So far, I've found nothing resembling SpotON3D's plugin.

Some Thank Yous

There's always some discussion about the community that exists in OpenSim and the rest of the metaverse, but I've not seen many express appreciation of the hard work that people put in and give away. If it were not for those people, then those like me, lacking skills but full of ambition, would not be able to express that ambition.

I want to have my own public grid. A place where people can go and enjoy themselves. I know, that's what a lot of the other grids also do. I only want to add to that. But, without partners, its pretty hard to do. I mean, how many of us can build and write scripts and make animations and create textures and design clothing and, and, and … well, you get the point. I certainly can't. So, I rely on the generousity of others. I use the things they have made and set my build up to showcase their work, with some minor additions and mods of my own.

Here's a few pics to show what I mean …


This is the main docking facility at Excelsior Station. The main structure is a combination of Stations Alpha, Beta and Gamma that I downloaded from OpenSim Creations and were created by Edtharan. The starship that is docked is The Plated Rat by Daniel H. and is another download from OpenSim Creations.

The following images show parts of the underground areas. Storage, workshops, repair bays, equipment lockers and so on. Its all empty and not fully complete. Its built using the modules from Garry Beaumont's Hyper Gate Complex.

Here's the entrances:

And a peek into the interior:

Yes, its all unfinished. For the main reason of allowing others to come along and settle in. There is still some work for me to do, like adding alien vegetation (again, courtesy of OpenSim Creations), a HyperGrid landing area and so on, but those can wait until I find out if I'll be able to get Excelsior Station hosted someplace.

And now to return to the main point. Thank yous.

Thank you to Garry Beaumont, Edtharan, Danial H., Suzy Silverweb, Linda Kellie, Vanish and many, many more for their wonderful work and generousity.

Thank you to all the developers of OpenSim, AuroraSim, Imprudence viewer, Phoenix viewer, Hippo OpenSim Viewer, without who's work we wouldn't have these wonderous new worlds to explore.

Thank you to Maria Korolov, Ener Hax, Gaga Gracious and all the other bloggers and writers out there who freely pass on the information of new happenings and provide places for us to discuss and debate the goings on in the metaverse.

And thank you to all those others that go unmentioned and unrecognized.

Thank you all.

Working Things Out


This is Excelsior Station from half a klik away. I know, its hard to make out details, I'm still uploading pics. But, it does give you an idea of just how big it is. I am using AuroraSim and set the region size to 1024m by 1024m, or just over a square kilometer. I am still undecided about going with OpenSim or AuroraSim, but I'm leaning towards AuroraSim. The reason is simply that it seems to operate more efficiently. I had originally started with OpenSim, using Ener Hax's Sim on a Stick (SoaS) and configured it for a 16 region megaregion, laid out as 4 regions by 4 regions. As I approached 20,000 prims, I started to lag. Add a couple of scripts and things became molasses. AuroraSim though, didn't lag. I am currently at 31,000+ prims, though with no scripts running. I experience zero lag, though, so that is its biggest plus. In the meantime, I'm exporting the build in anticipation of opening it to the public.

But, their relative pluses and negatives all fall to one factor. Money. I'm not knowledgeable enough to be able to set up my own grid server and maintain it properly, though that is something I will be learning. And I learn FAST! And I will be getting a second computer in a few months, so I can set up they system. But the biggest financial burden of setting up my own server grid is the ISP rates. So, I will be looking for someone to host my grid and deal with all the maintenance and tech until I learn to do it on my own.

We'll see how things work out.


So, this is it for now. Just getting started. I'll be adding some pics from my isolated little stand-alone soon. I think it looks pretty awesome. But, for now, some info about Excelsior Station, this site, and so on.

My plan is to set up my own grid that is accessible to the general public. It will be science fiction themed. I want to use it to support the ongoing development of inter-grid travel, especially using vehicles and vessels for that travel. Also, I want to promote the development and deployment of an fully integrated combat system. That is, one that includes vehicles and structures as well as persons. I also want to promote better vehicles and their physics. But mostly, I just want people to come and enjoy the place.

Residency will be free and I do want other people to connect, but further info will have to wait until I get things further along. And that means finding someone to host my grid. I am hoping to run AuroraSim, but will go with OpenSim. In fact, I plan a second grid, Port Excelsior (I know, no imagination) that will run on whichever one that Excelsior Station doesn't run on.

I will also be using this site as a blog, though I will also be adding a forums section, but later on.

And that's about it for now.

Stay tuned, more stuff is coming.

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