Skydiving in Second Life

Listeners of the podcast would know that I have been delving into Second Life recently. The GGP number 69 Special edition just came out also, recorded entirely in Second Life. I am really enjoying Second Life, the chatting and the interaction has been great. But this week I went looking for some excitement… I found it.

Second Life gives people the ability to do just about anything they want to. I am slowly discovering how far that can go. I have always wanted to go skydiving, when a Second Life (SL) friend offered to take me in SL I jumped at the opportunity, we had a blast!

First up I was given a free parachute. Now the free version is not that great but it works. It puts you into a freefall pose and stops you hitting the ground with an auto deploy. On your float down you can see the canopy wires and nothing else. There is also no control over flight direction. So we did a bit of jumping from high objects in SL. These came in the form of floating platforms that we flew up to. If you want to give this a try in SL you will need “The Flight Feather”. Without it you won’t be able to fly very high, you reach a ceiling and go no further, with it the ceiling is 4000 meters.

One thing worth noting is that the spatial awareness of the voice communication in SL really added to the experience. Imagine the diminishing volume coming from an avatar that just jumped off a building! Adds to the reality and the fun of it all.

Now while the jumping from objects was great, it was hard to find ones that were high enough and at great locations. So in our search for better locations, we found the jump pod. Wow! The pod is able to seat four people, it is powered and can get you up as high as 4000 meters in seconds. Before this we were jumping from, at most 500 meters. Woot! Ignore the funny pose of the avatar in the photo, some stupid faulty script about an hour earlier. Although I laughed every time I saw him…

Now we had the ability to get to a greater height we started to review our parachutes and figured that there had to be beter ones out there. For a small price there is. The Mark III chute is the next step up and we got ours for about 200 Linden (One US dollar will get you 269 Linden dollars, or there abouts). Now this chute gives you many more options:

  • Visual chute
  • Flight control
  • Target
  • Wind noise
  • Plus it will keep track of your in world scores

There are a few other features, but can’t remember them 😛

So we did a few drops with our pods and our new chutes. I laughed so hard and so long I had tears running down my face. My jump buddy was likewise impressed with the experience, we got some awesome photos, especially since they were taken with the new beta version of the viewer; WindLight. Another day dawns on SL.

Skydive 02

One of the absolute funniest things that happened during this time was that we found a great dropzone and went from the pod at 4000 M. In SL you can build in the sky, as long as you stay on the alloted area that defines your land. Seems we found a wayward building on this jump and smacked straight into it at Terminal Velocity.

You might see it in the photo, but yup that is a graveyard, it seems we were not the first to discover it. Note the structures in the back ground (you can’t see them at 4000 M!).

Skydive 03

Yesterday, we found that there was a model up from ours and we went ahead and bought the “Pro” version for an extra 100 Lindens. Money well spent and we should have got this one in the first place since it was a bit over one US dollar!

Now as well as the features above we now have added stuff that really does make this an experience worth having:

  • Deployment control
  • Altimeter HUD
  • Stunts
  • Realistic controls like flaring; don’t do it and you fall over and get knocked for the “hard” landing
  • Customizable textures (colours and look)
  • Extra animations in the script like a pool of blood when things don’t go right

Using the new chutes we found that we were able to also do co-ordinated stunt work, have heaps more fun and even attempt some base jumping. Although the base jumping has it’s issues, note the above example. The closer you are to the ground the more sky junk there is, we discovered a lot of it. I have also base jumped from the new HQ of The Podcast Network in SL, I think that is a first. We are on the lookout for more sites to jump from so let us know if you find anything in SL that you think is worth a look.

There is a lot more to this than I have included here. It is damn fun though and if you would like some help getting started then look me up in SL. My name in Second Life is “Rooster Rubble”. Say hello and how you know me. Don’t forget to get the viewer and register first!

Finally this is the best photo that was taken by CannedTuna on our first dive into Skydiving in SL, impressive isn’t it? Also thanks to Gary for being by jump buddy and exploring skydiving in Second Life.

Skydiving in SL Image by CannedTuna

Image by CannedTuna

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Make Your Own Dodecahedral Calendar

Found this cool site today that allows you to select an download a PDF of a dodecahedral calendar. Obviously you have to print it and build the dodecahedral yourself. I thought what the heck I can do that, so I did.

There are two types of dodecahedron that you can choose from; the regular or the rhombic. I just chose the regular. Then you can select the year you want, the language (anything you care to name here) and the day the week starts on and hit the download button.

Download the PDF and print it out onto regular A4 paper (not letter – it does not fit). It is recommended that you use regular 80gsm paper. But for the extra challenge I printed it out on 110gsm Parchment Paper. It added a nice touch and I don’t think it made it more difficult.

Once printed cut it out, the instructions are on the print out.

Now the tricky part, fold it and glue it. Stapling just won’t cut the mustard so don’t attempt that. Now there a a couple of tricks here that will help you out.

  1. When you fold the tags in make sure they stick out not in. That way it makes it easier to press them in, especially considering the next tip.
  2. There is one “side” or “face” that you will notice has no folded tabs on it. Leave it till last. The reason being is that you need to stick your finger through it to press on the last few sides.

Once the glue dries, set it on your desk and admire it. I was surprised at the strength of it. I would guess that a lot of that lies in the actual structure and not much on the glue, but pretty cool.

Okay so that’s the art lesson for today and a great way to waste 1/2 hour. You could always get creative and edit the PDF to create something other than a calendar; here are a few suggestions:

  • Print some photo’s on the sides
  • Make your own RPG dice
  • Get the kids involved and have them “decorate” them before you make the dodecahedral
  • Make about 5000 of them and line a room to make your own studio
  • Attach pins from the inside to make a lethal office warfare weapon

Here is my effort, now go make your own!

odecahedral calendar

April Fool’s Collection

Okay so I am tentatively going to say that I aim to be posting a bit more. No promises as I am still very busy, but on with it!

So yesterday was April 1st and as usual we saw  numerous gags take the blogosphere, some funny, some were so quick you would have missed them. I posted about one on The Global Geek Blog that I found quite humorous. That said I did not go out and hunt them all down. Fortunately a few kind souls have done that for us.

First up The Bloggers Blog has done a nice round up of most of the online pranks that were staged. There were some great ones, I particularly liked the WiiHelm from Think Geek. They always come up with a ripper. I saw one joke from them (I have no idea if it was an April Fool) that detailed a product that was a “wireless extension cord”, very funny. The Geeks there even went to the effort to rig up a demo version and a video for the WiiHelm which had the right amount of stupidity about it.

Wikipedia have compiled a more definitive list of jokes and pranks. This list also includes print, television and audio media. Might also be worth checking the legit stories that were not April Fools gags but were mistaken as such. Always good to know. I just about gave up reading the RSS feeds yesterday as I was begining to think that everything was a joke. Must have been a bad day for news.

Other April Fools 2007 Lists and Resources:

Urgo’s 2007 List of April Fool’s Day Jokes on Websites: Add one if you can not find it

2007 April Fools Jokes by goodstuff: Do the April Fools Jokes Web2.0 style with this tour on Trailfire. It would have been nice  if this was a bit more exhaustive, but that would be a huge job to put together. Nice way to see them though, including descriptions.

Have fun and get thinking for next year, maybe your prank will top the lot, might make you famous even.

Is Bigger Better?

They say that size doesn’t matter. No, I do not know who “they” are. Still I think that this site might be the exception.

I found this by a link from a link, from a link. I was actually following a lead from a story for the podcast. Basically that is me saying that I can’t remember what the source was. You might be wondering what the screenshot is of…

Now my RSS button on the lower left of this blog would be considered “big” but it is no match for the world’s biggest RSS button (unconfirmed). If you find one bigger then let me know. Just for the novelty factor in this instance bigger might be better. Building a bigger one just won’t cut it. These things can usually only be done once.

From all appearances yes it is an RSS button with a feed attached.

The Worlds Biggest RSS Button

The Staple Diet of Dragons

I had a very interesting conversation with my four year old last night. He is apparently the resident expert on the diet of dragons. Which he says don’t exist, they used to… but they are dead now. Not sure what that means, but it makes perfect sense to him.

The following dialogue made perfect sense to him also:

Angus: “Yeah Dad, you know about dragons… got big teeth and have fire”Dragon Picture

Dad: “Sure yes, I know about dragons. Dude do you know a lot about dragons?”

Angus: “Yup, I know lots about dragons… like what they eat”

Dad: “Cool, what do dragons eat then?”

Angus: “Well, dragons eat muesli Dad…”

Dad: “Oh, they do?”

Angus: “Yeah and rubbish…”

Dad: “Rubbish?”

Angus: “Yes Dad, rubbish. But you have to watch the young dragons they will run off with your rubbish bin and won’t play. The older ones are nice they will play and then eat your rubbish.”

Dad: “Great, I’ll remember that. What do they have for desert?”

Angus: “Shampoo”

So today’s hot tip is to watch out for those young dragons.

Comment Armageddon

So there I was catching up on some RSS feeds that I had missed over the Christmas New Year break. I made an unexpected find while I was doing that. Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch is a respected authority in Web 2.0 circles as far as covering new start-ups and the culture of the Internet and technology news. But this post caused some controversy.

TechCrunch covered a website that was a social network for budding photographers. So what you might say. Well this is a social network for amateur pornography. I have not linked to the site covered because that is not what this post is about. Arrington covers the site in a very matter-of-fact way that you would expect. It would seem that his readers don’t appreciate it, generally. True this is not the sort of thing that TechCrunch usually covers and that might be why there was the reaction that there was. Still not sure it was worthy of the reaction of some.

The real action here is the comments. There are no less than 191 comments at the time of this post. It is the most entertaining run of comments that I have read in a long time. Like fies to a dead cow everyone turns up for a go. It has everything from name calling to preaching doom and gloom. There are “hissy” fits and passionate pleas. Everything, you name it you will find it here.

What’s more the names read like a who’s who of the blogosphere. Featuring in order of appearance:

I am sure there are some I missed or did not recognise. These guys probably subscribe to TechCrunch so I am not surprised that they do. But for them to be motivated enough to comment, you can imagine. I learned some things about Robert Scoble that I did not know. He actually kicks butt in an argument. Still not sure why they got involved, no one wins a flame war.

Very entertaining and well worth the read. Not often I recommend to skip the article and go straight to the comments. I am not about to make judgements about the merits of Arringtons choice of topics but suffice to say his readers have spoken. But from my perspective it doesn’t seem like it fits the TechCrunch mould. It says a lot about knowing your audience.

I Elfed Myself

I was passed a terrific site that offers a totally useless service. I love it.

Well it is not useless if you count making you laugh and appreciate Christmas for the fun and friends that you have. Being given this link was a breath of fresh air and I did have a good laugh. Very cleaver and a hoot.

Have a look words are not enough and if I said more I would spoil it.

Click the screenshot, enough said.

The Rooster Elf

Thanks to Richard Giles of Scouta for the link. Merry Christmas mate.