Saturday, September 26, 2015

2015 Media Awards Winners!

After months of research and careful consideration, The Innovative Second Life Group has chosen our 6 winners for the 2015 Media Awards.  We have awarded the #1 best magazines and webzines in SL.  The six categories are:

*Fashion & Lifestyle
*News & Events,
*Music and Entertainment
*Home & Garden
*Arts & Culture
*Adult Content
*Special Award-The Best Magazine in Second Life

Congratulations to all the winners!  Here is a list of our 6 winners and why they were chosen the #1 best in SL.

Arts & Culture:
Windlight Magazine:
Windlight Magazine is a visually stunning work of art in it's own right that features some of the most beautiful and profound photography in SL by many talented artists. The interviews are complete and entertaining and the articles are informative and well written,

News & Events:
SL Enquirer
The daily visitor count alone proves it's popularity but we voted SL Enquirer the #1 news source because it 's well constructed website offers residents news about current events, innovative products, press releases and informative articles.

Music & Entertainment:
Cizum Webzine
We voted Cizum the #1 source for music news and a must read for any music lover in SL.  Featuring up to date articles about live performances and venues.  Interviews with some of the best live performers in SL and music related product
reviews.  The website also features video clip previews of live performances.

Fashion & Lifestyle:
Dope Magazine
Dope Magazine stood out as the #1 best fashion & lifestyle magazine because of it's excellent variety and content. Guest photography highlights articles about clothing and accessories, businesses,  designers, current events and more. The photography and graphics are professional and well done.

Adult Content:
Playmates Magazine
There are more adult magazines in SL then any other.  We chose Playmates Magazine as the #1 best because it offers professional, quality photography that is tasteful and entertaining with Informative and interesting articles and interviews, The content is classy, not trashy. and very well done.

Home & Garden:
LTD Magazine
We chose LTD Magazine (Love to Decorate Magazine) as the #1 best source for home & garden content because it features the newest innovative products from the best designers in SL.  Beautiful, professional photo's highlight informative articles in this well constructed magazine.

The #1 Best Magazine in Second Life:
BOSL (The Best Of SL)
Superior page design and graphics, superb photography, well written articles about a variety of subjects, and outstanding content elevates BOSL above the rest.  Consistent excellence in every issue.  We unanimously voted BOSL the winner of the best magazine in SL award.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The People Behind The Avatars

Recently, I witness an incident at a popular SL shopping mall that compelled me to write about it.  It involved two ladies pushing baby carriages and minding their own business until messages started popping up in local chat that one of the babies was hungry. Then another message that one needed changing and if that wasn't enough, one of the ladies had a tummy talker telling her she needed a glass of milk.  Personally, I don't let things like that bother me, to each his or her own I say.  But there was a group of 5 people that had been filling my local chat screen with complaints about prices, derogatory statements about the merchandise and gossip about someone named "Sassy" and "Wolfgang" for a good half an hour.  This I ignored also, and kept shopping.  What I couldn't ignore was the group ganging up on the virtual mothers.  They called them everything from stupid idiots to mentally challenged.  One of the ladies told the group that she couldn't have children in RL and had waited 6 years through the adoption process only to find out her husband was dying of cancer and was no longer eligible to adopt. And then the ladies left.  I was surprised by the groups comments after.  Expecting them to continue their tirade, I almost left too, but one of them exclaimed, "They should make those prim babies IM in private and not in local but she taught me a lesson, not to judge. My RL Aunt could never have kids and it really made her sad, if she was still alive, she would have loved to have a baby in SL".  I smiled, as things like that help restore my faith in humanity, but it didn't end there.  The conversation was like a revelation of sorts for the group, each sharing stories of someone who is handicapped or disabled and living vicariously through SL.
I shared this story with the ISL group and was reminded of one of our earlier members.  Mike was a brilliant and accomplished writer who happened to be 450 lbs.  He had multiple health issues and worked from home.  In SL, he was fit and handsome and could do all the activities that he couldn't do in RL.  He found a SL girlfriend and had the virtual wedding and homestead.  ( Mike had a gastric bypass operation, lost 200lbs, regained his health and has left SL for many RL adventures.)
We never know what story lies behind the avatars we see everyday in SL.  Those who come in-world to hurt others and cause drama obviously have RL issues that have made them angry, hate-filled people and I'm sure there are a few psychotic's too but there are many in poor health, disabled, widowed, lonely, etc.,  people who try to bring a little normality to their lives through SL.
A common profile statement is "I don't mix SL with RL".  or "I keep RL and SL separate".  That's fine.  If you don't want to share your RL information or you escape RL with SL and for those reasons you keep them separate, that's your prerogative.  Most times, as we build strong bonds and friendships, RL slips into the conversations.  What state we are from, our occupations, marital status, etc.  Constant reminders that there are human beings behind each avatar.

The Innovative Second Life group is formed of RL writers, photographers, editors and publishers so we share information and like Mike, we know each other's personal lives as we share publications, print credits and RL accomplishments in our professional field.  Several month's ago, we planned a RL meet and greet.  We were lucky to find a date that worked into our busy schedules and everyone was able to attend but one (which we had on video chat for much of the weekend).  After awhile, it was apparent, that our SL and RL self's, were one in the same.  Jack was just as humorous as his avatar.  Nik dominated the conversation as she does in SL and Marcus pulled his clever pranks.

Before you judge anyone in SL, remember that it's a human and you don't know what their RL story is.

Innovative Second Life Group Meet & Greet - April 2015

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Second Life Dublin Gets a Mesh Makeover

Starting with the Blarney Stone Bar, one of SL's oldest hang-out destinations.  The old prim building was replaced by mesh in early September.  The old Irish pub charm remains as it looks identical to the old Blarney Stone only now it's mesh. The Blarney Stone is a Second Life institution since 2006, it has been a popular hang out spot for many since it's opening.  The new upgrade will hopefully bring in a new generations of lads and lassies

The Blarney Stone Bar in Dublin

This is only the first step in making the entire Dublin sim mesh.  The streets of Dublin are filled with historical buildings like the Cathedral and Trinity College.  It will be an large project to change everything to mesh but we are excited to see the out come.

Trinity College in SL Dublin

Friday, September 11, 2015

Second Life Marketplace and The Death Of The Mom & Pop Shop

SL has changed in many ways since I first started in 2006.  I had played World of Warcraft and explored other virtual worlds before discovering Second Life.  But what made SL excel above the other's for me was the fact that it was created entirely from it's users and that you could actually make real money.  This had talented residents taking their real life interests and passions and creating content in SL to sell.  Clothing, skins and hair are something most every resident will buy at some point. AO's, houses and vehicles are also popular but those off the wall niche items kept SL interesting.  Mall's were full of stores and sim owners made a lot of lindens renting spaces. The larger companies or brands usually had a main store on their own land but the smaller stores or "mom and pop" stores gave the everyday creator a chance to make a little money as well and giving us unusual and fun products.  As the popularity of the SL Marketplace grew we watched the smaller stores start vanishing at an alarming rate.  Those who sold oddities and not your everyday items don't have as much success on Marketplace as they do in-world.  Take for instance the Human Bubble.  The in-world store had a demo and after trying it, it was a must have item.  How many times will anyone search for a human bubble in Marketplace? (Unless you saw someone else have it in-world)
Some of my favorite purchases were items I stumbled on while walking through a shopping mall or going to a club where I had to pass several shops to reach the entrance.  As more people started using Marketplace exclusively, shops were not making enough money to pay tier fee's.  SL's search engine had a small part in the mom & pop stores demise.  Traffic bots made many great stores get lost in the back pages while businesses with fake traffic were at the top of the list. Tag names in store descriptions were misleading and shoppers got frustrated looking through 10 shops before finally finding what they were looking for.  But the Marketplace is to blame for most of the store closings.

Pro's of the SL Marketplace:
Time-It is much faster to look on the Marketplace site then to search for and teleport,, then navigate through a store.
Descriptions: A more complete description of the product, features. prim count and permissions.
More Images- If a product is sold through a vendor poster, it is limited to how many images can be shown but on MP, they can upload many photo's that can be enlarged.
Payment Options: You can pay with either lindens from your in-world account or paypal.
Costumer Reviews: You can read other's experiences of the product.

Con's of the SL Marketplace:
Not as many residents shopping in-world therefore closing many shops and sims.  Many great sims offering entertainment from beaches to amusement parks relied on revenue from shops to stay running.
Costumer Reviews: Many times a customer will receive a product and not read the instructions and give the product a bad review due to their fault.  Or they can't comprehend the instructions and give a bad review.  Competitors have been known to create alts or have friends give bad reviews 
Products sold by MIA creators- There are creators that have put items on the Marketplace then are not online anymore.
Lindens Lab's Commission: LL receives a percentage of every item sold through Marketplace as opposed to in-world purchases.
Dated Products- There is no way of knowing when a product was created so it may have outdated scripts.
Limited and Confusing Search Categories - There needs to be more categories and better itemization.
For example, magazines being found in the Art category or food and drinks under Recreation.

I miss those small, unassuming Mom & Pop shops and the creations they brought to SL  I still stop into the small mall shops and make purchases to show my support but I wish there were still around.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The Happiest Place In Second Life

Magicland In Second Life

Walking into Magicland for the first time brought me back to my youth to the day my parents took me to Disneyland for the first time.  I was transformed back to that little boy that stared in wonder as we walked down Main Street USA.  Cinderella's castle loomed in the distance while my favorite Disney characters greeted us.  The attention to every detail is apparent at this well built tribute to Disneyland.  Magicland has wonderful replica's of Disneyland's most popular attractions.  The sights and sounds surrounding you enhances the experience.  Such as the "It's A Small World" ride. The operator tells you to keep your hands inside the boat at all times right before you go into the tunnel and the familiar song starts to play loudly. The Magicland Railroad gives you an audio tour into the past with a touch of humor and my favorite was the audio tour through the "Jungle Ride" with a cut-out of an actual tour guide with his very corny memorized dialog.  Made me laugh.  Visit Tomorrowland or Fantasyland, Ride the Tea Cups or the Matterhorn and be sure to stay for the nightly parade and fireworks over Cinderella's Castle.  Magicland will bring out the kid in you and for some, very happy memories.

The Tour Guide on the Magicland "Jungle Ride"

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Search For The Best Magazines In Second Life

The judges for the 2015 Innovative Second Life Media Awards have been working hard to look through every publication in Second Life.  As professional writers, photographers, editors and publishers in real life, we are all tough critics.  As much as we appreciate the efforts of anyone undertaking the task of publishing a monthly magazine, we have been underwhelmed by many. We have seen some mediocre photography, poor editing, badly written articles, inconsistency and amateur graphic designs. We have also seen amazing talent.  After careful deliberation, we have posted the nominees for this years awards.  Several editors/owners have sent our staff messages asking why their magazine was not nominated.  We compiled a list of requirements that we are judging.

**Prerequisites For An Outstanding Publication:
1. Professional photography. is a must.  Most anyone can take a photo of a person or thing against a Second Life sim background.  We want to see some effort.  Photo Shop editing, unusual windlight settings, shading, shadows, use of advanced photography tools, etc.
2. No repetitive photo's or content.  The same model, same background just different poses or angles page after page loses our interest fast.  Same with text such as stories, articles and interviews.  We do not want to read a novel.  We like informative content that has been summarized by highlighting major points of interest.
3.No Incomplete information: If an article is featuring a fashion designer, product or destination, We want to know how long have they been established. Where can the product or service be found, who to contact and is it offered in-world as well as Marketplace and price ranges.
4. Consistency: Monthly issues should be available each month without fail. Content and format should always be consistent.
5. Advertisement overload.  We understand that ad's are the only revenue for most magazines but no one enjoys looking at more ad's then content.
6. Self Promotion: An introduction page or a note from the editor or owner is important to let the reader know about you, your vision and direction of your magazine.  But we don't need 10 pages of your opinions or your photo in every article.
7. Professional Graphics. We are looking for original and creative page design.
8. Dated Content:  We are looking for current news and events, new products and destinations.  We don't want to read an article about something that been written about in dozens of publications already.  Date your publication! Volume 12 does not tell us if it was published in 2006 or in 2015.

We are looking for the best of the best.  The #1 best magazines in Fashion & Lifestyle, News and Current Events, Arts & Culture, Music, Adult Entertainment and Home & Garden.

Are you an aspiring editor or publisher?  Or do you already have a magazine or periodical and want help or advice elevating it to the highest standards?  Our qualified group is offering free consultation.
Drop a notecard in our mailbox at our office in-world.  We are located on the boardwalk of the beautiful ROYAL Sailing Club and Marina.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Second Life Renaissance Faire 2015

The fifth Renaissance Faire is a grid-wide Hunt and full-sim Faire, which takes place September 1-30. There are Renaissance, Medieval and Fantasy-themed gifts to find hidden all over the grid in nearly 75 participating shops. Enjoy the Faire with its food and drink, shopping, entertainment, dancing, and a mini-hunt! Wear a costume to the Masked Ball September 5th and win prizes!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Innovative Second Life 2015 Media Awards Nominees

This month is the Innovative SL's annual Media Awards to show our appreciation for all the creative and entertaining magazines and newspapers in SL.
Innovative Second Life was created as a collaborative group of real life writers, journalist, publishers, authors and editors who have joined together to explore and share excellent experiences in SL.  As our real life careers naturally draw us to the many magazines and newspapers offered in SL, we have joined with other qualified judges and media groups to award the best magazines and newspapers in Second Life.  We looked through over 40 publications the past few months and narrowed it down to 17 nominees for the 2015 awards.

The Innovative Second Life 2015 Awards Categories:
Fashion & Lifestyle
News & Current Events
Arts & Culture
Music and Entertainment
Home & Garden
Adult Content

2015 Magazine and Newspaper Nominees:
Inovare Magazine
L'Hommes Magazine
Dope Magazine
SL Enquirer
New World Notes
SL Newser
Windlight Magazine
rez Magazine
Cultured the Magazine
SL Goth
Nuvibez Magazine
Cizum Webzine
BOSL Magazine
LTD Magazine
AMM Life & Style Magazine
Busted Magazine
Playmates Magazine
Crush Magazine
Aroused Magazine

  Winner's will be announced September 26th.  Good luck to all of this years nominees!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Firestorm Viewer New Release and Anniversary

Several month's ago Linden Lab introduced the new VMM viewer (Viewer Managed Marketplace).  No longer could you access or manage your marketplace items through any third party viewer. This left many residents scrambling to download the official Second Life viewer
Good news for all those Firestorm Viewer user's. Firestorm has finally released version
The version is VMM capable and many of the bugs from the previous version has been fixed.  This comes at a perfect time as Firestorm is celebrating their 5th anniversary.  Join the celebration tomorrow Sept 3rd with a party and concert and remember to always clean your hard drive of all Firestorm download files before uploading the new version.

The SL Botanical Garden's - Natural Wonder

One of the most beautiful sims in Second Life is the SL Botanic Gardens.  The flora and fauna in this amazing sim features some of the best tree's, plants, flowers and landscaping from several of the most amazing creators in SL.  We have listed this as one of our top 10 Must See places in Second Life.  It is the perfect destination for a quiet, romantic evening with walkways and cuddle spots and many nooks for sitting and relaxing.  Take a ride in a gondola or sit by the tropical waterfalls. Reserve plenty of time to explore everything and take in all the beautiful nature this sim offers.