Archive for the ‘Issues and Trends’ Tag

Together We are Strong

together-we-are-strong

Another thing that frustrated me about this past week of no computer was that I had work locked up in it, in a barely-begun stage.  Thankfully, I was able to get going on it during the weekend here.  That was some badly needed free time, to figure out how to mask out the background on the basic pictures (ChromaKey green wouldn’t work in every case) and assemble the final photo.  Even after getting everyone in position, it didn’t come together until I decided to replace the background with posters.  I’m not too displeased with the final result, though.  Donald Trump likes pretty women; well, here’s seven of them, about as sexy as he could desire, and each one is strongly tempted to stick a dagger in his ribs and kick him in the teeth.

All seven are me.  These are all of the primary characters I write my stories for:  Ariel, Jo, Sharra, Latifah, Keiko, Maren and Dannta.  All seven are women, and assuredly multiethnic (Ariel is a cyborg from the 48th century, and Dannta is an alien residing in our world and time)1.  All seven are professionals:  entertainer, physician, foundation chairwoman, teacher, businesswoman, lawyer and executive director.  And, to be brutally frank, all seven are pissed at the direction current affairs in the United States are taking.  This photo shows their obvious solidarity with the goals of the Women’s March; but they also protest against the assaults on immigrants and minorities and a more science-based environmental policy; against the attempted forcing of governmental affairs toward a more big-business-friendly, laissez-faire model; against the coming assaults on education, arts and the humanities — in short, against about anything the current administration and its ultra-conservative supporters in Congress plan to do over the next two to four years.

(Yes, this blog is getting political, possibly edging toward strident.  But, babes, men and women, it’s not as strident as it could get.  You oughta see my husband’s Facebook shares; he’s so much looser than I am, this photo is pale by comparison.  He feels betrayed by his party; he’s a fiscal conservative, but liberal on social issues, and the rise of the Tea Party and Trumpites has left him disgusted beyond bounds.  This will probably be the last thing in the blog for some time, unless I get too aggravated again — entirely possible, considering the actions of the current administration — but there will almost surely be more until we can be shut of this man and all his works.)

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Full-size version available on my Flickr stream

UPDATED: See also Strawberry Singh’s article.

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1 I wish I’d had a Hispanic and an Arab or Muslim character now, but I’ve never developed those before.  My next story will need to address that.  (Anyway, I’d have needed to shrink the individual women down to fit nine women in this shot; not to mention the even longer post work.)

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Heartbleed Concerns

It’s sad to do my 1,001st article on a thing that shouldn’t be happening in a rational society, where everyone obeys the law.  Unfortunately, the Real World isn’t that rational.  If you aren’t sick about reading about the Heartbleed flaw in OpenSSL, keep going here, because this brief piece on Around the Grid concerns you.  If you are sick of reading about it, keep reading anyway; you probably have at least one account affected by the crisis.

Mashable has run a recent article on Heartbleed, and it identifies a number of sites that were running the flawed version of OpenSSL, which could render your passwords and personal data vulnerable.  This is really vital reading to everyone!!!  Most of us have a Facebook account; many of us use some service offered by Yahoo or Google, run a Tumblr blog, or do a mess of pinning on Pinterest.  And other services may be affected as well.  The Mashable article has a substantial list of businesses and whether or not they admit they were running a site with the bug.  Every one that you have an account on which is marked with a green check mark, get yourself there soon and change your password.  And make it a good one as well; there are references available to teach you how to construct memorable, reasonably safe passwords — longish phrases with a mix of cases, numbers and punctuation are excellent in my experience.  Record your new passwords in several different places that you can access easily to update them when needed — and then change them on a periodic basis, whether there’s a security crisis or not going on.  It’s just safer that way.  (I keep two separate password vaults:  one on my desktop and one on my phone.  Both are password locked themselves, and are mostly mirrors of each other.)

As for Second Life, it didn’t make the Mashable list, but I don’t know if anyone has checked with Linden Lab.  I’m taking no chances, and changing my password again with them in a few minutes as part of my overall upgrade to my security.  I’d encourage you to do the same, just as a reasoned precaution; I think the account servers can handle the strain.  I also have accounts on Flickr, Google and Tumblr, and I’ve changed the passwords there as well.  Other services I’m doing just as a precaution; I’ll probably throw in my financial accounts within 24 hours, just to really be on the safe side, although every bank claims to be safe.

Call it raving paranoia, if you wish.  I call it constructive paranoia at the worst, and sound precaution at the least.  Change your passwords!

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Reblog: Curio: Party Girl Celebration and Settlement Frustration | Its Only Fashion

Curio: Party Girl Celebration and Settlement Frustration | Its Only FashionThanks to Cajsa Lilliehook.

Being somewhat oblivious to all the details here, aside from knowing somewhat of what was happening, all I can add to this is that Cajsa wrote up a piece that describes quite well how the law works.  Unless you have the gold to finance yourself all the way through a case, sometimes settling is the only thing that can be done.  Even if you come out on the winning side in a case, depending on the circumstances, you can’t expect much reward other than feeling you’ve trounced your opponent.  My RL husband and I received a check recently for a class-action settlement we were apparently parties in due to some purchase or other.  The fund for things like this is usually set up in the millions of dollars.  Our check:  $9.22.

The hell of it is that the law is the only thing besides religion and morals that helps keep society glued together.  It ain’t too satisfyin’, Marshall — but it’s the thing that keeps us from each other’s throats.

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Hopefully Linden Lab takes note of things on blogs like this. Not all Residents are gripers full of hot air; the tier cost is really severe, especially for non-profits, who had their tier doubled this past year to standard rate. If a viable way can be found to cut tier, it should help encourage region growth again.

Prim Perfect

I’ve now got the results of the poll I set up recently and they are very interesting – and in some ways reassuring for Linden Lab.  But they also highlight what are people’s serious concerns.  I print the full data at the bottom of this post, below my thoughts on this.

Methodology
I had 246 responses, which isn’t bad for a representative selection – the average UK opinion poll is about 1,500 surveyed for 67 million, so we’re doing rather well. However, balanced against that we have to take into consideration that this was a self-selected poll, in that people had to be sufficiently interested in Second Life to be reading this blog or another that recommended the survey – which suggests a relatively high level of engagement.  There’s also the possibility that individuals could have ‘gamed’ the poll by multiple submissions – however, this does not seem to be…

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In-World Church Sacraments?

The Anglican Cathedral in Second Life is up at the top of the hill, with its associated chapel in the foreground.

Occasional discussion has been popping up again within the past months on religion in virtual worlds such as Second Life.  As I’m a believer in the validity of at least some aspects of religious practice in world — I’ve devoted over 20 articles here to my activities at the Anglican Cathedral in Epiphany region — I’ve been curious about the matter, and would like to weigh in briefly.

First, let’s get the groundwork out of the way.  Most people, at least, don’t particularly worry about church sacraments unless they happen to be a member of churches in the “liturgical tradition” — such as the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church (or its various other sisters in the Anglican Communion), or the Lutheran Church.  Sacraments are defined in the Christian tradition as “a Christian rite (as baptism or the Eucharist) that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and that is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality.” (Merriam-Webster Online).  Since the fracturing of the Catholic Church during the Reformation, there has not been a complete agreement on how many of the “great rites” are true sacraments — gotta love doctrinal wars, don’t ya?  The Catholics give seven:  baptism, confirmation in the church, Holy Eucharist (Mass), penance (confession), anointing of the sick, holy orders and matrimony.  Anglicans see only two, baptism and the Eucharist, as “true” sacraments, as they were directly instituted or sanctioned by Christ; the Orthodox traditions call the list of seven the “major sacraments,” but see almost anything the Church does as being of a sacramental nature.  You can see how messy this gets in the long run; arguments over such things have resulted in many a schism over the past twenty centuries.

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Strawberry Singh On the Marketplace Controversy

Strawberry Singh has weighed in on the debate over whether or not the Second Life Marketplace is a good thing for in-world commerce.  As of my last check, she’s up to 11 comments and pingbacks, including my own submission.  I’d urge you to go read this and giveconsidered opinion to the matter, then offer up your own thoughts.  Remember, shooting from the hip usually results in the shooter blowing her foot off.  Don’t just leap in with a screed, on the subject or personally directed.

Desmond Shang Comments on Land Loss in SL

In case you haven’t read this already, click through to New World Notes and read this comment by Desmond Shang, the “Guvnah” of Caledon, on why the loss of regions in Second Life may be a good thing for the Grid, instead of a tale of woe, doom ‘n gloom.  I’ve wondered myself if SL has grown too much over the years, as I see the Map expand with more and more isolated islands that don’t link together except at the corners — where you can’t cross over from one island to the next by just walking or flying in.  According to Hizzoner, a drop in land expansion might be a good thing in the long run.

(Personal thought:  if it brings people back to the Mainlands, along with a general cleaning of house there in many of the junkier sims as a form of “urban renewal,” it might be more than just a Good Thing.)

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