DD YOU Sue Baskerville: August 2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hipihi 5th Resident Convention

Hipihi just held it's 5th resident convention.  I was unfortunately unable to be there in virtual person though I was their in actual spirit - i.e., I wasn't able to attend because the meeting time was while I was at work. 

Above is a shot of the meeting.  I recognize a number of the names floating over the assembled avatars.   I believe that is the most people I've seen in one place at one time in Hiphi to date. 


 I have posted an essentially unedited Google Language Tools translation of the transcript provided in Chinese in the Hipihi forums at the IdeaShape forums, in the Residents sub-forum.  IdeaShape is at  http://www.ideashape.cn


Below is a picture of the volunteers gathering.


A belated Hello and Best Wishes to those who gathered for the convention and thanks to the volunteers for the help they've given me in having the opportunity to be part of the beginning of a new virtual world and to meet and chat a bit with folks in China that I'd not likely have met elsewhere.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Some Hipihi pictures

I stayed up all night this day, only going to bed after sunrise.  In addition to my usual obsessive checking of RSS feeds on virtual world news and reading the Second Life forums and such, I took some pictures of a build in Hipihi, stored them on a Photobucket account, posted them on my Wordpress blog, and uploaded them into the Hipihi facebook group's photo storage area.

Taking the pictures in Hipihi was fun enough; taking screen-shots is one of the easiest ways to do something creative feeling in a virtual world.  I used the snapshot function in Hipihi to take pictures, but this gives me pictures with program generated names rather than custom names, and to compound the naming annoyance, the program generated names are in Chinese, which is logical since I'm using a program with a Chinese interface, but makes the names even less useful than program generated names in English would be.  Those who've used the Second Life snapshot-to-disk feature will be familiar with a similar naming aggravation; SL's snapshot feature let's you name on picture, then names the rest of the snapshot-to-disk shots you take with that name plus a number, so if you happen to run into Philip Linden and take a shot of yourself and Philip together and name it something like "Philip and me", then later go to your "Furry Gorean Mech Sex Fun Time" session and take a few more snapshots to disk, they will be named Philip and me 2, Philip and Me 3, etc.   Or more commonly, one would get one picture taken in Ahern named Ahern, then the rest of the days shots taken all about misleadingly named Ahern 2, Ahern 3, etc.  So to make the naming process easier, it is much nicer to use a screen capture program like Snagit or Irfanview. 

 Snagit is great for taking screenshots, but it doesn't quite do absolute best possible job for getting the pictures to a specific folder at Photobucket if you have a free Photobucket account, as I do.  If you are content to have the pictures show up in your general, non-specific folder at Photobucket, and move them later, though, Snagit handles that quite easily.  If that suits you ok, you don't even have to end up with a copy of the screenshot on your local hard drive, you can just press printscreen, take and edit the shot with Snagit, email it to your Photobucket account, then when you are ready you can go to Photobucket and rename the pictures and move them to the folder of your choice.  That works fine, or if you have a paid Photobucket account you can use FTP to put pictures on Photobucket, and I would think that Snagit's FTP feature would let you FTP the pictures right into the proper subfolder at Photbucket right from the start.    Irfanview is a free screen capture program that allows you do much the same thing.  Irfanview also does a number of other nice image related things in a very impressive way.  Everyone that wants to do image manipulation on a zero budget should check out the many features in Irfanview.


Right now I'm running on at great length because I am using Windows Live Writer to compose this blog post.  Torley Linden recommended Windows Live Writer and that prompted me to try it.  It is certainly far easier to use for posting a big long bunch of words than the editor built into Wordpress.com's free blog's editor.  I've used Wordpress.com's blog post editor in Internet Explorer 6 and 7, in Firefox, in Opera, in Netscape, in Seamonkey, and in Maxthon 1 and 2, and I have to say, the Wordpress.com's blog editor is terrible. It stinks. The text doesn't display properly. Lines stop breaking for no reason.  If you write a long post, the toolbar is scrolled off the top of the screen, requiring you to scroll back up and then back down.  Taking the screenshots of the Hipihi Chinese architecture build  and getting them on the internet was not a problem or burden, but creating the post that shows them on my Wordpress blog was quite miserable and tedious.

Thus, I am now going to explore using Windows Live Writer to post some pictures on my Blogger blog.  So far I haven't posted any pictures but just writing this using the Wordpress.com's editor would have been torment, so already the process has been improved a great deal.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I used Photobucket's "check the selection boxes and then make it generate image display code" feature to get the code for what should be full sized images which link to my Photobucket site, then pasted the text for all the pictures above at one time into Windows Live Writer.  Once the pictures displayed in WLW's editor, I right clicked one, which cause d the image properties editor to appear in the right WLW pane.  I set the display size down from the original 1024 by 768 to 512; the WLW editor automatically scaled the other dimension down proportionally to 384, unlike the image property editor in Wordpress.com's editor.  The WLW image editing window stayed right at hand as I went down the column of pictures and type 512 in over top of 1024.  So far, it appears to be working just right.
Now to see what happens when I actually save this to Blogger.
First I've saved a local draft, having a copy on your local drive give a feeling of security that removes some stress from the process.
Well, the above is not what I thought I would get; I thought I'd have links to the full sized pictures on the photobucket site, but they aren't links.  This was just an error on my part, not a problem with Photobucket, Blogger, or WLW.  I will try again.
The next set will use the clickable thumbnail image code option on Photobucket.

I don't like the above small thumbnails.  Let's see if I can make them into bigger thumbnails without too much trouble.  My thinking is that I can edit the image properties and just type in a bigger number for the width, similar to how I shrunk the full sized images up above. Insert a line break after image and I hopefully will have the pictures 512 across, with the images being links to the full sized images on photobucket.

Well that didn't work out, it did work in a technical sense, but scaling the picture up from the small thumbnail image doesn't produce an accptable image quality at all.
I'll try another approach. First I paste the raw urls for all the pctures, generated by Photobucket, into WLW, then work with them once they are conveniently in the WLW editor.


Now that was easy, but it's not what I want. Hopefully though I take those urls and make them into half sized images which are links to the full size things easily enough.

Well, I think I can see a way to do what I want, but not as easily as I'd like.  The half sized images above are big enough to look ok.  The automatically generated thumbnails which are links work fine, they just aren't as big as I'd like, and WLW doesn't scale them up very well from 160 to 512, which is not too surprising.  The easiest way to accomplish something similar to,  not quite like what I want, using the tools at hand, would be to have a plain link, the ones above, with a half sized image right next to it.  That wouldn't be hard to do for one image, or even the seven links above, but for displaying hundreds or thousands of images on a blog like this, the process really needs to produce perfect results, totally automatically, with the absolute minimum of effort, with all the very minimal effort being applied in one step. 

I'm sure there is a way to do this, I just don't know what it is at the moment. 

My public Photobucket account is at http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/aa245/SuezanneC-Baskerville/ . I have another account but it has a few pictures that I don't want others to see, and it has a whole lot of pictures that no one else would want to see.  I've not found a sufficiently easy way to record all the pictures there, delete the private and bad ones, and set the folder to public. This would be so simple if Photobucket just had the ability to designate some folders in an account as public and some as private, but alas, it doesn't.

That's it for this post.  Writing this whole post using WLW was less troublesome than writing the much shorter post on the Wordpress blog.  If you want to be a part of virtual world history, try the Hipihi beta.  If you want to post pictures of the Hipihi beta or write much in a Wordpress.com, don't use the built in editor, use Windows Live Write.  





Friday, August 17, 2007

Is this why Second Life's forum's vB Code is turned off?

Second Life's forum, at forums.secondlife.com, has had it's vB Code turned off for a while now.

The Second Life forums use vBulletin brand forum software, verson 3.0.5. "vB Code" is  vBulletin's form of BBCode, which allows forum  posters to easily insert links, images, apply formatting, etc. in forum posts.  No explanation has been given by Linden Lab.  A statement was made that vB Code would be turned back on, but no further word on the subject has been issued. 

Possibly it has something to do with the information presented below taken from http://forums.nexcess.net/showthread.php?t=596

January 21st, 2005

This email contains important security-related information.
Please read it carefully.

* vBulletin 3.0.6 / 2.3.6 Released
* Performance Hit Since PHP 4.3.10 / 5.0.3
* Your License Information
* Contact Us

------------ VBULLETIN 3.0.6 / 2.3.6 RELEASED ------------

vBulletin 3.0.6 and 2.3.6 are security and bug fix
releases. They fix a recently discovered XSS issue
regarding BB code parsing.

All versions of vBulletin prior to 3.0.6 and 2.3.6 are
vulnerable. The only workaround is to disable BB code
parsing in signatures and all forums where untrusted users
can post.
The page at http://www.vulnerabilityscanning.com/vBulletin-BB-Tag-XSS-Test_16280.htm says:

Such versions are reportedly vulnerable to a
cross-site scripting issue involving its BB code parsing.

As a result of this vulnerability, it is possible for a remote
attacker to create a malicious link containing script code that will
be executed in the browser of an unsuspecting user when followed.

This may facilitate the theft of cookie-based authentication
credentials as well as other attacks
If this or a similar security issue is really the problem, is there a good reason why Linden Lab couldn't just say the vB Code has been turned off for a security reason and won't be turned on until the forum software is replaced, which may well never happen?


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Virtual World moguls meet across shared Surface in Metaverse Poker Room August 16th, 2007 (virtual news, aka fiction)

A story at http://blogs.cisco.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-c.cgi inspired me to write a fairly lengthy comment so I figured I’d repeat it here.
Odd that I see a reference to http://blogs.cisco.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-c.cgi along with a reference to Cisco’s Telepresence technology just shortly after posting in my blog about my notion that it would be interesting to see Linden Lab link it’s San Francisco and Boston offices using Cisco’s Telepresence system.

What I had in mind in my idea was creation of a permanently linked area, a distributed place in the Linden Lab offices where for example Philip Rosedale might walk past in San Francisco and John Lester in the Boston Linden Lab metaverse room would see him walk by if Philip was in the shared location place in the Boston office.

Instead of a desk or table physically located in both Linden Lab offices serving as the shared, co-mingled focal point of the distributed location meeting area, a Microsoft Surface unit could be used instead, synchronized so that the San Francisco and Boston Surface units functioned as if there was one Surface simultaneously. Hence John Lester could sit in shared presence area in Boston and see Robin Harper, for example, displayed life sized on the Cisco Telepresence system’s monitor, apparently sitting across the way a few feet on the other side of the of the Microsoft Surface table unit.

By maintaining the telepresence link permanently, the nature of the shared location virtual place is changed from one that is created on demand in which to hold preplanned events to one that is more like just a normal part of the office, normal except that to a human it seems like one place but it has widely separated physical locations.

Why would Linden Lab have an interest in such a thing? Well, because it’s a metaverse idea and Linden Lab is a metaverse company.

I’d like to see this shared location space extended to other companies that are working on the creation of the metaverse, so maybe Hui Xu would sit down in front of the Beijing metaverse room’s Surface and see Nicole Yankelovich sitting in Sun Lab’s metaverse room in Menlo Park. Philip Rosedale would sit down at the San Francisco site, and John Lester in the Boston area.

Then the Friday night metaverse poker game would start.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Forterra bases National Security division on Orlando

In an unusual and unprecedented move, virtual world developer Forterra, Inc. has decided to model it's recently formed National Security Division after the city of Orlando,Florida.

This make no sense, of course, after all, the city of Orlando is much too large to model a division of a private company after, the employees would be so far apart they'd have to drive to use the corporate bathroom, but apparently this will be the case based on how the Forterra site expressed it, and I quote:
"SAN MATEO, Calif. (August 9, 2007) - Forterra Systems, the market and technology leader in private virtual worlds, announced today the creation of a National Security Division that will be based on Orlando, FL."

Let's hope that the role Forterra plays in the processes involved in making the people of all the world's nations secure doesn't involve careful proofreading.

Punch SuezanneC Baskerville?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Libertarian Party forums - forums for all 50 states, etc., plus virtual world libertarians

I've made a "Libertarian Party forum" which I originally intended to show the structure of the sort of forum that I think the U.S. national Libertarian Party should operate.

The address of this forum is http://z8.invisionfree.com/Libertarian_Party .

This forum in just a demo of what I want the LP to operate, yet it is a perfectly functional forum, and it might still be of some value or amusement, so I am announcing it's location.

If you'd like to see if there's any value to a forum of this sort, you might try posting in the forum for the state you are a LP member in. A brief word or two on the origin of your state and or local Libertarian Party, how to join your local party, the state LP's statement of principles, state platform, etc. seem like they'd be good things to start out with. Maybe you could get a friendly opponent to join you and start a doctrinal argument, forums are great for having doctrinal arguments in, and some folks enjoy watching the fur fly.

There's a virtual world libertarian category with a forum started for the Second Life virtual world.