Where everybody knows your name

June 15, 2014

Do you remember Cheers, the American sitcom television series that aired for 11 seasons from 1982 to 1993?

The show was set in Cheers, a bar named after the popular toast, in Boston, Massachusetts, where a group of locals met to drink, relax, and socialize.

Muddy's Music Cafe through the front door window

Muddy’s Music Cafe through the front door window

The bar had a theme song, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, which may have stuck in your mind. It seems as if everybody over 30 remembers the tune.

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Anywhere’s a better place to be

February 16, 2008

Most of the 12.5 million or so residents of Second Life get in free. Each has the right to do whatever they can imagine and is possible in a virtual world.

Anywhere’s a better place to be - Harry Chapin Memorial

Townscape memorial to singer/songwriter Harry Chapin (1942-1981).

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NPR star plugs SL to 3 million potential newbies

August 31, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Have you heard of Ira Flatow? No? Well, 1 percent of Americans have.

He’s the host of that National Public Radio (NPR) show, Science Friday, with the catchy slogan Making Science Radioactive.

Ira Flatley crowd 2
Crowd gathers to see Ira Flatley at the Science School

According to the stately News York Times, radioman Flatow is one of the world’s most influential communicators of science. Apparently, some 3 million people believe it and tune in to his talkfest for two hours every Friday afternoon.

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In the future, cities will become deserts…

August 9, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Remember Pleasantville? Where Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon were transported from their tumultuously teenage lives in a stereotypical 1990s household back into the calm and collected black-and-white world of a TV sitcom set in a perfect 1950s town? You know, something like the hometowns of Father Knows Best or Leave It To Beaver?

Wasteland - yurt welcome center
A yurt welcome center greets a visitor to the post-apocalyptic Wasteland

Reese is hot and Tobey is a nerd, neither of which was imaginable in ’50s Pleasantville. Back home in the ’90s, he had been a couch-potato expert on Pleasantville trivia. She had been sexually precocious.

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Who needs history?

August 5, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

We do, if we want SL to have more than a quick 15 minutes of fame. We need to build a strong foundation under our virtual world.

We live in a new era. Second Life just entered our real lives in 2003. There hasn’t been a lot of time for historians to write about what went on here before we arrived.

Mythical dragon serpent at Morris welcome area
Mythical dragon serpent at Morris welcome area commemorates ancient times before we arrived in our virtual world

The present has its roots in the past, and knowledge of our past is necessary for understanding the present. History helps us understand our foundation — how we reached the point where we are today.

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Loving an avatar girl from Nowhereville

July 28, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Dayton, Ohio, sometimes called the Gem City after a well-known racehorse, is itself famous for its Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, largest in the world. And the LexisNexis online archive of print media and legal documents used by lawyers, journalists, and academics, also largest in the world. And the annual Dayton Hamvention, also largest in the world.

Not so famous is the tiny western Ohio community of Centerville, near the big city of Dayton. It’s home to just 23,024 souls in some 10,000 households.

Rich Desoto concert series

Poster for Rich Desoto’s Nowhereville concert series. I wonder if the title should be pronounced as “now here ville” or “nowhere ville?” Those are two quite different statements.

To be fair, I should point out that Centerville is sort of famous for one thing: the largest collection of early stone houses in the state of Ohio. Many are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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Empowering the physically challenged

July 28, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

I said here the other day that Second Life empowers people facing a variety of challenges. Now Newsweek has discovered Simon Stevens operating his in-world nightclub known as Wheelies. Stevens is Simon Walsh in SL.

The magazine’s print article in the July 30, 2007, issue is here.

Simon Walsh dances in chair

Wheelies owner Simon Walsh dances in his chair.

Interestingly, Newsweek produced a video of article reporter Jessica Bennett entering SL and interviewing Stevens at his nightclub. The 33-year-old Stevens has a disability-consulting firm — Enable Enterprises — in England.

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Bluebirds soar across SL’s azure skies

July 19, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Many residents of virtual worlds say the emotions they feel while in-world are strong. So strong,in fact, that almost a quarter of all women and nearly 10 percent of men have had an online wedding.

Ah, the bliss, the joy, the happiness. Bluebirds soaring across azure skies. Tweet, tweet.

May wedding

A lovely May wedding in Second Life.

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Stranger finds island Myst clearing

July 7, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Imagine developing an entire island in Second Life. Building an elaborate infrastructure. An island so fantastically beautiful it has fans doing handstands. And then one day just demolishing it, removing it entirely, deleting it. Unthinkable, you say? Well, that is the fate of our Myst Island.

Fourteen years ago I was sitting in front of a Macintosh color computer playing with a software technology called HyperCard. I arranged stacks of virtual cards in a deck programmed with a language called HyperTalk to do this and that. It was exciting to see my screen windows change with video wipes and dissolves. Baby steps for me, but…

Elsewhere in Rl, in that same year, 1993, when the big names in published Mac games were Civilization, Prince of Persia and SimCity 2000, the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller were shuffling their HyperCard decks into a far more remarkable and potent product that they called Myst.

Myst Island in Second Life 1

It was a first-person adventure game with graphics so real for their time, so visually appealing, that they set the standard for years to come.

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The biggest July 4 fireworks display in SL

July 6, 2007

by Stone Semyorka

Imagine a spectacular night-time fireworks display over the ocean. Showers of multicolor ordinance exploding in the sky and spiraling downward. Few experiences can get your pulse racing and your senses reacting more than a dramatic show of pyrotechnics.

In cities and towns across America on July 4, public and private displays of fireworks from backyard parties to major national events were spectacles of excitement in lights and sounds.

Fireworks July 4, 2007, over Hillary Clinton 2008 Campaign HQ

As I like to say, SL mimics RL. So it was no different for Savannah Stein as she stood out on a beach in Second Life on July 4, awestruck under a huge splash of colors chasing one another across the sky above the Hillary Clinton 2008 SL Campaign headquarters.

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