• warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 34.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_comment::init() should be compatible with views_handler_field::init(&$view, $options) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/modules/comment/views_handler_field_comment.inc on line 49.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 607.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 13.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 134.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 744.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 159.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/ordinal/ordinalmalaprop.com/engine/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 906.

Self-Indulgence

A slight feeling of optimism

It seems odd to say it, but I have been rather more optimistic about Second Life recently. Not to the extent of doing anything, admittedly, but there are a few things which have made me tilt my head to one side, raise my eyebrows and briefly nod.

  • I quite like Mr Rodvik Linden's public persona - doing things inworld, building houses around books and so on. A lack of an immediate overwhelming strategy, in favour of learning about how things work first. Whilst as we all know that Second Life Is Not A Game, perhaps somebody who is experienced with Games is more appropriate than somebody who concentrates more on, say, Social Media Strategy.

    Obviously I am not so green1 as to think that his public persona indicates his real attitude, but it does indicate that he or at least people around him are aware of the sort of things which would sit well with Residents, and perhaps make them think that the LindenBoss was One Of Them. Simply having that awareness is a marked improvement, and, in terms of policy...

  • There has been a failure recently to implement anything particularly absurd and regressive. (Well, all right, not as much absurd and regressive stuff as I was expecting.)

  • For the first time in quite a while, I had an idea, thought "that would be terrific in Second Life", and didn't then think "but it's clearly completely pointless to do it there, let my try to shoehorn it into Inform or a web thing or a short story or oh I don't know where is the gin".

  • Hamlet thinks that Second Life is dying. This makes me think that it isn't.


  1. My mother is known to say "I'm not so green as I'm cabbage-looking". I am not sure of the sense of this. 

The Perversity of Return

Staring at the water Since my general removal of all products from the Grid, some readers might have noticed that I have not been entirely absent myself (not that I said that I would be, but it has caused some occasional surprise; less so now). I do pop in and out to attend functions and vaguely chit-chat. In fact, those who follow my Twitterthing might have even noticed that recently I have been doing some actual scripting, and playing with what passes for a Marketplace these days. Lawks. Not merely for the Twitterbox, either (progress on which I shall mention in a future post). I replaced the Festive Humbugs for sale - as very kindly mentioned by Ms Breezy Carver before I had even mentioned the fact - and have been working on at least releasing some of the items that I had previously mostly finished but not gotten around to doing anything about. I have even been attempting to finish the "avlink" module for Drupal to provide a framework for folk to easily manage Second Life (and Opensim) information on a Web Sort Of Basis.

I was wondering what my motivation might be for this - though it is nothing like a Return To Business As Usual, which will never happen. Attempting to do so, even if I were so inclined, would be doomed to failure; one can never return to what has gone before in that way (I have seen it tried several times). One must move forward or sideways or in some direction, not try to return to a previous state, which likely was not terrific or you would not have left in the first place.

Motivations, though.

~*~

Firstly there is simple boredom and lack of a suitable replacement outlet for creativity. Somewhat tragically, I'm afraid that I have spent so long turning my every passing thought into an idea for Second Life that I have found it very difficult to adjust to other media. I do write somewhat, but I am really not used to it and these days just do not think in terms of non-interactive fiction, or even interactive ones involving just the author and reader. I am used to my inventions becoming part of a huge self-creating mutual web of narrative: people taking and building on products, suggestions, character, insults etc for their own purposes and expanding the web similarly themselves. Much of the result likely completely unknown to me.

Admittedly, doing almost anything affecting another person makes one part of the world's emergent narrative (often termed "life") but working on the Grid always seemed to allow a far more direct effect, or at least used to. Part of the reason that I removed the shop was that I felt that I was losing that, and that the divisions in the world were becoming far more extreme between "consumer" and "creator", both practically and in terms of perception - residents being increasingly seen as consumers of the goods of professional creators, coincidentally paying to contribute their own social content (the main aspect that keeps folk about and spending - thus increasingly like the unholy, blasphemous Book That Must Not Be Named). But I have said all that and don't feel the need to say it again. The Rabbitcon has already been crossed after all and Satire is Dead for the nth time.

~*~

Which brings me to the Second Reason, which is that it is only fair that, after throwing my scripted rattle out of my physics-enabled pram previously, it is only fair to return and see if my opinion has changed in practice, and the only way to see whether that is the case is to actually attempt to do something. Thus far I have to say that I am not that impressed, but I shall follow it through for a while.

~*~

The Third Reason, however, is somewhat more perverse, and I have only admitted it to myself quite recently. I have always complained about events that I did not appreciate, which I feel is a rational and reasonable thing to do so long as those complaints might contribute in any way or even make one feel better. I do like to think, though, that mostly I was able to appreciate potential and positives, and when I was not I apologise. The balance between the number of perceived negatives and positives has changed over time, though (otherwise I would still be happily gluing plywood together).

I have said before that I thought that SL was moving in a direction that not only did I not like but which would end in disaster, but nowadays I have the distinct impression that it has gone very, very far down that particular spiral, and may not recover. And something in me likes the idea of being around and involved to see that, and appreciate the last days. I could of course be wrong, and very much hope that I am, but increasingly events suggest that the entire Laboratory is being turned towards the direction that is currently so popular with "Social Networks" - the delusional split between consumer/creator, as previously stated, where consumer-users sit about paying for things made by businesses, hopefully without appreciating that in fact, they themselves are the only valuable thing in the network.

I was always of the opinion that SL was far ahead of its time in that respect, as it appreciated that resident were the valuable thing that would attract other residents, and giving them tools and opportunities to improve the quality of the content they casually created (socially, artistically, commercially) would build a strong and resilient community. I had great doubts as to how well these tools were being supported, but not regarding the overall strategy. Now, it is not the same. I don't consider that any Network has a long-term future using the pay-to-consume strategy, and I particularly do not think that SL does, as by its nature it must put an awful lot more effort into maintaining the basic infrastructure for consumption than somebody just running a website, so is more vulnerable to changes in user preference and migration.

~*~

Thus I now have a Ballardian sense of being in a collapsing world, and, you know, I like it. I want to be sipping cocktails at a commandeered infohub as the sims around me are finally closed forever, sending long-abandoned plywood newbie builds into the void. As the sun sets for the last time on the grid, I promise you I will be there watching it, and you are welcome to join me for Damage-Enabled Gin and some nibbles.

Chin chin!

Asking Ordinal about products

I am of course delighted to help anyone who has issues with any products that I sell or distribute. However, it is often the case that a product which lists me as the creator was only originally created by me.

I provide an awful lot of scripted free items, which people then modify and re-distribute. Whilst I do not mind this (unless said people are distributing them unmodified, for profit) I do not support the resultant items.

Here are a few simple pointers that might help you to determine whether or not I know anything about an item:

  • Did you obtain the item from my shop? If so, yes, that would be something I would support.

  • Is it a "drinks fridge" or a "riding bull"? These are not mine. Please do not ask me about them. They are based on my scripts, that is all.

  • "But it says you are the creator!" Yes, because, probably, I made the original free item, which has then been modified. This is not a guide.

A Request for Suggestions Regarding Adult Content

It is my Rezday today, and given that, I decided to make myself a Present of 512 Square Metres of land. (Tier for which I will not be paying due to my Premium Status - a term which always makes me feel like some sort of ham. Premium Ordinal Meat, L$100 per pound!)

In any case: I have bought a small plot at Raindown (137,57). My intention there is to make an actual Adult Library; things which actual adults might be interested in, as opposed to the ridiculous fantasies of adolescents pretending to be older than they are, or older folk pretending to be younger than they are.

I would welcome suggestions as to the sort of Adult Content which might be included here. Mortgages? The obtaining of a Pension? How to deal with a particularly persistent Paramour whom one half-desires and is likely to be weak towards, yet whose actions are clearly harmful? (Cease all communication no matter of what sort!) And so on.

Self-Examination; or, Not Protest But Preservation

A Thing has recently occurred to me - well, in fact, the Thing is not in itself that new, but more a confluence of Two Other Observations which I had thought Independent.

~*~

The first is that I have not been Upon The Grid an awful lot recently. This is something that does come to the Elderly - reduced Mobility - and I had thought it mostly a symptom of one of those periods of general Ennui that is known to afflict us all, and attempted to treat it with assorted Creative Linctuses. (Lincti? Lincta? Oh, Latin was never my strongest subject.) I have forced myself into Harsh Regimens of Strict Notebooking and a diet of Ink and Pencils, and Providence, or future Biographers, or more likely Puzzled Public Servants tasked with disposing of my Affairs, will be able to attest that my personal Notebooks are really quite full of all sorts of ideas; my Project List is bulging, my Tasks overflow.

Yet despite a million interesting things to do I have not actually done them. In contrast, in matters not related to Second Life I have found that I have had no issue. For instance, I have a toy project building what could be termed a "browser MMO". With this, I have had no motivational or practical issues at all, despite it being considerably less pretty and considerably shallower than many of my Second Life plans.

~*~

The second is that I despise Chat Lag. I have been through the usual phases here - firstly, Amusement:

Ha ha, my words are out of order and my sentences appear minutes after I have said them, making it impossible to communicate! Let me see if I can exploit this for Comic Effect, ho ho!

then Acceptance:

Oh well, my words are out of order and my sentences appear minutes after I have said them, making it impossible to communicate. I suppose that it is Friday*.

* please change day as appropriate

then Fruitless Anger:

Gah! My words are out of order and my sentences appear minutes after I have said them, making it impossible to communicate! This is driving me absolutely potty! It must be addressed immediately!

but really, these days it is more:

Oh. My words are out of order blah blah. So either I don't speak or I am unpredictably frustrated when I speak. (logs out)

Because of course

  • it is not funny;
  • waiting does not make it better; and
  • complaining does not make it better (though does not make it worse either); and
  • the only thing to do is react as appropriate.

A Movement Drupalwards

Not, you understand, that there is anything wrong with the popular Journalling System, "Wordpress", but I have for the time being left it alone and moved the Engine Fit For My Proceeding And Apparently Fit For Yours Since You Do Seem To Be Reading It to work using that hive of open-source Communism, "Drupal".

The reasons for this are fairly straightforward, and I shall list them briefly here.

  1. I wished to see whether I could, whilst leaving all of the links to my Previous Journalings intact, and also without interfering with the existing Appearance and Function. (Apparently I could, as far as I can tell, anyway. If something appears Wrong please do inform me as soon as possible.)

  2. I poke and tinker with the DrupalThing on a professional basis very regularly, a circumstance which results in a pleasing Symbiosis. My professional poking and tinkering experience allows me to rapidly and effectively poke and tinker with this system personally, and the more that I interfere with it on a personal basis, the greater my Skill and the greater the benefit to my Employers; thus a Smile is brought to the faces of all parties concerned, and in these trying times, heaven knows the more Smiles that exist in the world, the Better.

  3. Keen observers will have noticed that I do, on occasion, refer to Scripts and Other Code on this Journal. The WordpressWotsit is not particularly good for storing the Inner Workings of said items, being mostly designed to keep track of Posts and Pages. Previously, I have been storing Scripts upon a Wiki, which is a rather crude solution. The DrupalThing, on the other hand, has the benefit of allowing one to create arbitrary "content types" with different fields and Display Options, and also take advantage of types generously provided by the Community; to this end I have utilised the "geshinode" module to allow me to add specific "source code" entries, and I have further tinkered with bits and pieces to have these entries wider than usual and with an area that allows me to easily link them to explanatory journal entries. As well as this, the "views" module allows me to simply generate a categorised list of them, which you, dear reader, may see by visiting the "Scripts" link at the top of the page.

  4. In general, really, the DrupalThing is more easily Configurable and Extensible. Some readers may be aware that my current main Employer is the firm "Rezzable" and I have quite some history of creating various Interactions between their Drupal Site and the Second Life Grid - and, I might add, other grids, if that is not too bizarre a concept. Whilst I have no current plans to do anything along those lines here, the possibilities exist. For instance I may well begin to list my own Products here as well, store documentation for them, that sort of thing.

I could not, in all Honesty, recommend the DrupalThing for the typical Writer of Sequential Prose - in most cases Wordpress is a far better solution. It does however suit my Tinkering Instincts and thus I have engaged in this Movement. I would hope that nobody is Inconvenienced at all and, in fact, that the General Utility of my Witterings is Greatly Enhanced by this process.

On Short Notice: Everything I Know About LSL, I Have Learnt By Scripting Weapons

I really should have mentioned this before, but, well, I have never been precisely the most Organised of Writers. On the morrow, at 2pm SLT or 10pm Greenwich Mean Time, I shall be the host of a Seminar on the topic of Weaponry, during which I shall be engaging in my usual Unfocussed Chatter regarding Scripting and Design and History and such.

http://newbabbage.ning.com/forum/topics/second-aether-salon-november

Please do feel free to attend.

Eight Possibly Apocryphal Things

The latest fashion amongst Diarists, I gather from chatter in the coffee shops and eating houses, is apparently to post eight things about themselves in some manner which were previously unknown, and, having done so, suggest to eight other Diarists that they should do the same. I confess that this does sound somewhat like a plan that my brother Cardinal came up with, except that he included a further instruction to send a shilling to the person from whom you received the initial request, which led to the drastic impoverishment of many Scribblers (and consequently, coffee shops) and a short stretch for my brother at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Given that there is no such instruction here and that I was "tagged" by the explorer Ms Bettina Tizzy I thought that I might partake on this uneventful Saturday evening. Here are eight Facts of Significant Import concerning myself.

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ol>

  • I am allergic to Nickel. This causes occasional issues during my activities, but confined mostly to an occasional rash which is easily countered by the application of a medicinal cream.

  • I am the most appalling shot imaginable. During my earlier years, when my Father was instructing me in the handling of Firearms - I mean no disrespect clearly when I term him an eccentric man, who had ideas regarding the role of Woman in Society, and particularly his own daughter, that were distinctly out of step with those more generally held - he regularly despaired.

    "For G-d's Sake, Ordinal!" he would cry out in the field next door to the Hertfordshire home where I spent my early years, scaring the crows far more than my awkward shots. "It is simple, hold your hand steadier girl, and do not spasmically yank at the trigger like that. And put that screwdriver away! That is a perfectly good revolver and needs no additional parts inserted."

    I grew up entirely unthreatening to any targets, and it was only when one stray bullet aimed at an empty jar instead went through a hedge and into the wheel of a passing cart, causing its complete collapse, the spilling of its cargo of illicit whisky, and three unsavoury types to angrily leap the hedge and chase the pair of us to our very door, where they were only discouraged by the arrival of a shotgun in the hands of my papa, that he decided that perhaps it was not advisable that I continue in this particular mode of education. Instead, my mother forced me to read more Milton. In retrospect I have to say that the .455 calibre is not terribly suitable for eleven-year-old girls.

  • One thing in which I am skilled which surprises folk at times is that I can play the trombone. It was the opinion of my mother that every child should learn an instrument, for their own artistic pleasure in the future, though it is well known that children (except on very occasional occasions) have no interest in their own futures, or at least no interest in any future which requires music practice now.

    Given that I was forbidden from the piano after ruining it almost beyond repair - I merely wondered how it worked - an alternative had to be sought, and the only thing that was available in the locality was a trombone owned by a fellow from the North, who used to play in a colliery band. The poor chap had developed a lung condition from his exposure to coal dust but offered to instruct me in its use, and I surprised my parents by being particularly willing to visit him for lessons. Actually, I confess, I spent much of my time talking to him about mining machinery, but without some progress with the trombone I would not have been allowed to continue, thus it was necessary that I actually learn to play it.

    I dare say that the number of female trombonists in the world is fairly small, though I have not played for some decades and do not even own a trombone now.

  • Initially at University I had no interest in my current profession, but instead rejected it and chose to study Mathematics and Philosophy. Not only was this more approved of as something for a lady - well, certainly compared to engineering - but I had entered a regrettable adolescent phase of Romanticism, rejecting my earlier interests and instead dressing in the most terrible purple, mooning purposely after the most witless of fellow Romantics and composing the most awful poetry.

    I spent a couple of my undergraduate years studying the Classics of both fields and the work of more daring modern Logicians and Thinkers, before coming to the following conclusions:

    1. Mathematics is terribly difficult if one is to do any more than simply use it (I have heard vague references to some American thinker, "Malibu Stacy" I think, saying the same);
    2. Philosophy is all very well but often propounded by people who could not write, and should have been beaten harder;
    3. Philosophy is routinely studied by complete halfwits who would not recognise proper Thought if it were to insert itself into their skulls via a large syringe.

    These did discourage me and quite quickly I moved to the study of the Difference Engine, in which my College was internationally renowned, and discovered for myself that it was in fact much more the sort of thing that I had always wished to do. I am known to occasionally wear purple now but I do not write poetry, an activity which should only be attempted by those who are any good at it.

  • Jam Tomorrow, Jam Today

    Some Marmalade (not Jam)
    Yesterday

    The talented Mr Nicholaz Beresford has a critical and apropos response to his Majesty Philip's recent missive, "Long Road Behind, Long Road Ahead", in which he makes a telling point.

    A new Forum; an old Complaint

    stippled_script2.jpgWhilst somewhat re-enabled in Aethernet terms, I am still unable to enter the Grid itself, and have been attempting to ameliorate the symptoms of my withdrawal with such things as the Scripting Section of the Official Forums.

    To tell the truth I have been there infrequently of late. Previously I would spend many hours bickering over semicolons, but I have found it drawing me less and less in recent months until I barely ever participate unless at an extremely loose end. I am not entirely sure what caused this change; perhaps it was the closure of many parts of it and the enforcement of apparently somewhat arbitary conditions, making the place far less welcoming as a whole, or perhaps there was some Social Shift, with either the tenor of new participants changing or the departure of those I previously enjoyed engaging with. Or, perhaps, it is entirely down to a change in my own character.

    “Frustration” by Sally Dunham
    “Frustration” by Sally Dunham

    One thing that most definitely has put me off ever returning, or at least offering actual Script-Code Solutions, is the current impossibility of posting up any sort of Code in any sort of Legible Form. I fear that I became infuriated by this and vowed never to return, or at least never to attempt to put up examples again. This is yet another manifestation of the dread [#WEB-156] BBCode not working on official SL Forums, one the annoyance of which I had not fully appreciated (and believe me, I have been incredibly annoyed by it already). This one thing now makes the huge Scripting Library unreadable and greatly discourages any further contributions, as well as vastly increasing the effort required to actually help anyone with their own problems or post solutions. Short queries and functions and theoretical discussions are bearable, but the prospect of struggling through some poor novice's hundred lines of unformatted code in order to chase down curly brackets is enough to make one simply not bother.

    {}?

    It all infuriates me even more as there are dozens of people eager to help with this, perhaps the most opaque skill within Second Life for a beginner or Non-Technical Sort to deal with, yet they face obstacles which even have the effect of making previous stored advice less valuable. A grid full of professional Old Resident engineers, lonely newer auto-didacts and terrible ancient scripts handed down from generation to generation due to the lack of anything more recent and efficient is not the sort of vision I have ever had, and discussion and mutual education at least goes some way to preventing this dystopia and helping the broadest group and greatest number of people. Even if one has no intention of dirtying one's hands with any sort of Coding, one may still benefit from proper samples to be cut and pasted directly into an In-World Device.

    As a small sticking-plaster I have now set up my own Scripting Colloquium, where one might post Code in a manner which can actually be Read (as well as Images and Links and Things In Italics and So On). These things rarely survive for more than a few weeks, and it may die an undignified death, but I would encourage anyone with scripts and questions about scripts who is put off discussion within the Official Forums by this or other matters to visit and participate. At the least it may build up some useable examples.

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