A look back at 2014

-The Bay-, Cats (Rated: Adult)

-The Bay-, Cats (Rated: Adult). Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

I think it’s time to reflect a bit upon the year that’s already behind me now, at least as I’ve covered it through this blog, and to the extent to which I’ve covered it. For those new to this blog, I started blogging in a semi-systematic manner in November 2012, and have moved the content of my previous blog to this one in May 1st, 2013, while keeping the old one for the sake of posterity and comparison – although it’s no longer being updated. Truth be told, I never wanted to worry about being the first to cover new developments in Second Life and similar virtual worlds; real life is hectic enough as it is.

2014 brought about several changes in the way I experience and cover Second Life; the acquisition of new hardware (see here) has made SL far more usable and enjoyable for me, and I’ve been able to venture to regions that are heavy on one’s graphics card without fearing lag as much as in previous times. Yes, investing in good (not necessarily high-end) hardware does pay dividends and makes a huge difference in what you see in-world. So, I do expect I’ll be in a far better position to both accompany my posts with better in-world images and write travelogue-style articles more often.

Statistics-wise, my blog’s views nearly doubled since 2013 (31,784 from 16,427), and it’s had 19,306 unique visitors (8,967 in 2013).

My blog's overall statistics for 2013. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog’s overall statistics for 2013. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog's overall statistics for 2014. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

My blog’s overall statistics for 2014. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

In 2014, I published 88 posts; 12 down from 2013, when I had posted exactly 100; as I mentioned earlier, RL was more hectic, so… Anyway, the ten most popular of these posts were:

  1. Time to stop bashing Second Life for its sexual side – 780 views in 2014
  2. My experience with the new (fitted) mesh avatars – 562 views in 2014
  3. Mirror effects through Firestorm – 500 views in 2014
  4. SL tier: Is it really too high? – 491 views in 2014
  5. Sex in Second Life and shoddy punditry – 465 views in 2014
  6. Building to scale in Second Life – 418 views in 2014
  7. Linden Lab amends Section 2 of its ToS – 320 views in 2014
  8. Of darker desires, technosexuality and posthumanism – 301 views in 2014
  9. LHOOQ and Naked Gallery (NSFW) – 292 views in 2014
  10. Thoughts on the (non-)changes to Section 2.3 of LL’s ToS – 288 views in 2014

2014 also marked a decision on my part to dedicate my blog to commenting on developments concerning SL and virtual worlds rather than covering news the moment they happen; also, I started focusing more on what my experience of SL and virtual worlds means to me, and their role in allowing people to express themselves, socialise, and create through such environments.

The Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13

An upper-class house in Lawrence, as shown at The Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13. “My dear, if your husband strikes you, it means that he cares about you. Try not to make him jealous.” – “Patience, dear. Your own peaceful demeanor and moderation should help him model his behavior.” – Words women were supposed to live by at the time. Please click on the picture for the full-size version.

That said, the year we left behind wasn’t without its own important events and developments: Rod Humble and the Lab parted ways, and Ebbe Altberg was appointed new CEO; a new (pay-to-play or subscription-based) way of accessing SL with full visuals on low-end and mobile systems, was launched by OnLive under the name of SL Go; not to be outdone by Philip Rosedale’s High Fidelity, LL started developing Second Life’s successor; LSL control of materials (normal and specular maps) was added, further empowering content creators; the Lab put an end to the widespread abuse perpetrated by owners / operators of landbots; the Basilique Performing Arts Company premiered what was the most ambitious in-world theatrical show so far, a remarkable adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost; the Bread and Roses Strike exhibit at LEA13 proved yet again how effective SL (and similar virtual worlds) is for the academic world and for helping students understand the historical and social context of the events they’re examining; and so on. In all, it was an interesting, eventful year, and I wish I had more time on my hands to blog about everything that’s been happening. But the day has only 24 hours, and there’s only so much one can fit in them. Perhaps I should ask Inara Pey to send me a few of her minions to help me out…

At the Sea of Cubic Dreams

At the Sea of Cubic Dreams exhibit at LEA25. Click on the picture for the full-size version.

At any rate, seeing people visit and re-visit my blog to read what I have to say, offer “likes” and comments, hints, suggestions, recommendations, ideas, and support, is very rewarding and a great honour. It’s wonderful to know that people relate to my thoughts and opinions. I want to thank you all for your continued appreciation and support; for the “likes”, the tweets, retweets, plurks, replurks, Facebook and Google+ shares, for your suggestions, ideas, feedback, recommendations, even for pointing out things I missed. While it is true that I use my blog mostly for my own self-expression, without your support and feedback, it simply wouldn’t be what it is now.

Once again, thank you all, and may 2015 be an exciting and pleasant year!

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