The Wolf who worked for ABC

27 02 2014

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey

The Criminologist from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

They all kept telling me that I should do it, they told me over and over again, those friends of mine on a forum I was on, It could do this, it could do that, I wasn’t interested, because Second Life looked too much like a game, and I wasn’t a gamer, there would be no way that I’d ever use it.

Then I saw it on “Beyond Tomorrow” on Channel Seven, and decided that I could try it, and if I didn’t like it, I could simply leave.

I signed up.

I found myself on an island where avatars were born, and I couldn’t get off that Island, I was getting frustrated and may have logged out forever, except a friend found me and teleported me, to her.

Things started to look better, except I was still somewhat lost, but I found other friends were already in there, and they helped me get started. One of the first things I wanted to do, was to shed my human form, something many of us furries would eagerly do in real life, if it were possible.

One of my friends felt he could see the potential of Second Life and so bought us an island, which would be our home base, I was kind of shocked, buying an island was expensive, but I couldn’t stop him from getting one, and about a week later, there it was.

We were just feeling our way around, the experience was like being on another planet, and one where we were free to be ourselves completely, like some sort of hippy commune, we would walk around “naked” in this world. It’s funny, but it doesn’t take long for the avatar to feel as though it’s an extension of yourself, so when someone catches you naked, it’s a little bit embarrassing.

Furry culture thinks that sex, of any kind, is quite a normal thing, and that genitals are merely another part of the body.

I had genitals, multiple kinds for each avatar… human, equine, canine and dragon and we wore these proudly and flashed them about with gay abandon.

Psychologically it was quite interesting, there was a certain child-like thing about this stage of our lives in this virtual world.

Then I found out, via a friends forum, that ABC were investing in an island, and they wanted help, So I offered to help which was accepted, but it took months before the island opened, and there was lots of speculation and rumour about the island.

Abi, who was going to be the owner of the island, met with us on our own island, and we had a talk about how we’d set up our island, I think in general, most people want newbies to set up an island just like theirs, I think it’s an ego thing, I think we had a certain amount of pride in our island too.

The island did finally have a grand opening and loads of people went in to see it, I thought it started off really well, and I would meet some new people that day who I would get to know well over the next few years…

…Oh yes, did I say I was using Second Life every day now? It was now my main reason for using the internet, it ate data like crazy.

Later that day, a group of us were made Admins of the island, which allowed us to look after it, the fact was that ABC staff couldn’t keep an eye on it 24 hours a day, but the users could.

We could remove pests from the island, if we needed to, and we could report any technical issues with the island if anything went wrong.

Once something went very wrong, the island had pretty much vanished, and we thought that it was due to “Griefers” (a sort of internet vandal). Before we could get a definite reason for what went wrong, the story, and a photo of me flying around a deserted island, was published… but of course the story was laughable, it was a complete cockup, but loads of people read the story and many believed it.

The real story was that the computer which runs each island on Second Life, makes a backup of the island, every twelve hours or so, and during one backup, either the power failed or the computer crashed, resulting in a partial backup… so when the faulty backup was used to re-start the island, it looked as though someone had destroyed the place.

The people who run Second Life were told, and the island was started using an earlier backup, and everything went back to normal.

That’s all it was, but it’s not as exciting as the first story, is it?

I was on ABC Island a lot, trying hard to get people to come in and use it, but most people, like me at the start of this story, didn’t want to, and refused to even try it.

If they did, they’d get to the difficult first stage and give up.

Or their computer was too old and too slow to cope with Second Life.

Some people found the learning curve too steep, they either just wanted to play a game, or chat, this was over-complicated.

Or they lived way out in the country with extremely slow, or no broadband.

I knew that If we had the NBN back then, Then Second Life would have been wonderful for people in small communities around Australia, but sadly, with the woeful internet we have in regional areas, that wasn’t possible.

The Admins worked hard to get people to try Second Life, and especially our ABC Island which we were very proud of.

I should say at this point that many people thought I worked at ABC, because I was on ABC island so often, I told them that wasn’t the case, but  I did work *for* ABC, though only on a voluntary basis… Oh yes, it was work, it was surprising how much work there was, just to keep it going. If I had kept my own home that clean, the place would have been spotless.

But it was like having a really serious hobby which I was heavily involved with, so I enjoyed it.

I never had been put in a position of responsibility before, and because I wanted this project to work, I put as much into it as I could. and now I was dealing with new psychological changes, I found myself becoming strict, and if anyone disobeyed the rules, I’d get cranky about it and they’d suddenly “leave” the island.

Eventually there was another point where I gave myself a really good shake-up and told myself to lighten-up, I didn’t like what I was becoming, I wasn’t nearly as nice to people as I ought to be, at least that’s how I felt, I’ll let any of you who met me in world be the judge.

I had also, mostly been left with the job, You see, the other Admins, although they liked ABC Island a lot, and certainly helped me when I needed it, had found other creative interests and had decided to set up their own islands. They had developed and wanted to do their own things, which was great, but it had the effect of fragmenting the group.

A documentary crew had asked me to make a film about Second Life with them, which I did, but sadly, a lot of the facts about what I did on Second Life were dropped, I knew this at the time, but felt that making a film would still be fun. There was no mention of ABC because the film was made for another network, so a big part of what I really did on Second Life was left out.

I don’t blame the Director, She was under pressure from the network, who, after all, were funding the thing, but I was really quite unhappy about the result… ahh well, at least I had a few free meals and some fun.

The Doco involved Katie, My Alaskan Malamute, She had a few car rides out of it so she was happy.

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Katie and I, Taken during filming of Alter Ego: Photo – Matt Calissi, December Films.

I waited for a long time to see this Doco on air, and find out what people thought, but the network held onto it for ages, and then had some sort of review and changed from a station which played documentaries, into something which was more about general entertainment, the doco was shelved until one night, at 11pm on a December 23rd, thus, very few saw it.

As a good friend says “That’s Showbiz”.

Alas ABC was getting fewer visitors in later years, and I found myself standing around for hours, hoping someone would turn up, it was clear to me that Second Life wasn’t working, I had created Rockit, a music quiz show which did get people back to the island, but I was the only host, for what would always be a very small audience, as only a small number of people could ever be on an island at one time, We needed more hosts and more shows, Whenever anything was done which would draw an audience, it often did… but the logistics of getting it done were always difficult, there were roadblocks from ABCs side which couldn’t be overcome.

Second Life was an idea which came along at a point when computers weren’t up to the task and the internet wasn’t up to it either, If Second Life can hang in there for another ten years, then maybe it can regain some ground, but it’s going to take some imagination and some serious forward thinking, something we might have, but our government (like any right wing government) completely lacks.

This was also a time when I thought the ABC could do no wrong, but I have since seen it’s other face, and didn’t like it one bit.

When ABC Island closed down, I left Second Life completely, I had no purpose there anymore.

Wolfie Rankin

* I didn’t explain what Second Life was, Those who were there know exactly what it is, and those who weren’t, won’t care.

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Never post videos to Facebook

29 05 2013

Son, take a seat and let old Wolfie explain a few things to you *Puffs pipe* (promptly has a coughing fit because he doesn’t smoke) Son…(coughs some more) One should never, NEVER upload a video to Facebook.

Facebook is for talking and sharing, it’s not for photos and videos, photos and videos go on YouTube or Flickr, Like Milk goes in the fridge and Pasta goes in the panty, am I making myself clear?

Why?

Because, Son, If you were to post a video to Facebook, you won’t get nearly as many views.It works like this, If your Facebook friends see your video and they like it, they can share it with other Facebook users, which is all fine and good.

But, if one of your Facebook friends wants to share it on Twitter, and one of their friends sees his tweet and thinks the video might be fun to watch, but they don’t use Facebook, then they can’t see the video, which sucks for them because they miss out on the fun, and it sucks for you because you don’t get as many views as perhaps you’d like.

Always upload your videos to YouTube, copy the link from there, and paste that into your Facebook status, Then when someone else watches your video and wants to share it with others, all they need to do is just copy the link on your video, and paste it on their Twitter, Google+, WordPress or whatever else they may have.

That way your video can be watched and enjoyed by everyone equally, from whichever social network they use.

Make sense?

Good lad, Run along now.

*Sigh* ahh, kids today.





Going Backwards

18 03 2013

Australia may soon have a new right wing government, and I personally find that a very scary thought.

Strangely enough, We call them The Liberal Government, their name indicates a left wing government, but yes, they are right wing, because of this, I prefer to call them the LNP or Coalition.

While we vote for a party in Australia, most of us have a leader in mind when we vote, so in reality I think we do vote for a leader, even though they may not be on our ballot papers, when we think of the Labor Government, We think of Julia Gillard, and equally we think of Tony Abbott in opposition.

Tony has been, as is often the case with right wing governments, a bit cosy with New Limited, and it’s leader Rupert Murdoch. (as is the case with Fox News in the US which is owned by Rupert Murdoch).

Why is this a bad thing?

Imagine you own all the newspapers, some radio stations and some TV stations, and you have a lot of people reading your work, or watching it on television once they’re home, that gives you a lot of power.

For instance, if you had a friend who built houses, and you decided to tell everyone, via your media company, that your friend builds the best houses, and another bloke built poor houses, then without checking the facts a lot of your readers and viewers would believe you and go off and pay for your friend to build them a house.

Your friend would get really rich and maybe the other builder who may have even built better houses, could go broke.

And that’s the trouble with people, people believe stuff… it’s easier to believe stuff, rather than checking to see if it’s right, a lot of people say they have no time to check the facts, and often they don’t know how to.

This is why people buy particular smart phones, or vote for people, or go to church.

Belief is a fence, a handy device to keep the sheep all together in one paddock. when people believe in things, they’re far easier to control.

While it may be harder to spend time sorting out the facts, perhaps simply by reading, you could end up with a better product in the end.

A lot of people right now are being told, by News Limited, that everything Julia Gillard does is wrong, but Tony Abbott is Mr Perfect, which is a bit like saying Bohemian Rhapsody was never as good as Achy Breaky Heart.

And they’re quite happy to accept it as the truth.

But in a few months we may have a leader who doesn’t believe (so he says) in Climate Change, Thinks that we should keep mining Gas and Oil rather than look at alternatives like wind and solar, Thinks wireless internet will work just as well as fiber optic cable (as a techie I can tell you it won’t, nothing is faster than light), doesn’t seem to like migrants much, doesn’t like gays and lesbians.

If we are so easily conned, then the future will not be pretty.





What Australia will miss without an NBN

4 03 2013

The NBN confuses a lot of people, but it’s not that hard to understand.

It’s all about light, light is the fastest thing we know and it’s light which gives the NBN all that amazing speed.

OK, but surely the cheaper version the LNP are suggesting will be cheaper and better?

Not really, the new internet the LNP are suggesting will let us down in a few areas, for instance.

Very soon a new kind of TV format will be launched, called Ultra High Definition, The clarity of these sets is going to be amazing, and should make current HD TVs look like a portable colour TV from the 70s.

But there’s a problem, the only way stations can transmit the UHD TV signal, is over fiber. The signal cannot be sent through the air like standard free to air television which we’ve all been used to.

If Australia does not have the NBN in place, there will never be UHD TV in Australia, it’s that simple.

And that’s just one of the big ticket things we will miss out on, if we don’t have an NBN.

Wikipedia article on Ultra High Definition TV

Five reasons why Australias NBN is better than Google Fiber

Wolfie!





Snow Dropping

19 09 2012

My readers would know that I’m a Furry, and I identify myself via my Furry name and Avatar, which I use on every social media network I have an account with.

The thought had occurred to me that one day I may be browsing online, and see my own Avatar being used by someone else, and wondering how I’d feel about that.

This week, it happened to someone I know.

Someone had recently set up an account on a social network, found a drawing of a fox, and decided they would use it.

But they were caught.

The friend who has legitimate claim to the Avatar had paid an Artist to draw his character, and was quite miffed when they spotted this other user, using it.

A Furry Avatar in general is one which people have created themselves, not something that we just grabbed from the internet and decided that it would represent us.

If the image was not created by the owner, then it was either a commission from an Artist, or a gift from an Artist… which happens frequently in Furry circles.

Avatars are crafted with care, and can often have a long history. My “Wolf in a Circle” design goes back to 1989, when I first sketched it on a notepad with a biro.

Using another persons Avatar, to me, is a bit like leaping a fence and pinching clothes off someones washing line, and wearing those clothes out in the street.

Imagine how you’d feel if on the way to the shop, you bumped into someone wearing all your gear.

While reading this, some of you have correctly thought “Identity Theft” which is what this is, Our Furry Names and Avatars are indeed our identities, which are recognised by Furries and Non-Furries alike.

If you should see someone using a Furry Avatar which belongs to someone else, please inform them that what they’ve done is not on, and gently persuade them to get another Avatar.

If they really want a Furry avatar of their own, then there are ways and means of getting that done, simply starting a chat with Furries can put them on the right track.

Otherwise, a photo might just be enough?

Wolfie!





Stop The Trolls

12 09 2012

A Troll can be someone who spews venom all over our internet, you know, like many mainstream media providers do today in their newspapers and television stations, some of which have called for a stop to trolling, how bloody ironic.

But it can also be a useful thing, in which people who troll, me for instance, can have a dig at something I dislike… Christianity, Bigotry, Right Wing Politics, Fat Mining Magnates and various arseholes of every sex and colour.

My Trolling is the positive form of the art, I’m not telling Women they’re sluts, or telling people they should shoot themselves as they’re worthless.

Trolling can also be called “freedom of speech”.

Does this newspaper which wants to stop trolling, merely want us to sit there and shut the fuck up, like the bad old days when most of us felt like hurling a brick through the boob tube, or telling a bloke on the radio that he’s a dickhead?

And HOW is this paper proposing to stop trolling anyway? Make us use real names, force us to have just one twitter account? Come around to our house and chop our fingers off, or put something in our computers which changes our tweets from “Tony Abbott is a dry parsnip” to “I LOVE JUSTIN BIEBER” ?

The whole reason I love the internet is that it’s a two way street, this interaction is brilliant, and I won’t be silenced by a few cretins.

Wolfie!





The Spam-o-Phone

5 09 2012

I’ve decided to do something radical this week, and not answer the phone.

It’s not like I need it anyway, there are three people who contact me by phone, and that’s a rare thing, everyone else reaches me via my Social Networks, rarely via e-mail.

When the phone goes, it’s always when I’m in bed, or the shower or I’ve just pressed my bottom against the toilet seat. I’m sick of having to run and answer, only to discover it’s those twats who have “detected” my windows computer is slow, I think they want tuning as I use a Mac.

Or it’s some sort of survey, or other type of spam.

I can remember days long gone when the phone could ring quite a few times during the day and it was most often for Mum, and if it was my Aunt (who had been vaccinated with a gramophone needle, or so it was commonly said) those chats could go for hours.

But now, with so many online, what is the point of the phone?

I only have it because I can’t have ADSL without it, and apparently we can’t have naked internet in this area because of the old exchange… that and it’s a bit pricey for me anyway.

I loathe paying a phone bill, it’s entirely too much for the use I get out of it.

So, a few days ago, the phone went, and I simply ignored it, and it went again, and I kept away.

I don’t really mind, and to be honest I also hate talking on the phone, I’d far rather write down my thoughts and edit them, so I can get across what I really want to say.

And if I do want to actually talk, there’s skype.

The only thing which bothers me is there is someone who phones, who cannot use a computer, he’s
what they used to call “Backwards” not too backwards mind you, I often thought that had he lived with a family, he would have been ok… but My Cousin had looked after him since he was a child, He’s now in a “home” (for similar people) in St. Kilda.

If it wasn’t for him, then it wouldn’t matter so much. He also can’t afford to call me on my Mobile, as he has a very limited budget.

(I don’t use my mobile for anything other than the odd photo and social networking)

This technology, for me, is teetering on the edge of a cliff, oh how I’d love to give it a foot and send it on it’s way.

Wolfie!