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Aug 7

Blog Platform Designed for Book Lovers – BookLikes

Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2013 in Fandomlinks, Links

Read more here.

Jul 4

My Tumblr move

Posted on Thursday, July 4, 2013 in My life

It’s been a while since I had to leave Tumblr so I suppose it’s time to evaluate the move.

A little background info for those who missed the drama:

When I found out that Yahoo was buying Tumblr, I immediately turned to my old friend WordPress. And fortunately, WordPress was up to the challenge of transferring all my posts from Tumblr. In the end, I chose to only keep using my own photos, not all the cute and funny and informative reblogs I’d accumulated over the years. Instead, I started two new blogs to post all the interesting new articles and other pages I find on the internet.

I still miss the wonderful Tumblr community, but not surprisingly, since I’ve been using WordPress longer than Tumblr, I feel right at home here. The blog platform is just as good, if not better than Tumblr’s, but the community components, if I can refer to them that way, are a little more limited – there’s Like and Reblog, but not much more. Well, there’s also a very nice profile page, that I might start working on a bit more. What I really miss is the people, though I am beginning to make new friends on

Now I only hope that my Tumblr user info wasn’t handed over to Yahoo when they took over. I left in a hurry to avoid that, but I suppose I’ll never know.

Apr 1

Amazon buying Goodreads…

Posted on Monday, April 1, 2013 in Books, Literature

i just found out that Amazon has bought Goodreads and now I’m a little concerned. Don’t get me wrong – I like Amazon. We rent dvd:s from a film rental club they own (Lovefilm) and we buy books and dvd:s from them all the time (sometimes other stuff as well). All the same, I find myself a little doubtful about this acquisition.

So I started looking around for alternatives. I don’t use Librarything much anymore. You can only add 200 books and it seems I’ve hit the limit there. Shelfari already belongs to Amazon and that hasn’t done the site much good. What I dislike the most is that they keep trying to make me log on using my Amazon ID (I don’t have one of my own, my family and I share one).

After a couple of tries, I found several, but a few of them don’t seem to be working properly and I’ll withhold my judgment on them. Another seems really good, a lot like Librarything, only better, but I still don’t fully understand how to use it, so I’ll leave that out as well. That leaves The Reading Room. So far that seems to work great (especially importing my bookshelves from Goodreads). Actually, it seems to be very much like Goodreads, so I feel right at home.

Before I go any further, I have a confession to make – I’m not quite as diligent at posting reviews on Goodreads or Librarything as I used to. I rate the books I’ve finished and I always check online first before I buy a book, but I suppose I like to save my reviews for my own homepage/blog. Which leads me to the second really great alternative to Goodreads: Booklikes.

At first I was a bit surprised and overwhelmed when I realized that not only was it a book review site, you get your own book blog when you sign up. Now, though, I’ve decided to just see how it goes. There were only three blog themes to choose between, but I’m not sure how much I’ll post anyway, so I’m fine just getting to know the site, for now. I think I’ve imported my Goodreads books, but so far nothing shows up, so I don’t know what’s happening. Maybe it just takes time.

Anyway, I think I know enough by now to recommend both sites to book lovers looking for alternatives to Goodreads.

Finally, I’ll just mention the few Swedish book communities I’ve found. They’re not anything like the international ones, just very basic sites. That’s rather disappointing, because I try to balance my book collecting so that I buy/borrow/read almost as many titles in Swedish as in English. When it comes to French, I’m just grateful there are some titles I can get.

Jul 21

How to start using Second Life

Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Other

I thought I’d do a post about how to start using Second Life. There are other 3D worlds (for instance InWorldz) and I’ve actually used another too, OSGrid, but that was a few years ago, and I never got very far there. At the time, it was very much like SL but far less evolved. So this will be about joining SL (becoming a ‘resident’).

Signing up is quite easy. You just visit the Second Life homepage and click the Join Now link. There’s also a link to click to get more info.

I think that these days you need to provide ‘payment info’ but that doesn’t mean you have to pay anything. The basic level of Second Life membership is free and you can do enough without ever having to pay for the upgrade to a Premium account. However, if you do, you’ll get some of your money back as ‘pocket money’ every week.

Once you’ve signed up and downloaded the viewer (sort of like a web browser, except it’s in 3D, there’s the official SL viewer as well as a couple of others that you can use instead if you prefer), you need to start creating your avatar (which is a 3D version of yourself if you like and in any case, it’s your alter ego inside the 3D environment).

If you think it’s difficult to customize your avatar you can start out with one of the ready made avatars included in your inventory. There are actually quite a few to choose between, both male and female, realistic or more fantasy like. For instance, you can be a vampire or an elf/fairy, or a gladiator. There are also some ‘future’ and steampunk people.

In fact, if you want to spend money in SL you could be anything you like, such as a famous actor, a robot, a pony, teddy bear or even a plant. Anything goes. Even if you’re not interested in upgrading or putting real money into your SL account, you can mix and match the several different items of clothing, hair, skin and shapes that come with each avatar to create your own unique avatar.

There are also several freebie places to teleport to (that’s how you get around in SL – from region to region – in SL regions are called sims). The freebies are usually of quite low quality, unlike the things included in your basic avatars.

After you’ve finished creating your avatar, you might want to go to a ‘newbie’ or ‘noob’ orientation place. There are several different ones, and you probably end up in one of them right away. That will be your first ‘home’ (the place you always return to and log in to). If you upgrade and buy land you can have your own home, but some sims allow you to join their group and then set home there. For instance, the communal SL Botanical Gardens is one such place that allows ordinary residents to set home in their sim.

After that you can just start exploring, socializing, listening to music or maybe even building things. Some people make buildings, others furniture. You can also focus on trees and other things to put in your garden. Then again, you could learn to make clothing and other items for avatars, including hair (which is quite a complex process, I believe). Building or creating items is one good way to make money inside SL.

You can also use real money and exchange them for Linden dollars (the SL currency). There’s actually an exchange rate. The good news is that one L is not worth much. I think it’s less than a cent/penny. So if you do decide to splash out on some fancier items a little real money goes a very long way.

Finally, I’ll just mention the different groups. The majority of groups are really no fun at all, from my point of view. They’re just a way of marketing items for sale, even though supposedly, you as a member will get good offers. There are also specialized groups such as ones for veg*ans or music lovers. If you join a music group, you’ll get notifications about upcoming music events. Sometimes real life famous artists come and perform in SL, and sometimes you get really great ‘amateur’ performers as well. There are all kinds of different types of music, from medieval and baroque to jazz, rock and pop, so there’s something for everyone. The events I mentioned above are actually live events. Someone is singing and/or playing music at their homes, sometimes in real studios and you get to listen to them in SL, using your avatar and the viewer interface.

If you’d like to take a look at some sims in SL, you’re welcome to visit this Tumblr. There are plenty of images from different sims in SL and you get to see some adapted basic avatars as well.

Jun 19

Second Life revisited

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 in Other

It seems it’s been ages since I last posted anything about Second Life. That’s because it’s been ages since I was in there. Lately though, I’ve found myself missing it and wanting to go back. Since I don’t have a strong enough computer, I’m lucky that I can use my sister’s (or rather, our company’s).

Things seem to have changed enormously since I was last logged in, or maybe it was just that I was too ignorant to be aware of all the bells and whistles.

Just to be clear, my interest in Second Life is mainly ‘playing with paper dolls’ – that is, customizing my avatar – giving her a great hairdo, lovely clothes etc. For instance, lovely or not, I have taken photos of my own eyes, lips and skin to create an avatar ‘skin’, so much of my avatar is really me.

Another interest is exploring. Unlike most people, I don’t come to SL to meet someone to chat with, I just ‘travel’ around and visit fascinating ‘sims’ (regions).

Just a little background: Second Life is one of the most famous 3D communities. It’s a world where ‘the men are men, the women too, and the children are FBI’. That’s a joke that hints at one of the rather unsavoury aspects of SL – virtual prostitution, in this case ‘age play’, meaning people (men, I suppose) pay someone else (usually women, I imagine) to use a child avatar to sell virtual sex.

To return to the more attractive aspects of SL, I have just discovered something really cool in the advanced settings of the SL viewer (it’s a sort of 3D graphic browser). A few years ago, one of the representatives of Linden lab (the company behind SL) promised radically improved graphics, so much so that it will feel like stepping into a high quality animated movie. He wasn’t exaggerating. If you’re willing to sacrifice RAM, you can get that sort of image quality now. The vistas are breathtaking. It really is like logging into a movie. Everything is animated. The avatars and buildings cast shadows. The water reflects sunlight in a way that looks almost real. You can see the wind ruffling your avatar’s hair.

I’m glad I’ve rediscovered SL. It may not be ‘work useful for society’ as my grandmother used to put it, but it is fun and fun is exactly what I need to distract myself from everyday life – my First Life.

Jun 10

Second Life – a Language School?

Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 in Humanities, Other

It’s kind of funny. I’ve been a member of a number of different language sites and I still use one regularly. Many different people contact me, wanting to ‘learn’ Swedish, without taking any classes. Some just want to practice their English. No one stays in touch for long. I can’t say I’ve had much use for the exchange.

Strangely enough, in the relatively short time I’ve been in Second Life, I’ve already felt that I can express myself more freely, especially in French and Spanish. Not as much in Italian and German, but at least there’s some improvement.

I don’t have that many close friends in SL, but that doesn’t really matter. The constantly new people who want advice or help or – in some cases- who want to help me, will ask or tell me things in their languages. I need to find the right words or expressions quickly, almost as if I was in France or Spain or wherever it is.

Sure I need to let go of my demands for perfection. My sentences tend to be simple and basic, as I used to express myself in the years before I first went to school (when it comes to Swedish) or the first years of learning English (roughly ten to thirteen).

That’s not really a problem. I can make myself understood and my brief acquaintances appreciate the fact that I respond in their languages. It might be hard to believe, but there are some ‘residents’ of SL who aren’t fluent in English.

This even made me want to learn Portuguese too. Several times I’ve been unable to chat with the Brazilians who get in touch, hoping I’m a Portuguese speaker too. Who knows, some of those people might be really nice.

So, now I can add another advantage to being in SL. In a way, it’s a pretty good language school. If this is making you a bit curious, why don’t you drop in? There’s just one thing – you’ll need a quite modern and strong computer. Other than that, it’s not difficult. Besides, if you’re not that good at for instance English, there will most likely be people from your country in world already. Search for groups for people from your country or people speaking your language and join them. From the start, you’ll have some people to talk to.

Feb 25

Adventures in 3D land

Posted on Sunday, February 25, 2007 in Other

Ok. I’ll admit it. That title – I just made it up because it looks cool. So far I haven’t had any adventures of any kind in 3D land. Not that I want to. That kind of adventure.

Let’s start at the beginning. Last summer I let myself be talked into joining Second Life. My sister was already hooked and she thought I’d like it too. In a way, I did. It’s a fantastic 3D environment. Better than any other attempt I’ve seen in the nine years I’ve been online. What’s missing is some content.

I’m not Bob the Builder. I’m not there to look for sexual contacts either. What else is there? Well, according to my sister, who is the only one I know in there, you can chat. Socialize. Like in any other social networking community. There are even groups, for people with all kinds of interests.

So I joined them. There were actually groups for most of the things I’m interested in. Unfortunately, that didn’t help at all. They seem too haphazard and vague for me. Or maybe it’s just that it’s hard to fit in. The people in those groups are presumably already friends. Maybe it’s my shy Scandinavian temperament. Who knows? In any case it didn’t help.

Supposedly, there are also all kinds of ‘real life’ events too. Concerts. Pub performances. Even online courses or lectures arranged by respectable universities. Lately, Sweden, yeah, that’s right, my country, has started a cultural embassy inside the virtual community.

So far though, I haven’t found my place in there.

What I have done, which I’ve enjoyed enormously, is create my avatar. It’s more fun than you might think. Certainly more fun than I expected. In real life I’m nobody’s fashion freak. In Second Life makeovers are a breeze. You just go shopping for new hair, new clothes, even new skins and shapes.

Shopping… Well, as you know there are women who love shopping then there are others who don’t. I belong in the latter category. Unless you let me loose in a bookstore with lots of spending money, shopping simply doesn’t appeal to me. I guess I’m too much of a tomboy at heart. Tech stuff is nice too, if even more expensive. Other than that, I just can’t stand shopping sprees.

In Second Life it’s just so much easier and practical. Unfortunately, it’s just as expensive and being the cheap weirdo that I am, I absolutely refuse to ‘buy’ Lindens – the currency, not the founders… Not sure if those are for sale… LOL.

That brings me to the most typical aspect of Second Life. Money. Business. People actually run businessed in there. Make believe businesses, selling make believe stuff. Believe it or not, someone’s actually become a real life millionaire selling (or rather speculating in) land.

I’ve been forced to learn new ways of making money. Being who I am, I absolutely refuse to join the sex industry. When it comes to sex, I’d rather buy than sell. Just kidding. About the buying part, not about the selling part. That’s my final word. Fortunately, there are a few more ways of making money.

So now I’ve become a professional dancer. LOL. No, not quite, but I do ‘camp’ for Lindens. Most addicts (did I say addicts? Slip of the tongue). Most residents frown on that, but camping is available and so I camp to make money. I sit in a chair or I dance. As simple as that. Of course you don’t make much and there are many pitfalls and hangups. You can get logged out. Some camping providers (is that the word, SL:ers?) kick you out on purpose so you have to pay a little fee to start over again. If you’re not careful you end up losing money instead of making it.

Anyway, let’s say I have a little hard earned cash. I head for the luxurious stores. In Second Life shopping really is a pleasure. You can walk around those endless halls, gazing at the merchandise hanging on the walls. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for (and being me, I’m extremely picky) you click on the item you’ve chosen and voilà ! You’ve bought it.

One of the worst aspects of Second Life is that it can be extremely sexist. I’m not going to get into the more ‘adult’ examples of this. Suffice it to say that the female apparel is slutty. There’s no other word for it. You’re expected parade your poor avatar around half-naked. Not me. Not this girl.

There. Enough for now. This is the end of my (possibly first) report from 3D land.


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