Thursday, July 26, 2007
Relay This Weekend!
Well, the day I've been planning for for the last few months is finally almost here. This saturday afternoon, the SL Relay for Life begins! Should be fun, aside from being awake for something like 24 hours straight, and walking on the treadmill for much of that time. Teams are frantically putting the finishing touches on what are turning out to be some pretty amazing builds. Even if you're not participating, you should drop by and take a look. There's some great things afoot in the RelayForLife sims!
By fortunate turn of fate, I came into possession of an abandoned team sim (thanks to Tayzia Abattoir for procuring it for me), for use as my official HQ. It was short notice (the previous team backed out at the last second), but I think I've come up with a reasonable base camp. I've moved over a modified version of SkyLounge Tower, as well as a few picnic tables and a nice little pond. There's an annex of my shop in the base of the tower, as well, in hopes of raking in a few more charity Lindenbucks on the day of the Relay. Of course, all sales go to the SLRFL. If you're considering donating, you might want to drop by my camp and see if anything catches your fancy. There's a donation kiosk available as well.
I've also created a webcam to monitor my walking progress. Said cam is streamed into the camp, both on the screen shown above (located behind the pond) and on multiple screens at the top of the tower. I'm tentatively thinking about doing a two-hour-on, one-hour-off schedule for as long as I can manage. We'll see how long that lasts.
Unfortunately, I'm stuck with a rather crappy webcam. Apparently, cheap cams nowadays don't come with focus controls. They're all fixed focus at about 36 inches. This is fine for its intended use (video conferencing and such, with the cam sitting on your monitor), but not so good for recording across a room. I opted to stick with my old camera, in spite of its poor quality, because it has adjustable focus. Given that I'll likely never use this thing again, I'd rather donate the money to SLRFL than buy an expensive webcam with better quality and focus controls.
Besides, there's less chance of me becoming a LOLcat or some such if the image is this poor. Have to plan for those kinds of things on the modern Interweb.
If you'd prefer, you can also watch the webcam, as well as read a bit more about the project, at my Walking in the SL Relay for Life page. This page also tells a little more about my personal reasons for walking (and, incidentally, explains in part why my weblog posts have been so sparse lately). If you're interested, please take a look at the FAQ on that page.
You can see the measures I've taken to document my walk, and prove that I'm actually doing what I claim. (I've yet to figure out what people think I'd have to gain from faking this, but many folks seemed to think this project would be a failure if it wasn't recorded and documented. Odd.) Each picture (updates every 15 seconds, in deference to my mediocre bandwith) is timestamped. There's a matching analog clock in the frame, as well. (I ended up having to tape black strips of cardboard on the clock hands, so that they'd show up on my mediocre equipment.) I've rigged a simple pedometer HUD to track my SL and RL mileage, and periodically e-mail my RL miles back to the base camp counter, so that my throngs of adoring fans can cheer every mile. I've also added a dry-erase board behind me (not shown in this pic- added later). Drop me an IM if you'd like me to say "hi!"
As an aside, I probably won't be able to have any extended conversations during all this. It's surprisingly difficult to type and walk at the same time!
Unfortunately, I had to make some concession to reality. The mileage counting HUD is based on a timer and a programmed miles-per-hour rate. I couldn't come up with a way to directly interface the mileage or speed readouts from treadmill to SL. So, instead, I'll have to constantly update and correct my speed and distance numbers, by reading it from the treadmill controls and correcting the pedometer HUD manually. Vexing, but it's the best I could do for now.
So I suppose I could be a dirty, dirty liar, and be walking slower than I claim. Or, I could come up with some kind of tricky programming to recycle the same images, with faked timestamps and analog clock readings (although the sub-par quality is working in my favor on the latter- harder to simulate convincingly). Just take my word for it. I'm not.
But, enough of that. 48 hours to go!
Addendum, July 30-