The login screens that Linden Lab rolled out with the start of the Christmas holidays haven’t gone away; they’ve just changed. It did take them a while to get away from the snowmen and snow-covered hills, but now you can see a selection of venues — and not just the stock generic landscapes that they were sporting before. I think I’ve spotted at least one region or location that I recognize.
What do you think of this new gewgaw? No, it doesn’t improve Grid stability or the usefulness of the viewer, but I think myself it’s a nice touch. What would be even niftier would be if they cold use user-taken photos, formatted to the correct size. A competition could be held through Flickr or Koinup, with entrants shooting to the needed screen standard, and consenting to the non-exclusive use by Linden Lab of their photo on a rotating basis for one month. Winners could also get some more material recognition, either real or virtual — say, a gift certificate on XStreet SL, or a L$2,000 cash prize.
I’ve been learning a few things this weekend about Second Life, and I’m putting them up here for wider distribution. Along with this is one trick I’ve discovered myself — though someone else may have developed it already. But Information Should Be Free (not textures, but factual information — more on this in future), and it deserves spreading around.
This may be a little weird, but one Resident I asked for help said that it’s happened to her as well, or something similar. Yesterday, I was relaxing at my loft in my favorite Dark Silver skin from chroma, when I remembered I had to get a closeup photo of Nyla Cheeky’s tinyprim-based cloche cap for my piece on her gown. I quickly threw myself back into the dress and hat and hair, and my normal skin — but then, when I mounted the posing stand I keep in my loft, I discovered that my face was still silver! Some canny camera work gave me the shot I wanted, but you can still see the tip of my nose is rather dark (grin).
It was still the same way today, and so it was obvious that something was up, either with SL, my client, or with a corruption of the file. Once I had struggled off of my land — Frank’s Place in Oasis Resort is number 16 on the Popular Places list, and the loft is on the corner of the land — I put up a message on Fashion Emergency asking for help. Back came the suggestions to (a) clear my cache by going to Preferences, Network, and click the correct button; and then (b) “rebake” my skin texture by Control-Alt-R. That did the trick, and you should remember this if you ever run into the same situation yourself.
I love most aspects of the current Google-style Search function in Linden Lab’s client. But how many know that the results are displayed in, essentially, a Chat window? This lends itself to a handy idea for finding specific items from a merchant’s wares.
This can be done in two ways, either of which require an outside application. The first calls for you to select all the text of the product list from below the teleport button, by highlighting it with your mouse cursor. (Or you can highlight a few letters, then press Control-A to select all.) Control-C to copy it, then you paste the text into an editor such as Notepad or EditPad. The second way is to copy only the URL you will find at the bottom of the merchant’s page, and paste this into the address bar of your browser, e.g. Firefox, etc. This will bring up that page from the Second Life community portal, which appears to be what the new Search polls for results.
Any road, now search the text with the Find function to locate what you’re looking for. You’ll get the price that merchant is asking — which is nice in itself. But you’ll also get a set of Grid coordinates where the item’s billboard is located in the store.
Back to Second Life; teleport to the store. Once there, open the Main Map, and click inside the region you’re in currently to get a red teleport target. Then punch in the coordinates you found from the search. Do not teleport; this could place you inside a wall, which would be embarrassing, not to say prone to knock you out of the Grid (grin). Rather, just close the Map after doing this, then home in on your target by following the red beacon and arrow. Voila; you’ve found what you want, and with a minimum of hunting through the whole store. Very useful if the merchant has something as big as ETD Designs or other places.
I’ve had a day or so now to play with the new release of the Second Life viewer, and I think I can safely give an opinion.
For the basic functionality of the software — providing a stable, usable interface for the Resident with the world of the Grid — Build 1.18.5 does its job quite well. This is based on experience with only the two preceding builds, but I’m tempted to say this new client is more stable in the long run than those others. What makes it difficult, besides my relative lack of experience with earlier clients, is that my DSL line tends to blink for about a minute at a time at irregular intervals. Of course, it usually chooses to cut out at the most inopportune times….
Leaving that aside, I have no complaints at all. In fact, in a session this morning, the movements of my avatar made were smoother than I’ve seen before — though this could be attributed to a low sign-in rate and nobody else in my sim (grin). However, dropping in to Franks Place for some music and chat while I took a break from this article, I found the lag rate still acceptable. Franks is usually pretty busy; if this is a result of the new client, it’s nothing to sneeze over!
But what about the much ballyhooed Search function? Well….
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I was planning to do some talking about the planned improvements to the Search function Linden Lab had announced for their next client build — but the Lindens beat me to the punch (grin). I haven’t experienced much of it yet, but I’ll see if I can give it a workout, and put down my thoughts here.