Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Tag

Viewer 2 Beta is Updated

For those who say Linden Lab doesn’t listen or respond to the comments and critiques of its one major product, I hope you’ll reconsider your statements.  The Lab kicked out an update on the 15th to the Viewer 2 beta, with some needed fixes and other tweaks, and promise more in the weeks to come.

I have not yet installed this, as I’m still assessing how well my desktop is working after this latest trip into the shop and return; but I’ll attack that tonight and see what’s what.  Comments from me to come on this critical software.

Initial Thoughts on Viewer 2 Beta

After making sure that the new beta for Viewer 2 installed into a different directory than the main viewer, I finally gave it a spin over the past two days.  It’s proved interesting — not perfect, and to say it’s an improvement is subjective to how you feel about the layout changes.  But it’s a piece of software that should not be discarded out of hand.  If nothing else, I suspect that we’ll all be using this to navigate the Grid within a year at the most.

Screenshot for Viewer 2 Beta, (c) Linden Lab

You can see some of the basics here.  Before I logged in, I first hit Ctrl-P to get the Preferences, the same combination as Viewer 1, and the first thing I noticed was a lot fewer tabs on the screen.  Some of the functions have been consolidated or eliminated.  Most interesting, I couldn’t find a checkoff to let me set a custom preference for the graphics, so I could increase or decrease draw distance.  With trepidation, I logged in.  (Update:  I’ve found the button since; it’s at the bottom of the Preferences window when you open Graphics.)

And found that I didn’t need to fiddle with the graphics particularly.  Rezz time is pleasantly quick for my computer, and navigation seemed fairly rapid using standard keyboard controls.  This does slow down, of course, as region load increases.  Don’t expect to never want to diddle settings when you go in for Tuesday Carraig at Fibber Magee’s or a dance at Frank’s Place; that is a perfect world hope, and we aren’t there yet.

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Review — Holidays Jewelry Releases from Beguiled

Gita Rau sent me a set of packages yesterday, containing some new jewelry releases from her store, Beguiled, for my consideration.  And I did consider, and my considered opinion is that it’s mostly very good.

The first set, Smoky Bands, needed little thought from me; in truth, I’ve loved this hoop earring style since I first saw it at the store.  Shaped like a ring horn, the thick end (where the mouth of the horn would be) usually has a metal or jeweled band circling it.  It’s been available in a variety of colors and materials before this new pattern; for this set, Gita includes a matching bracelet and a pair of thin bangles to make a suite.

The next set, Deco Blocks, also appeals to me, since I’m a lover of the Art Deco style.  (Beyond the fact that I sell much Twenties art in my own store, my current house is decorated inside in Deco style.)  The necklace and earrings are a very clean design, with the main element being a single piece with a black/white graphic in enamel.  I might have considered something other than the ebony or onyx beads for the necklace, but it still holds up very well.  (Incidentally, the earrings come in both the form shown here, and a pair with less thickness.)

This set, Tendrils, is as clean as you could wish, and is excellent for casual wear or a party dress.  The dangling silver filaments wave as you move, giving the piece more realism.

Finally, a set designed explicitly for the season, and part of a holiday collaboration package with Baby Monkey and Petunia.  The Christmas-tree necklace comes in two sizes and glow or no-glow.  The wreath earrings are also large or small and glow/no-glow.

Note the plaid texture on the outside of the ring itself.  I’ll admit the first thing that came to my mind was a roll of Scotch tape, but it rather works.  The only thing I have a problem with is the necklace, but I say this because that kind of “costume” jewelry design isn’t really my style.  To me, it’s a little kitschy.  For a Christmas party, though, especially a casual one, such a necklace can be just the thing.

Teleport to Beguiled.

Linden Viewer 1.20: Sic Transit Gloria Ruthie….

…which I hope means, “Thus passes Ruth-ly glory.”  Of course, it could mean that as much as “Ich bin ein Berliner” (allegedly) means “I am a jelly doughnut.”

In any case, most of us should have the 1.20 viewer release by now.  (It’s an optional download, but I’d encourage it; more later.)  Linden Lab is touting 1.20 as the most tested and commented viewer to date; and they’re probably right, as this has been in development since the release of version 1.19 sometime early this year.  In their announcement back on July 24, Ramzi Linden suggested that reliability (based on crash reports) is improved by 20% — a boon to many folk, of course, and far better than at one point when I was crashing every time I tried to teleport into a full region.  (That was back in the early 1.18 days, I think.)  There are a slew of bug fixes, several Open Source inclusions, and the inclusion of the controversial Dazzle viewer skin as an optional use.  Torley is already doing tutorial rundowns on 1.20; his first is here.

I’ve been using it for a little over a week now, and I’m mostly satisfied with the results.  There are no surprises; it works quite smoothly.  The most fun thing, in a weird sense, is seeing someone rezz up at login.  As noted, the well-known Ruth — the former default avatar on system entry, a sheet-steel grey with no clothes or other differentiation — has become a sparkling grey-white nimbus that is replaced by an avatar with somewhat more definition.  It’s kinda fun watching someone log in and stabilize, and it’s definitely prettier than being surrounded by Ruths.  The prettiest thing is the random screen you get when you bring the viewer up, before you log in.  Instead of one stock shot, you now have some 3-5 shots that will appear at random.  Whoever designs these landscapes for the Lab is good.  If there are any problems, I haven’t run into them knowingly yet.  I’d recommend upgrading if you haven’t already.

Having said this, I am putting together a laundry list for the first time:  things that I would like to see changed.

  • Improved Inventory management — in terms of better tools to sort/filter the tottering mountains of stuff that we all accumulate.  (How the ghost of George Carlin must be smirking at all of us on the Grid!)
  • Repositioning of minimized windows — Way back, when we minimized the inventory or chat windows, we could move them around, max them back up, then reminimize them to the same place.  Now the windows fall back to default location at the screen bottom left, no matter where you tug them.  Is there a setting to allow “sticky” repositioning, or is this something that Linden should restore?

I think there’s at least one more thing, but I can’t recall it at this hour.  I’ve been building pictures of Louis Armstrong for the store, and I need to get to bed.

Any other thoughts…?

Posted August 5, 2008 by Harper Ganesvoort in Software

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