Archive for the ‘Second Life client’ Tag

Glueing My Hair Back On

This is what I looked like today, when I was desperately trying to add a texture to Second Life so I could do a shot of something in my Secret (Public) Photo Studio.  Every time — every time — I hit Control-U, or chose from the menu, it didn’t matter which, I’d get a Windows Thinking dooley-bob wheel, then a notice that a crash was being reported to Second Life.  Checking with people on Plurk and one of the helpful groups in world gave me no clue; it was suggested that I clear my cache, which I did, but I’d already cleared it yesterday.  It didn’t matter which client I was on, either; Firestorm choked and died as bad as Linden (which I actually prefer right now for the most part).

I finally tried searching for an answer — and the Tablet fell on me from the sky with a great granitic ga-thump.  A slight digression that will make sense very shortly:  I’m my church’s Webmaster in real life.  I’m also something of the go-to girl for passing church photos to the man in charge of our Facebook page, and I tend to pass a lot of photos at a time — more than most e-mail services will accept.  So I started using Microsoft’s SkyDrive service.  I upload photos or a zipped folder to SkyDrive, and the Facebook guy downloads them, easy-peasy.  Now here’s the key thing:  a few days ago, to improve the workings, I added the SkyDrive app to Windows; it creates a folder that you can drop stuff into, and it’ll be automagically uploaded to the SkyDrive service.

Well, it turns out Second Life and that app don’t like each other.  For some Strange Reason, the call for the upload folder and file from the client bangs into the SkyDrive app, and crashes the program.  A simple fix — just uninstall the app.  I’m back in business — literally, too, because Harper’s Art needs the upload ability to create my prints!

Do You Think the SL Viewer is Too Complex?

Second Effects wrote yesterday of a concern that I’ve heard of before on occasion:  the retention rate of new users, so that they become old users like you and me.  I’ve no reason to doubt their horrendous calculation of 1%, aside from it maybe being hearsay; but no matter the true retention figure, it truly stinks.

The writer (I’m unsure who it is, as there’s no byline) offers up a prime reason for this lousy figure:  the complexity of the Second Life viewer.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the official Linden client, Snowglobe, Emerald, or whoever; they’re all based on the same configuration, with the same commands for the most part.  (Emerald adds in a clutch more command possibilities!)  The author counts 1,708 menu options on a basic viewer, without adding in the Advanced menu!.  This indicates with legitimacy that the 1.x viewer series was built by “true” hackers, who aren’t afraid of a little complexity.  In other words, by engineers.

A daunting number indeed.  I confess, I’ve never seen a need for the majority of the command options available to the user.  However, I’ve been in computers long enough — since 1981 — that complexity doesn’t always intimidate me.  And most of that complexity in the SL viewer can be ignored until needed. When I hit that need point, someone with more experience is often willing to coach me through in what to do, or I find a Knowledge Base article or a Torley Linden video to explain things to me.  That done, another bit of learning is accomplished, and I move on.

Would you agree with Second Effects‘ contention?  Is it just that we old SL hands aren’t afraid of complexity, and so go moving on to become old SL hands?  Please vote in the poll above, then share your thoughts below in the comments.

Is Second Life’s Current Client Windows 7-Compatible?

2logos I’ve been quite satisfied to date with Windows XP — yes, I know, your mileage may vary — and have not yet had a reason to go out and buy a copy of Windows 7.  (Thank all benign powers, I have never experienced Vista!)  It’s been a temptation, though, just for the sake of being up to date.  (I think the current box has enough marbles to handle it.)  Three things hold me back:

  1. It’s incredibly early days yet in the life of this latest version of the Microsoft flag program (no pun intended on the Windows logo).  I’d rather let someone else be the gamma testbed, and wait until the first few rounds of bug fixes are out of the way.
  2. I don’t have the money (the leading reason!).
  3. I’ve heard Dreadful Rumors, verging on Unconfirmed Reports, that Second Life won’t run decently, if at all, on the new system.

From what I’ve seen in a quick Google search, this last is again a case of Your Mileage May Vary.  Some people may have the proper drivers to do the job; one report I’ve seen says that the native Windows graphic drivers (from Intel) can’t hack it, and you need an Nvidia card and drivers to carry the load.  Others report things just fine if they install XP drivers.  Others tell tales of woe and no success (or login), no matter what they do.

One thing is probable; you’ll need an up-to-date box to run Windows 7, and that means a relatively current graphics card.  Desktops, of course, will be in the lead on this, as their owners can buy new graphics cards (“Please, Santa, bring me a new Nvidia GeForce GTX 295 as a stocking stuffer!”); laptop users are pretty much shafted by the nature of their beasts.

Assuming that the card is compatible with Windows 7, then the ball is in the court of the client writers.  I’ve been checking the Big Blog, but Linden Lab is silent to date on whether either the official client, any of the Release Candidates, or Snowglobe will cope with the new system.  The independents are probably working faster on the question; their progress will be controlled by whether they’ve obtained Windows 7 themselves.  I’ve already heard of one workaround for Emerald, probably the most popular independent client.

Do you, gentle readers, have any information to relate?  Any workarounds that can assist the lunatic fringe, uh, the early release users of Win 7?  If you know of something, drop a comment here.

Harper's signature

What Do You Think of the New Login Screens?

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.

Any thoughts?

Harper's signature

Old Linden Viewer, or Sexy Independent Viewer?

Writing from Destin, Fla.:  off-Grid until 7/26.

Many users apparently have a bugaboo with the stock viewer we download from Linden Lab for use in Second Life.  I myself am a tolerant sort, and have not had any problem locating any of my main controls since I first started up last October — yes, I’m a nerd; I’ll admit it — but there are still some idiosyncrasies that I wouldn’t mind seeing adjusted, mostly in the Inventory area.  (Any tools allowing us to wrassle that particular bugbear into submission would be welcome!)  In M Linden’s letter to Residents on the Big Blog, he notes that the recent and current Release Candidates have over 50 crash fixes, and that Linden Lab is planning to redesign the viewer interface completely, to make it easier for newcomers to navigate.  (I’m always shy about this, or just plain fearful; “increasing simplicity” usually means we’re headed for the era of what the New Hacker’s Dictionary calls “drool-proof paper.”)

However, alternatives are coming at you.  Since the viewer is open source, anyone can tinker with it in an effort to improve it; and many have already.  In fact, Dusan Writer has been running a contest, with prizes totaling L$800,000, for Resident-created redesigns of the viewer.  And some have taken him up on it.  The field has been narrowed to five finalists, whose results you can examine both on their own sites and Dusan’s.  The final five will go up against the judges on July 22 at 2:00 pm SLT, in the Remedy region (logically, I assume).  If I was able to get onto the Grid right now, it’d be an interesting event to watch as each presenter makes their case.  In the presentations I’ve seen, each has had some interesting ideas, such as grouping logically related functions closer together, improved inventory sorting and filtering, and various levels of depth for newbies to experienced users.  Some of the pictures I’ve seen so far are rough, and could use smoothing of graphical concept, but there’s enough to get the main idea of what the designer is intending.

Will any of these prove to be popular?  That’s up to the individual Resident — whether they are content with Linden’s work, willing to wait for the Lab to continue the native viewer’s evolution, or wish to venture into uncharted territory.  I suspect there will be a mix of each; despite all the yowls from various quarters for changes, some Residents are content with how the viewer is progressing.  Some, frankly, may not want to invest more time in a new learning curve.  That could be to their benefit, or their harm, either way.  Only time and experience will tell.

Thanks to Hamlet Au.

Multiple Personalities on One Computer

How would you like to be two people at the same time, without having someone go and call the Civil Avatars to come and take you away in the white coat with the nice, long sleeves that tie up in the back?

“Well, get a second computer, along with an alt account, and –”

[WHACK!!]

NO, ya nimrod!  You don’t need the second computer!  You just need Torley Linden!!

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