Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Top Ten Second Life Annoyances

Written 18 December, 2006

My Top 10 Second Life Annoyances

Not that anyone asked, but here they are.

10. Rolling Blackouts

That irritating pop-up message means the sim you’re visiting is going to reboot in five—no, make that four—minutes. If you don’t GTF out of Dodge before the deadline, you’ll be knocked into the first world.

What? Thirty seconds before reboot and you’re still here? You need to get the f

Just like that, you’re sitting in front of your monitor in that world to which you don’t want to go because the garbage is beginning to smell and you need to take it out.

This annoyance works, er, annoyingly with the next, which is:

9. Can’t Teleport

That rolling blackout is coming in 90—no, the new message says 45—seconds, and you can’t seem to beam your way out of the sim. In desperation, you click on the first Landmark you come across and the teleport fai

Darn it! You really are going to have to take out that garbage.

Also, you gotta hate it when your friends are having a party and you get trapped by that island-to-island teleport thing and by the time you get there most of the guests have left and the beer and hors d’ouvres are all gone.

8. Screen Cluttered With Too Many Menus

Nuff said about that.

Guess I need to buy a second monitor and drag all the menus over to it so I can have a clear field of vision.

7. Griefers

Very annoying people. At least they can’t annoy me on my own land. Or not for long, anyway.

I can knock them a couple of sims over with the RPG Patrice gave me. It won’t work, she told me, if Push is restricted. That’s why I didn’t blow that guy into kingdom come last week; I had Pele set to No Push.

I know shooting is bad karma and can get you in trouble with the Lindens—but since SL is a right-to-carry world, maybe I could plead self defense. I can see myself in SL night court now:

LITAGATOONEY RACECOURSE: Your honor, my client pleads the fifth!

JUDGE LETITIA LINDEN: Attorney Racecourse, it looks like your client is drinking the fifth. And—OMG—is that an RPG she’s pulling out of her inventory?

6. Random Crashes

You’re flying alone, or in an intimate moment with your inamorata, and zap! You’re looking at the big blue XP screen (or a much less unpleasant Mac or Linux screen.)

Do you want to send an error report? No, no, no. You had that option turned off! Why the hell is it on now, just because there was a software upgrade when you logged on this afternoon? If it’s an upgrade and bug fix, why is local water still disappearing? And where have the Client and Network menus gone? Why didn’t you write down the keyboard shortcut that gets them back?

And you’ll never know why you were dumped.

5. Typing in the Wrong Instant Message Box

There you are, talking privately with a friend, dishing everybody at the dance, making crude remarks about their physical features and outfits, and you realize that for the past five minutes you’ve not been typing into your girlfriend’s box, but the box of that furniture maker you’ve been trying to sweet talk into repairing the out-of-synch doors of your shower. Hope she has a sense of humor!


It’s easy to make such a mistake when you have four or five IM boxes open at the same time, but sometimes I find myself accidentally switching between Chat and Instant Message when only one IM box is open.

MSMUSICLOVR DUKE: “Whatever is she prattling on about? She’s asking someone to fix the doors of her shower, but there’s no one talking with her. Do you think she’s switched out of IM again?”

FUNGRRL BROADWAY: “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

On a serious note, I once found myself in IM with both parties in a disintegrating relationship at the same time.

It would have been a disaster if I had switched boxes, so I made sure it didn’t happen. How? By closing the IM boxes after every message and reply. Disaster averted.

4. Missing Inventory Items

I’ve learned the hard way not to returns items on my property via the About Land menu. Most of the items on the land were sent directly to the Twilight Zone and are floating about there still.

The first time I lost only a few items—a marble platform I had made and the bench, particle torches, flower arrangement, and beach towel I had placed on it. And oh, yes, my neato Rocket 88 hovercraft (think of Luke Skywalker’s ride on Tatooine in the first Star Wars movie—which, by the way is Episode IV). It was just—gone.

I don’t know if the hovercraft got zapped in the first Great Return or if it otherwise disappeared. Maybe it was hot-wired and stolen by a ring of hovercraft thieves. All I know is I was desolate over its loss. Its creator was kind enough to send me a replacement when I told him I had mislaid it.

The objects from the second Great Return, including two hungry sharks and a floppy octopus, are still out there somewhere.

SL just send back to me, one month after their disappearance, the objects that were on my land in the first great return. Now I’m obliged to contact the creators who were kind enough to give me copies when I went crying to them about my missing inventory.

No hovercraft, so I must have left it at a parking meter somewhere.

3. Lost Prims

You’re moving an easy chair around the room, sliding it along X and Y coordinates to get it just where you want it, or lowering it to the floor when your finger comes off the mouse button at just the wrong moment, and it’s—gone.

No, it hasn’t been destroyed. It’s somewhere, just not where you thought you left it.

If your objects wind up on someone else’s property, they’ll know it when they look at Objects in their About Land menu, at which time they’ll probably return it—or it will be automatically returned, if that’s the way the land is set. If it’s your own property, though, your lost objects may stay around for months or years, floating high in the sky and increasing the parcel’s prim count, until you or one of your friends stumbles across them.

I find a lot of lost material as I fly about. Usually, I IM the owner and give them the coordinates so they can come get it.

It’s my own objects, and on my own land that is the real problem. It’s impossible to tell how many of the 750 or so primitives I’m using are the ones I know are there and how many have been driven deep under the ground or zoomed high into space.

I know I’ve had to rez some objects several times. Does that mean there are a couple of 40-prim Shower Ensembles or Houses of 1000 Pleasures lying about somewhere, adding a hundred or so primitives to my count? Perhaps. There’s just no way to know.

2. Slow Frame-Per-Second Rates

When frame rate gets too slow, an avatar’s movements become jerky, and it becomes difficult to walk or fly without crashing into objects or people. I find anything less that five FPS problematic.

Slow frame rates are a big problem at gatherings with more than a dozen or so people. At concerts, I usually find a space and stand or else click on the dance ball and let Cheyenne do her thing.

In low-traffic areas, I get about 15 fps, which makes for smooth movement—but when I call up the Statistics menu, I see the frame rate counter goes up to 45 fps or so. I can get a higher rate than that if I move the video sliders all the way down into Pong territory, but I like to see the detail. Makes me wish I had one of those superduper six hundred dollar video cards.

Well, for a brief moment, I DID have one of those superduper cards (more on it later), but I took it back to Fry’s with the box unopened.

Anyway, you gotta hate it when the frame rate slows and you begin to lurch around like a drunken sailor.

Not that I have anything against drunken sailors.

1. Connection Problems.

My number one problem with Second Life really has nothing to do with Second Life. It has to do with not being able to get to Second Life.

I can’t log on at work because the on-board video isn’t powerful enough (well, and also because our IT people put the a in anal)—but it’s when I can’t log on at home that I get really nuts.

Hello, Bell South! DSL is down! Get someone out here NOW to fix it! Oh, sorry. Just noticed that the modem was unplugged. Never mind.


Photo 1: This railing has been floating up here at 400 meters since early November. If I hadn’t smacked into it when flying, I might never have found it.


Talon Sidek said...

Great List Chey! I've only been on a few weeks, and aside from the building issues, I've experienced all of these. You can count on getting booted at exactly the wrong moment, too.

Amish Furniture said...

Great list. I can completely identify with the IM bungle up. Its happened with me on so many occassions, people almost expect it from me now.

Cheyenne Palisades said...

I could probably think of 10 more annoyances, including my neighbor who has his land so full of prims that anything that crosses the coundary instantly vanished. I lost a house that way!