Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Going Outside the Grid

Written 21 August, 2007

Going Outside the Grid

During my first months in Second Life, I found it psychologically difficult to go outside the grid. Consequently, when I was on SL—and I was on SL a LOT-- I got behind on e-mail, phone calls, and computer maintenance tasks—and I rarely visited websites, even when I got links to them.

Things got better when I bought a better video card and went to a dual-monitor system. My new flat screen now displays Second Life in wide format pixilated glory, and the rest of my computer lives on my old CRT monitor.

I’m fortunate enough to have a dual-core processor, so I have Second Life set to run on Core 1; the rest of my applications, or the heavy-duty ones (like iTunes, Skype, and GIMP) at least, run on Core 2. (There are a number of free and shareware programs that let you assign priorities to your applications. I use WinLauncher XP, Beta Version, http://www.majorgeeks.com/WinLauncherXP_d870.html).

Nowadays when someone gives me a URL (my friend Peter Stindberg is particularly helpful with this [Hi, Peter! I know you’re reading this!]), my Mystitool catches the information and opens a new window on my Opera browser. I just look to the left (where, usually, I have a half dozen windows open), and there it is! I get confused on occasion by the long mouse drag to get the pointer from one monitor to the next, but all in all, it’s a most workable solution.

The new setup has changed my Second Life experience considerably. I follow up leads immediately now instead of writing them down for later exploration. I go to SL Exchange more readily now (www.SLExchange.com), and I consult the forums and the Linden blog far more often. I watch video tutorials and political commentaries with Sweetie, who has a window open on her end. And I even on occasion check my e-mail!

I’m convinced that getting the new monitor has helped my learning curve. At quiet moments in world I’ll play with GIMP (I FINALLY was able to make an alpha texture; film at eleven), or poke around in qAvimator (our in-the-field correspondent Sweetie is standing by with video on this one) or search the Internet for textures, or browse PDF of the many Second Life magazines and newspapers, or use Quark Express to make yet another sign for Pele.

Second Life still sucks up too much of my time, but at least now I’m able to be productive off the grid while I am on the grid.

And that’s a good thing.


Minto Gamba said...

I run two monitors on my computer as well, although both of them are CRTs. Just like you, I run SL on one side while surfing on the other one while waiting for things to rez, etc. I've gotten so I couldn't live without two monitors now :-P

Sometimes, I actually run two alts on two SL clients simultaneously (use the -multiple option on the Secondlife.exe command line) -- pretty good for a 1.8 MHz AMD single-core processor!

Peter Stindberg said...

I do :-)

Cheyenne Palisades said...

Minto, I'm thinking of, er, three monitors! Maybe I'll spread SL across all three and get a real peripheral vision experience!

I'm getting used to the LCD screen; I still think CRT's have better picture quality.

If course, the fact that my av sometimes looks "scary real" on a CRT may have something to do with my opinion. :)

Peter, I'm going to start leaving little hooks in my blog for you to find. Just to keep you on your toes.