Viewer 2.x will remain useless so long as it chews up screen real estate like this!
Written 28 June, 2010
Viewer 2.1 Beta
Today I took the plunge and installed the Second Life Viewer 2.1 beta.
I have to say I'm considerably less unhappy than I was with the earlier 2.0.
Much has been made better, and I now know from my experience with 2.0 (and from Torley Linden's great videos, thank you, Torley!) how to do things like add region coordinates in the navigation bar and remove unwanted buttons from the bottom bar. I'm also learning where things are located in the menus. I have to grudgingly say the new menu organization makes some sense.
I still hate the abominable screen-grabbing side menu, but at least I don't have to open it all that much any more, and I was able to find the setting in preferences that stopped it from sliding the world over when it opens. That was disorienting. Alas, there is no ability to add inventory to the bottom line, so I'm forced to deal with my inventory in the clunky side menu.
Menus still don't go translucent when they're deselected. Hopefully, that will be fixed in the next release.
I was able to rez a prim on the beach deck on Whimsy Kaboom. 2.0 seemed to allow prim rezzing only on the land. That's a big help, but deleting that prim was a pain in the ass, requiring negotiation of the new box menus and adding an extra step to delete. When I want to kill a prim, I want to kill it, not go hunting for the option in nested menus! Bring my pie menu back!
I'd like to commend the Lindens for listening to residents and making 2.1 about 100 times less horrible than 2.0-- but there are still some deal breakers that will have to be fixed before I'll use any 2.x viewer, namely:
I must have the ability to drop down the About Land menu from the top bars. It's clunky to have to get it through the ME menu.
There must be an option to disable the side menu entirely. This means we must have separate menus for inventory and profiles as we did in 1.9x viewers, and the old-style Communication window, available from the bottom bar.
Menus must go translucent when deselected. How hard can that be to fix, and why was 2.0 released with opaque menus?
There must be the ability to select old-style chat without the stupid picture windows. Chat is just horrible in its present entirely opaque form. Between it and the pop-out menu on the right, half the screen is gone.
The chat input bar must stretch at least 2/3 of the way across the screen. I understand there's a fix for this in 2.1, but I've not yet found it.
There must be an option to have old-style radio and media tabs in the low bars. The new controls are just clunky. Right now, with Speak, Camera, Build, Search, Map, and Mini-Map all enabled, half the line is blank, so there's plenty of room for both more tabs and a wider chat bar.
There must be an option for the old-style pie menu. The blocky right-click menu is difficult to negotiate and less than intuitive.
There must be an option for a skin with old-style blue colors. I like them and want them back.
And finally, a couple of things removed from the preferences menu need to be returned-- specifically the ability to specify timestamps in chat saved to disk and the ability to disallow others to see one's group tag.
I'm sure if all these things were fixed I and a lot of others would want even more changes, but if they were made I would begin to really use and build in 2.x viewers. Until then, I suppose I'll just do without alpha masks, new clothing layers, saved outfits, and embedded media.