Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nothing Much to Report Here... Move Along

Written 31 July, 2011

Nothing Much to Report Here... Move Along

I've been home for a week. It's hot as hell outside, my internet has been off and on again and my router is down, and I'm lacking motivation to do much more than piddle around in Second Life. And even when I'm here, I sort my inventory or hang out at the infohubs.

I guess the dog days are affecting me. But no worries, I'll be back to normal soon, and writing like mad. Just checking in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Video Loop Crasher

Written 27 July, 2011

Video Loop Crasher

I was at Hyannisport this morning and crashed-- twice. And so did everyone else.

Another resident told me it was because someone was using a weapon called Video Loop Crasher. I turned it off and stopped crashing, although many people around me continued to crash repeated.

So, you might want to do this to protect yourself if you find yourself crashing suddenly. It involves disabling a feature you probably don't use anyway.

Open the Advanced Menu. If you don't have Advanced, CTRL-ALT-D will turn it off (add SHIFT if it doesn't work). The menu will be on the top bar.

Open Advanced, go to the Recorder submenu, and uncheck Loop Playback. That should do it.

Unfortunately, on login Loop Playback will turn back on-- so you'll probably only want to turn it off when you're somewhere that's under attack.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kids on the Grid

Written 25 July, 2011

Kids on the Grid

After Linden Lab closed the Teen Grid earlier this year, teens 15, 16, and 17 years of age were allowed on Second Life's main grid's PG sims, and 13- and 14-year-olds were allowed on the grid is select regions.

A lot of older (in terms of time in world), residents predicted chaos and an influx of children even younger than thirteen. I didn't think that likely, but now I think I was wrong.

PTSD Information Island

Written 24 July, 2011

PDST Information Island

In World War I they called it shell shock. In World War II they called it battle fatigue. Now it's known as combat stress reaction. When it persists, it's known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

PTSD follows traumatic experiences that overwhelm the individual's ability to cope.

Since January the U.S. Department of Defense has maintained a region in Second Life devoted to educating people, and especially those who have served or are serving in the military, about PTSD and helping those with PTSD to learn to manage their condition while maintaining anonymity. It's called The Virtual PTSD Experience, or T2. Click here for the SLURL.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Alpha Masks Open New Possibilities for Avatars

Written 23 July, 2011

Alpha Masks Open New Possibilities for Avatars

In your library you'll find three alpha masks-- full, feet, and head.

These masks will make the part of the avatar they cover disappear-- totally-- but only if you're using a viewer that can handle them. Viewer 2, Phoenix, Firestorm, and a lot of the other third party viewers can. Viewer 1 can't.

Some shoemakers are now using the foot alpha instead of invisprims. This forever ends the alpha glitch problem with invisiprims, but if you lose a shoe you'll look like an amputee.

The full alpha mask is handy. I've been adding one to the folders of each of my various avatars. It prevents stray body parts from sticking through.

The full mask opens possibilities for avatars that haven't until now been possible. Hamlet Au has written about the hairdo above.

Friday, July 22, 2011

John31921600084123 Resident

Written 22 July, 2011

John31921600084123 Resident

Ever since the inception of display names I've been looking askance at people with the last name Resident. I'm like all UH-OH! WHO LET _THEM_ INTO THE PARTY?

Of course some people with the last name Resident have been in world for more than six months now, but my immediate assumption on seeing that last name is this: NOOB.

I could prevent this, of course, by turning on display names, but I will never, ever, not in a million years do that, not since the Linden FAQ said, in response to the question "Can I prevent other residents from using my display name?" the following:

 No, display names are not meant to be unique identifiers. Instead, if you notice that others are using a similar display name, feel free to change your own name.

Fuck that.

Clearly, the supply of unique names for new residents is fast becoming exhausted. Hence I'm seeing names like Fanboy0523 and Savvy92143 and really long names like IDontKnowWhatImDoingHere Resident.

All I'm really saying here is that since the policy change I've been looking differently-- and not favorably at residents with the last name resident. I think I'm responding to a very real class divide-- we "real" residents and those unfortunates without a last name.

New World Notes today points to this Jira, which asks Linden Lab to provide an option for a real last name. I urge my readers to click on the link and vote.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Written 21 July, 2011


For a month or so links to this this blog have been posting to my Twitter account, thanks to a website named Twitterfeed.

To follow, just click on the second link, above.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The YES! Hairdoes

Written 19 July, 2011

The YES! Hairdoes

Drumroll, please!

Here are the winners (I actually bought them!):

Waka &Yuki, Type 163
Waka & Yuki, Type 168
Red Mint, Hair No. 10
Yes, yes, this is the hair I choose for Sweetie in my last post. I'm not for a moment suggesting my own mind isn't  frizzy and messy and tangled.

Exile, Aroha
Exile, Glory
Illusory, Yew

Hair for Sweetie

I know I promised you the YES hairstyles next, but I'm going to go ahead with the hair that wound up in the Sweetie folder.

Hair Fair 2011: The Number One Yes!

Written 19 July, 2011

Hair Fair 2011

The Number One Yes!

Okay, so this is my number one yes, and you know what? I can't dammit find it, not in the No! folder, not in the Yes! folder, and not in the Xubi folder.

If any of my readers can tell me the name of this hairdo or who made it, I would be most appreciative.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hair Fair 2011: The NO!s

Written 18 July, 2011

Hair Fair 2011: The NO!s

I hit this year's Hair Fair just before it closed. Sweetie, alas, was not with me. That's because she was on a super-secret mission to investigate the hacking of Second Life IMs by Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorps.

Yes, the scandal has spread to Second Life.

Of course it wasn't as much fun without her. In her honor, I used the ten-second rule. If I didn't see something I liked within 10 seconds of entering or camming a shop, I snorted "You have failed to impress me!" and moved on to the next display.

Which actually worked out pretty well, since there were four sims of hair fashions.

I picked up samples of just about every hairdo, and a lot of freebies besides.

Back home at Whimsy, I stood on the sea decks on Kaboom and sorted hair into three folders-- Yes, No!, and Sweetie.

As you might expect, anything stylish or outrageous went into the Sweetie folder.

I took photos as I worked.

First, some of the NOs:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

nVidia vs. ATI Radeon

Written 16 July, 2011

nVidia vs. ATI Radeon

My first video card for Second Life was an nVidia, probably a 5000 series. When it died after about a year (bad fan), I bought a 7000 series. When it died after about a year, I bought a 9000 series. All were installed on my laptop.

I'm not at home right now, so I can't tell you the model number, but it has 1 GB of at least DDR2 RAM.

All three cards have given me about the same performance-- with 120 meter draw distance and other video options cranked up, I get 7-8 frames per second in most situations in Second Life-- and less than five a lot of the time.

I think the reason for the same frame rates across increasingly powerful cards is due to the increasingly complex visual makeup of Second Life. My 5xxx card was adequate for pre-Windlight, pre-sculpted prim Second Life; my 7xxx dealt adequately with Windlight and early Sculpties, and my 7xxx was adequate in today's Second Life, which is heavily populated with sculpted prims.

My first laptop, a cheapie house brand from Fry's worked great for everything but Second Life. I could log in and actually get in world, but everything was gray and stayed gray and although I could chat, I was unable to move.

My new (well, I've had it for nearly two years) Sony VAIO VGN-N2350F laptop has built-in ATI Radeon 4570 graphics with 512 mb of memory. I'm not sure what memory chips it uses, as the specs don't say so. A review I came across says the graphics are not that great for gaming, calling the 4570 a low-to-medium end system.

I will say one thing-- this laptop, with its Intel Core Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, and Windows 7 operating system, runs circles around my desktop, with an Intel dual core (not Core Duo) processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 32-bit Windows XP operating system. Standing in the upper gardens on Whimsy, facing the largely empty Whimsy Kaboom, I noted 20-22 fps on the laptop. My VAIO desktop was chuggling along at 5-6 fps. Graphics were wide open on both machines, draw distance was 120 meters, and water reflections were off.

There are four things that might have caused this difference in graphics speed-- the processors, the operating systems, the 32 bit vs. 64 bit thing, and the graphics cards. I don't know which contributed what, but I think a big part of it might be due to the last-- the graphics cards.

I hope to buy a new graphics card for my desktop this fall.I've heard good things about the new nVidia cards, but I'm thinking of going ATI Radeon this time.

I would appreciate comments about which brand offers the best performance for the dollar and specific suggestions for cards of either brand that would give me 20+ fps performance in Second Life with graphic options to the max-- including shadows and water reflections.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Text Messaging in Second Life

Text messaging, with its lack of diacritical marks (accents, mostly in non-English languages), dropping of words, and shortening of words by using numbers for letters and letters for words (C U 2nite!) is widespread in Second Life. Why?

I would argue that it's because those whose first typed communications were on the 10-key pads of mobile phones (mostly young people) bring their 10-key culture with them to Second Life, where keyboards predominate.

I won't get here into the ongoing debate about whether texting is devolving or evolving language, but I will say that when in world I'm not on a cell phone and I really don't want to hear cell phone terseness.

how r u
im gd
kk, c u l8r

It is, as Sweetie said when I told her about this post, the linguistic equivalent of fast food. It just doesn't do it for me. In Second Life I want steak and lobster, not Arby's fake roast beef and nuggets made from chicken parts.

I hate getting texting IMs at welcome areas. Want to know why?

It's because I find the senders to be poor conversationalists-- and I'm not talking about their use of texting. It's because they truly don't know how to speak in English. They just seem to have no experience with it.

That's understandable with people for whom English is a second language-- but most are from Cincinnati or Sheboygan.

I have far too many conversations like this:

how R U.
I'm fine, thanks. And how are you on this fine morning?
I see this is your second day in Second Life. How are you faring?
I love Second Life. This is my fifth year in world.
cool. ur hot
Thank you, I guess.
want 2 go somewhere
Thanks for the offer, but they're giving me a lethal injection in 30 minutes and my last meal just arrived.

It's like talking to my hand.

It's great so many people are able to text effectively on keypads, and sad they show such an astonishing lack of communication skills at the keyboard.

I dunno. Maybe it's hard to type on a keyboard  with your thumbs.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Here's wishing my readers the most happy 4th of July!

Be sure to watch a fireworks show-- and if you do so in Second Life, fly up into the display!