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Monday, December 15, 2014

Blame

When things go wrong, the natural tendency is to blame it on someone.  In Second Life, it's not always clear who that someone is.  Take what happened to me just today...

A few days ago, I'd bought a sexy new pair of boots from the high fashion creator, LivGlam.  These were Mesh boots designed for SLink feet, which were also new to me even though I'd been using SLink's mesh hands for several months now.

When I got home, I unboxed the boots and the feet and put them on.  The feet were great, and worked just as expected, but the boots...something was wrong.  They showed as "Worn" in my inventory, but I couldn't see them.  Then I COULD see them, but they were just shapeless white clubs at the ends of my feet.

I should add that at this particular time SL was undergoing some "unscheduled maintenance."  This is Linden Lab's euphemism for "ye gods, the system is borked big time!"  I logged off and decided to come back when things were back in working order.

The next day, I tried the boots again.  They came, like most Mesh clothing, in several sizes, and I am a Medium.  The other sizes showed up fine, but the Medium boots were flat out invisible.  So I decided to go to LivGlam and contact their excellent customer support (they have actual live helpers at the store, an unusual feature for Second Life merchants.)  I complained about my "faulty product" and asked for a redelivery.  During my discussion with the representative, it turned out that she saw my boots just fine, while I did not.

At this point, it occurred to me that maybe the cached texture of the boots had gotten messed up during the technical difficulties of the previous day.  So, I logged off and cleared my cache.  When I logged back on, lo and behold, there were my boots!

There are a couple of morals to this story.  One might be, "Get a second opinion before you jump to conclusions."  Another is probably, "Don't blame somebody for messing up until you've checked ALL the possible explanations."  And a third one is, "They really mean it when they say don't rez stuff during times of grid issues."  The real bottom line is, LivGlam wasn't to blame, Linden Lab wasn't to blame.  It was (gasp!) All My Own Stupid Fault.

My thanks to Lanna at LivGlam who helped solve the Mystery of the Invisible Boots!  Oh, and here's a picture of me wearing them.  The boots are "Anne" by LivGlam, the dress is "Rockette" by Thera, available in her Venice store.

I'm Under the Tree...Unwrap Me!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

FLASH! Missing Animations and Dances

A lot of people have been complaining that dances and animations that they've bought from reputable SL merchants like Henmations, Akeyo, and Vista have been removed from their inventories.

When someone submits a DMCA notice to Linden Lab, alleging that another person has infringed their intellectual property rights, LL removes the allegedly infringing content from Second Life...including from the inventories of everyone who owns it.

However, sometimes the DMCA notice is wrongfully made.  Also, sometimes, the LL intellectual property police make a mistake and remove things that are NOT a subject of the DMCA action but that only have a similar name.  It appears that this may have been the case in this instance.

Once the mistake is straightened out, the missing items should be returned.  However, if you are not content to wait and see if this happens, go to the store where you bought your deleted content and make use of their re-delivery terminal, if they have one.

For current discussion of the issue, see this forum thread: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/General-Discussion-Forum/Firestorm-AO-in-viewer-animations-abscounded/td-p/2874423

Friday, December 12, 2014

Losing It

A while back I told you, Gentle Readers, that I intended to improve my Real Life by adding back diet and exercise.  I'm not going to bore you with an endless play by play, but I am here to tell you that it's working!  I've lost 11 pounds in the last month, my clothes are fitting better, and I feel great.  And that's just with dieting, I haven't even begun my exercise program yet.  AND it includes the Thanksgiving Dinner and assorted leftovers.

I can recommend the Atkins Nutritional Plan (a low-carbohydrate approach) without reservation.

As Porky Pig says, "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!"

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming!

Ever since I've been in Second Life, one of the perennial complaints about Linden Lab is, "they never listen."  People would make suggestions in the forums, in open letters, on blogs, and at in world Office Hours, and nothing ever seemed to come of any of them.

Yesterday, Linden Lab announced a new "Suggestions" page on the Second Life website.  You can read the official blog post here: http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Featured-News/A-New-Way-to-Share-Your-Suggestions-for-Second-Life/ba-p/2867935

And here's the direct link to the new Suggestions page: https://support.secondlife.com/suggestions/

I won't say that LL will actually DO anything about any suggestions submitted.  But I have to say, it's another indication that the Lab is actually making an effort to improve communication with the Residents.  This is the FIRST TIME EVER that they've ever said officially, "we want you to send us your ideas."

I hope you all will put some thought behind the suggestions you leave there.  A lot of impractical suggestions like "free land for everyone!" could make them back off their new open approach.

By the way, the corporate attitude of "we are NOT listening" is very pervasive in business these days.  Many corporations are forbidden from considering any ideas submitted from outside, for fear of later legal complications.  If they come out with a new product, they don't want some jerk filing a lawsuit claiming "hey, you stole the idea I sent you a few months ago!"  So it's even more gratifying to see the Lab opening their doors...and, one hopes, their minds...to ideas from the Residents.

In other news, Masocado has its winter clothes on!  There are frosty trees, polar bears skating on the rooftop pool, snow falling all around, and a skating rink to enjoy.  If you visit, set your Windlight sky to either Midnight (for a nighttime look) or "Raymond's Bright&Hazy Day", and your water to [TOR] Ice-like.  Photos and machinima are permitted, but please give a location credit.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Sad Day on Campus

Today I learned that two of my friends, both Deans at Caledon Oxbridge University, are leaving the university due to Real Life commitments.

Ravelli Ormstein and Martini Discovolante are two of the founding members of COU, and have contributed their building, teaching, and management skills to provide free help to Second Life residents for over five years.  They've created a space that's both incredibly informative and fun to explore and just hang out in.

Their departure is a heavy blow to COU, and they will be sorely missed.  Both for the huge hole they leave in the staff, and for themselves alone.

Rav, Martini -- thanks for everything!  We'll do our best to soldier on, and can only hope our efforts will do you proud.  And of course, we hope you'll come back when you get that pesky RL thing under control.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Manglage

The internet and texting are killing the English language.

Or maybe it's our wonderful public non-educational system, or the TV generation.  Whatever the reason, kids today (and plenty of adults too) have no regard for spelling, grammar, punctuation, or sentence structure.

As a semi-professional wordsmith, this gives me great pain.  Not because I'm picky.  Not because I'm a grouchy, blue-haired old schoolmarm.  Well, OK, I am both of those things, but the sensibilities of one old fashioned lady are not the issue here.  The issue is communication.

I mean, here we are in the digital age, the age of Instant Communication.  Ideas and news, pictures and videos, can flash from one side of the planet to the other in mere seconds!  But with all that, we've raised an entire generation and more of people who cannot communicate!  That's a truly bitter irony.

wtf do i mn?  Just go to any crowded Infohub or one of the Social Islands in Second Life and pay attention to the local chat for a few minutes.  The overall impression is one of remarkably foul-mouthed fourth graders, even though everyone there is (supposedly) at least 16 years old.

sup my nigga?  were cn i get cloes 4 my av?  RU a reel person?  Rly!  ty.  yw.  A/S/L.

Arrrgh.  I understand the need for speed and brevity, truly I do.  Especially when you're in a messaging application and using a tiny phone keyboard.  But Second Life is not a texting app.  If you want speed, practice your typing skills.  If you can't spell, take a remedial English course or two.  Or at least use the built in spell-checker!

Yes, English is a twisty and difficult language, even for native speakers.  To, too, two.  Their and they're.  Were, we're, and where.  I before E except after C.  But these things must be learned, not ignored.  They matter.  The correct, precise use of language can convey thoughts, ideas, and even emotions with remarkable accuracy.  Those who can use language precisely are perceived as being more intelligent than those who can't, or who don't bother.

And it works both ways.  If you can communicate well, you also know enough to be critical of what you hear.  You can more easily tell when you are being lied to or bamboozled.  Our politicians are masters of appearing to say one thing while saying nothing at all, or actually saying the opposite.  It's gotten to the point where I assume that the intent of any particular new law or regulation is exactly the opposite of whatever its title says.

How can you combat this creeping degradation of the ability to communicate and to understand?  Two words:  Read.  Books.  Take some time away from the web, videogames, email, texting, social media, TV and movies.  Open a book and read it.  Start at the beginning and go on to the end.  Then do it again with another book, and again and again.  They don't have to be great literature.

And if you have kids, read to them every day.  Teach them to be bookaholics.  A kid who loves books and reading will do just fine, even in today's ever-increasing flood of drivel.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Some Mesh Terms, and Other Shopping Tips

Tonight, someone asked on the SL Answers forum about the difference between mesh, rigged mesh, Liquid Mesh, and fitted mesh.  I don't blame them a bit for being confused!  If you are, too, here's the scoop...

Non-rigged mesh is just a simple, "rigid" mesh object.  It can be edited for size.

Rigged mesh is linked to your avatar skeleton (a process called "rigging" by 3D animators) and can bend and move with you.  However, it cannot be re-sized.

Liquid Mesh is an attempt to get around that, invented by Redgrave.  Liquid Mesh will re-size itself to fit your individual body shape.

Fitted mesh is the "official" Linden Lab version of Liquid Mesh.  Like Liquid Mesh, it will adjust to your body shape automatically.

Like rigged mesh, both Liquid Mesh and fitted mesh will bend and move with you, and cannot be edited with the Edit tools.  Both types will still most likely require that you wear an alpha mask layer to hide bits of your body that would otherwise stick through the mesh.

Some designers are providing both a fitted mesh and a standard rigged mesh (in the various standard sizes.)  Try on both the fitted and the rigged versions.  I've found several outfits where I liked the look of the regular rigged mesh better than the fitted mesh version.

There are a few other pitfalls that can bite you when you are out shopping.  One of them is the fact that more and more designers are making clothes and accessories that are designed to work ONLY with certain other accessories.

For example, only clothing outfits that include an "applier" for the popular Lolas Tango mesh breasts can be used while wearing these breasts.  The applier applies the clothing texture over the mesh breasts so it appears that they are properly covered.

The mesh feet and hands from SLink are also very popular.  Some fingernails are really "appliers" made specifically for these mesh attachments.  Look for the red and white SLink logo on the ads for nails to see if they are "stand alone" fingernails, or texture appliers.  (Even more confusing, for those who want longer nails than the SLink hands have built into them, some SLink nails ARE actual mesh objects that are worn along with the SLink hands!)

Shoes designed for the SLink mesh feet also carry the red and white SLink logo on their ads.  Don't buy these shoes unless you have the SLink feet.  Unlike shoes designed for the normal avatar feet, these shoes do not come with a "foot" inside them, since they expect you already have feet.

Of course, there are other mesh hands and feet besides those from SLink.  N-core, for example, has just released mesh feet designed to work with new shoes designs, also by N-core.  I haven't yet tried any of the new N-core shoes to see if they will work with SLink feet as well, but my guess is, probably not!

The same sort of compatibility problem can be found with clothes.  Lilou Designs has a whole section of their store dedicated to clothing designed to work with Belleza's "Eve" mesh avatar body.

Be careful and read the ads before you buy!