Monday, January 31, 2011

Trying Phoenix for a Week

The Official Second Life Viewer (v2.4; Web) has been crashy of late, slow to load, forgetful of my preferred settings, and more, so I thought I'd give "everyone's preferred viewer" another chance, so I'm going to use Phoenix (v1.5.2 ; Web) for a week. One of the first things I noticed after tweaking the vast selection of settings and venturing out into the world is that most people I see appear to be using the Official Viewer. Phoenix and other viewers will display this information in user tags and except for some friends, I don't see many folks sharing the flaming bird experience with me.

But I'll take the buzz about Phoenix's user numbers as gospel for now while I compile a list of things that I miss about the Official Viewer: The Landmarks pop-out, the handy Favorites and Navigation Bar, the chat and IM experience, and the ability to set specific window sizes, to mention the most obvious.

Phoenix has some features I like, however, such as the the old-style Profile panes, the ability to easily allow Fly in areas that have turned off the feature, and the chat bar-level access to Windlight settings. The latter can be auto-controlled by region owners in this version of the viewer with and I think that is pretty cool, too.

To try this, I visited Traxx (SLurl), a place that my friend мεɢ αυđισρђιℓε (kuthola.homewood) runs and one that I know uses the feature. So here I am in the first pic, before accepting the viewer's request to change the settings. It looks like standard Noon to me.

The second photo shows the same view after I accepted the new settings. I thought the sky looked like Verdigris, a preset I tend to favor for photography. I used Search to pop back a bit later to see if I could confirm this and found (/*Windlight Sky: "Verdigris" Water: "[TOR] Claira"*/) in the description. Odd, but I guess putting that information in the parcel description is how the feature works. I wonder what happens if someone visits but doesn't have the preset installed. Though, I'm guessing they are all included with the viewer. One other place I found, The Wonderful World Of Meeroos (SLurl), has (/*Windlight Sky: "AnaLu *studio* 5"*/) in it's land description while another part of the region has (/*Windlight Sky: "[EUPHORIA] Plum sunset"*/) and other areas have still more variations. Really cool.

Phoenix has many other interesting features. I'd like to try the integrated Animation Override, but that would require me to move my No Copy AO animations from the HUD to my inventory and I'd have to remember to attach a HUD with a different AO when using other viewers. The Lab could easily make this a standard feature. Having a radar is nice for when I work Security at the Isle, but it is cumbersome in use.

Like my transition to a v2.x viewer from the v1.2x viewer, some of the differences will require acclimation. At first I was not a fan of the next generation of viewer but I came to find it is very nice. Let's see how my week with "moving back" while moving ahead works out.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's in My Closet? Body Parts

Normally I don't read fashion blogs, at least not for fashion information. Many have great photography and feature great, scenic places to visit. One that was talked about in the Lucky Kitty Crew chat today, though, features vitriol. I won't mention which one, but it was noted by many that the author's insulting tone about products she was reviewing would keep her from getting review products. So for this edition of What's in My Closet, I thought I'd wear nothing that anyone who cares about fashion could criticize.

Let's start at the top: Deena hair from (SLurl), in Scornful Red. I love this style and if I could get my RL hair this straight, I'd wear it like this. It is a classic doo that dresses up casual and tempers dressing up. It goes well with my Curio Acorn FREX Sunny Pure skin (SLurl). I shopped long and hard for skins before picking this one. Most makers had something that I liked in their products, but this was the only one that met all my needs and required the fewest tweaks to my face and body to be "me." The shape is all mine, honed over the years so it fairly well matches my Real Life (RL) shape, though I gave up on having my RL face (I like my Second Life [SL] nose more) and my "girls" are smaller in SL. In this picture, I've not-so-cleverly covered up the realistic and versatile (they have modifiable, menu-controlled piercings) VS Sculpted Nipples (Web) by Nina Peterman that I've been wearing lately. I saw a set on my wife and just had to get a set. Sure, if I "bounce" around, to folks using a viewer with Breast Physics it can look funny, but that's a problem with any attachments in that area, from jewelry to clothes. And the other paw print covers a pubic hair layer from Eloh Eliot that gives me the illusion of a wee bit of modesty by itself. Like strolling around nude beaches is modest, though the location for this photo, a Member's Only section of The Wild Coast Naturist Resort (SLurl), is pretty private.

If you have read this far, keep in mind that my WiMC posts are about wearing what I like for me. As far as I'm concerned, whatever you wear is fine for you even if I think it is "fugly" or if I think it is gorgeous. If you didn't want to wear it, you wouldn't. Fashion is in the eye of the wearer, so to speak. If you are a content creator and send me things to review I may or may not oblige you, but I will at least be fair and honest after I recover from the shock that you think someone like me should be reviewing your product.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This is why you have Alts

Earlier today the Second Life viewer froze and I had to close the application. Sadly, this made my avie 'stick' at her last location. Waiting the usual 5-minutes before trying to log-in again, trying to log-in at other regions, and the other usual tricks didn't work. So several hours later I contacted Live Chat (Web). I got a representative that had on a previous occasion simply ignored me and on another merely told me to file a ticket. This did not bode well. Over twenty minutes later the rep tried to suggest another ticket submission.

The pic here is from my alt, standing on the region edge, 49m from me and camming into our living room.

Here is my Live Chat, name of the rep withheld:

Chat Started: 01-25-2011 15:29:33
Chat Log:
REP: Thank you, for conatacting Second Life Support.
My name is
REP, how my assist you today?
You: Hi! My Uccello Poultry avie is stuck in my Home spot near and I can't log in. My alt can see Uccello there. I've tried logging in to Pooley and other regions, but I've been getting the "wait 5 minutes" advisory for a few hours now.
REP: hi
You: this is probably from a viewer crash I had earlier.
REP: One moment please
You: Okies :)
You: /me hums while waiting .. "I have an alt on an adjacent sim, watching."
REP: have you submitted a ticket?
You: No, I haven't. I tried that once and waited over a week before contacting Live Chat again. They cleared it up in 5 minutes.
You: From what I can see, she's the only avie in the Merrow region. Can you do a restart? It is Linden property.
REP: This issue requires ticket submitsion
You: May I ask why? Again, i'd rather not wait a week.
REP: The ticket response team have improved dramatically, according to our Second Life Residenst
REP: no worries they have been fast stately
You: /me sighs. Pardon me if I have my doubts after nearly 5 years with three premium accounts. But I'll try it. TThank you.
REP: np
REP: Thank you for contacting Linden Labs
This chat has been ended by the operator.

So off I go to file a ticket. Don't try contacting me for a while because I doubt they will do anything until I contact Live Chat again.

Your Case has been submitted!

Thank you for submitting your issue to us.

You will be receiving confirmation email with the case number to the email address you provided within 24 hours.

/me sighs

Update: Jan 26 - after being "stuck" for coming up on two days, I gave in and contacted Live Chat again. A wonderful rep had the situation fixed in 5 minutes. Interesting, my avie was stuck at home and was still there when I was able to log in. She existed in Pooley and at home for some time, but that cleared up when I had the avie bounce around SL a few times.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Confused Terrain

While working on Pixy Hollow at the Isle of Lesbos, I needed to log in a second avie to adjust poses, so I fired up Imprudence (v1.30 , Web) as I was already using the Official Viewer (v2.40, Web). I love the mini-map in Imprudence and find that it plays nicer with the System Resources than any third party viewer. I'm not a fan of the older 1.x-style interface, but it is my go-to viewer for when I need multiple log ins or to take pictures.

But I was surprised to see the ground texture changed. One of my next tasks was to manage the sand texture you see in the first picture, from the Official viewer, as I think it spoils the view. I could change the Texture Elevation Ranges in the Estate tools, but the boss would likely object, so I started thinking about using a prim rock face, perhaps, but I wanted to investigate the discrepancies between viewers first.

The same shot, roughly, taken with the Imprudence viewer shows the sandy area to now be grassy. Camming around the region I found that the textures were different everywhere that a transition existed. I had seen variations like this occur over a period of time while using the same viewer, but never had I noticed such difference when using different viewers on the same day or at the same time.

Mind you, all the graphics settings are the same, particularly the ground texture detail settings. And I matched the Environment settings, too. Logging out then logging back in made no difference. So I tried the current
Kirsten's Viewer build (v2.60, Web) and the result was slightly different as the third picture shows. Again, camming the region showed differences much like I found with Imprudence. There is more sand with Kirsten's, but the level is more acceptable.

Bring on the Phoenix (v1.5.2, Web) and behold! Another variation despite the similarities. This viewer renders less sand and does so more naturally, but on my 27" iMac it uses far more System resources than any other viewer. I'm not sure that trade off is worth it despite the addition of bouncy boobies.

So, what does all this mean? I'm stumped. On the one hand, it is great for nature to take its course, but as a landscaper I have certain things in mind and would appreciate some consistency. I'd rather not have to worry about who is using which viewer when I landscape. Maybe the Lab should look at the current terrain mesh as they evaluate other aspects of Our World during the inevitable transition to a browser-based viewer. Or, perhaps, someone in my readership has ideas? Please feel free to post comments, even if it is advice to simply stop being so picky and just let the terrain be confused.

Update (January 25): Logging in with the Official Viewer today I noticed that the terrain looks like the Phoenix picture. My, how time changes things.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When it should not snow

Here in the US Northeast, we are not strangers to snow. About another 5" or so fell yesterday and we were out bright and early today like nothing happened. Over all, I'd prefer to not have snow. But at least in RL it is done right. As you can see in the following picture of a place I will not identify, most landscapers in SL do not do snow right.

If you are willing to lay down ice, change the region texture to snow, and put out some snowmen, pick up the swimming swans, let the grasses die, and put in some bare deciduous trees. Don't do half measures. Go all the way.

/me gets off her soap box.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Avie!

Hanging out at Bare Rose, shopping to hide my tears after someone repeatedly called me FAG for being a lesbian, I saw Fawkes Allen wearing a really cool avie. Upon inquiry, I found it was for sale, a mere L$300, at his shop (SLurl). I love the floaty gears in the arms, nicely animated, and the wonderful textures. Colors can be changed (compare me to the vendor in the background) and a special AO is included. Like steampunk or just fun avies? Well worth a look.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fun Names Have Gone Past?

When I came to the Main Grid from the Teen Grid, taking a new name let me expunge my previous life and exercise a little wit. Very little, apparently, as most folks don't get that my name is Bird Bird, if translated properly. I'm not the only one that tried, successfully or otherwise, to be amusing and early on I started collecting "funny" names of people I've met or at least stood within chat-range of in-world. Since seeing a huge uptick in "AOL-style" names after the introduction of the common, usually unseen, surname of Resident, I've looked at my funny name list a bit forlornly. I'm sure I'll keep adding to it, but I might have to keep a category just for Display Name choices. These can be just as funny as pre-Display Name choices, but it is far easier to be funny than when trying to do so within the system's limits. Here is where my "Really Great Avie Names" list stands today:

Chekout Lane, Cut Wiener & UnCut Wiener (twins, of course), Crow Diesel, Des Gruntled, Dred Looming, Elvis Presley, Euclidean Surface, Glucose Sideways, Grim Thespian, Harry Potter, Hiro Protagonist, Manure Sack, Too Yootz, Totally Unsustainable, Wrong Wright

Eph Yue, Imnada Waffle, Missing Person, Ooo Ah, Station Vhargon

Accountant Adzebills, afterhours Parkin, Alaska Loon, Alittle Lunasea, Alluring Fairey, Always Leakey, AprilShowers Becloud, Barbie Princess, Bendand Stoop, Bohemiann Rhapsody, Bunsons Burner, darkNtwisted Dreamscape, Card Holder, Comes Nitely, Coupon Clip, DitaVon Theas, Downlovers Lane, Eaten Gumbo, Erie Waffle, EveryOther Thursday, F3ckme Babii, Fence Stradling, Forbidden4 Males, Fukmi Sideways, Good Chemistry, GoSpeed Racer, Holland Antwerp, Honest Waffle, Howmuch Decosta, Iamin Love, Icy Wiener, Immm Back, Imnotgoing Sideways, iwannadou Later, Kantbe Thursday, Keen Salamander, LargeScreen Television, Lickmelikea Lollipop, Loving Fairey, Makits Oh, Malfunctioning Gynoid, Manefest Destiny, Milf Acronym, Much Later, My Onlyone, Never Later, NothingBut Magic, notso Bleac, Now Moo, Nut Case, OfeelMe Nitely, Ohhh Mai, Ona Waffle, Parallell Parks, Perkins Trenchcoat, PR Etzel, Rainy Thursday, Really Ordinary, rogue camel, Rumour Mills, Sandie Harbour, secondlifename GossipGirl, Seenknot Hird, Shesnotmel Memel, Shoobe Doobie, Sleepy Harbour, Speghetti Ragu, Spoon Nestler, Suffa Jetcity, Taste Honi, Tender Littlething, Time Guardian, Tiny Runningbear, Twist Easley, UwillLuvmethe Dayafter, Vende Latte, Very Adamant, Weebit Offcourse, Whatcha Eaton, Wife Stepford, Woody Yue, Wouldyoulike Mayo

I wonder how many of these people pushed for Display names after living with these choices for a while?

Where the Moles Dig

I sooo want to visit here. The Mole regions are in a cluster of Linden-only regions, each of which looks very intriguing. But if I could see what the Moles are up to ... that would be awesome!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

What's in My Closet? Not My Clothes

For this entry of What's in My Closet, I poked around in my brother's closet. Sort of. I told him of a great place to get a free Navy Pea Coat like he has in real life and asked him to put together an outfit, take a picture, and give me the details. So here it is:

Skin: *Zanzo* Narcissus ~ Olympia (Freckles, natural)
by Theodore DuCasse

Pants: A_BB *Jeans ::Maschienenwerk::
by Armin Rickena

Hair: Bryce ~ Skater - Bold Reds - Russet
by Bryce Tully

Shoes: HOC Industries - Casual Loafers
by Guu Nishi

Coat: Pea_Coat /Ware this under/ ::Maschienenwerk::
by Armin Rickena

Glasses: primOptic Lloyd glasses 1.16
by Nibb Tardis (nibb.tardis)

Eyes: Prismatic Natural Eyes 86
by Santana Lumiere

Model: CC Columbo

He is rather lost in all the scenery, but blame him. He took the picture.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Animated Particles in SL

Particles confuse me. Well, to be precise, creating particles confuses me. I've been able to edit some scripts, managing some a few very basic changes to accomplish what I need, but not what I want. So now and then I wander The Particle Laboratory (SLurl) and try absorb something useful. While there today, I ran across information about a proposed change to Second Life's particle system. Check out the video above then read the JIRA at

More Pixys

Fallen Gods, a fabulous store for the Fantasy-minded, has pixy avatars. While I preferred to create my own, these are very nice. Dragonfly-like wings, colorful skins, pixy dust, and a tiny shape, and more for L$1900 per color or an All Colours Pack for L$6600. Try the demo for free. And check out the role play areas. The region is a really nice build.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On Being Zyx, Part 3

Coming late to the game, so to speak, I'm not surprised that it is up to me to introduce myself. I'm Zyx. Not Zyx Flux, wee little pixy girl. Just Zyx, a grown up pixy. I suppose there would be those that claim I'm here just to reserve the name under the new Second Life resident naming scheme. You know the one. The Nobody-Has-a-Surname one. Everybody is Someoneorother Resident, but the name on the tag above their head simply shows the single name they chose at account creation.

Maybe things started that way, maybe not. But I'm here now and I'm definitely not a little "Miss" pixy. Don't get me wrong. I adore the wee version of me, all cute and girly. Every woman needs to keep in touch with that part of their inner selves. But there is something about the bloom of womanliness. When curves start to flow and certain appetites grow. When a dress no longer features Disney characters embroidered into the neckline, but rather a neckline that dangerously flirts with meeting the hemline. When playing "grownup" stops being play.

I'm that Zyx. Leather with merely a hint of lace. Fierce in my convictions ... among other things.