Friday, February 4, 2011

Phoenix Viewer Test Wrap-Up

Though I vowed to try the Phoenix viewer (Web) for a week, tossed in the towel after five days because I simply didn't like it. The primary problem is that I don't like the v1.x-style interface any more.

Things I liked, in no particular order:
  • The option to delete Landmarks when unpacking a box. This can usually be done with textures and note cards in other viewers, but when I'm opening several boxes from the same vendor, losing the Landmarks is good.
  • Bouncy Boobies. 'nuff said. Well, let me add that bouncy boobies don't play well with chest attachments, like prim clothes.
  • Windlight settings are saved per avatar. If I ran my Draw Distance at 128m but other users on my machine set higher/lower values, my settings remained when I logged in, for example.
  • Windlight settings per parcel. As mentioned in my January 31st post, parcel owners can set specific Windlight settings and the Phoenix viewer will change to them after asking permission. This needs to be added to the Official Viewer.
  • Remembering Resident Name on the Log-In screen. I didn't let the application remember passwords, though. I share this machine with another SL user. If I need his password, I know where to find it. And if the machine needs to go in for service, no one at that shop can access our accounts.
  • Radar. Tracking people via the radar is handy for security. As I'm writing this I'm helping with a Griefer attack in the Caledon sims.
  • Enable "Always Fly." This was removed from the "sneak around" setting to get in in the Official Viewer. It is pretty silly to have a region that encourages winged creatures to visit but won't let them fly.
  • The Profile panes and the pop-out pictures there in. I mentioned these in my February 3rd post.
  • The Worn tab in the Inventory. It duplicated the Current Outfit folder in the Inventory, but you can see the folders that each item is in, so you can remove things one folder at a time, rather than hunt for each alphabetically-listed link. This means that attachments and clothes can be removed in one pass.
  • Inventory filters. Right there in the header. Cool. Plus the Collapse and Expand buttons. Very handy.
  • Saving pictures as .png files. Very nice option. Not everyone likes the usual format. You can also save as .bmp or .jpeg files.
  • Temporary file uploads. I like the idea. I didn't try it.
  • Fast access to Windlight and Graphics settings. This "widget" at the bottom-right of the window let me quickly enhance my experience and control lag via adjusting graphics qualities. Implement this as an Advanced User option in the Official Viewer, please.
Things I didn't like, in no particular order:
  • Incoming chat taking up most of the screen. As with most of my dislikes, I feel that the Official Viewer handles this better. The text is less obtrusive, the area it uses is resizable, and the formatting is flexible. I don't need to pop up a "Communicate" window to manage how much screen real estate chat uses.
  • The Communicate window is annoying. "Haters" of the Official Viewer complain that the sidebar takes up too much space. Consider this, though ... the sidebar is collapsable. IMs appear in individual, hideable windows with chat bar-level activity indicators. I found myself running Phoenix full screen more often than not to make room for all the windows.
  • I can't pick useable window sizes for when I'm not running full screen. I usually run the Official Viewer at 1920 x 1080, a good size to see many things, it is not taxing the video card too much, and I can easily work with other windows.
  • Having to use my Inventory for Landmarks. The separate, collapsible pane is much handier, and works well with the fabulous Favorites bar and Navigation bar in the Official Viewer.
  • Radar. Nice to have, but very clunky to use and it takes up too much screen space.
Keep in mind that neither list here is wholly inclusive. I probably missed things in both. But in general, I don't need all the very advanced features that Phoenix offers and I find the Official viewer much more to my liking for speed, clarity for my visual impairments, and general features. There is a good chance that I'll still rely on Phoenix or other viewers for my "serious" in-world photography because of some of the features that I liked.

Now I'm going to try Imprudence (Web) for a week. Or as close to it as I can get. It still uses the older interface, but I know from using it almost exclusively before switching to the Official Viewer that it is pretty cool.

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