Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tweaking the SL 2.0 client

Check out Viewer 2 Tweaks. Alas, they involve editing files, but it beats not having the capability at all.

Many thanks to the beautiful and talented Foxbean Liebknecht for pointing me at the page.

On even less than usual...

Hardware problems... aaargh!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

"Doctor, My Eyes..."

Actually, the Jackson Browne song doesn't apply. Using the 2.0 Beta client, I can't see anyone's eyes. So what we want is It's A Beautiful Day:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Second Life 2.0 beta

I want to give it a while, so I give it a fair shake... but so far:
  • It's pretty.
  • PHOTOGRAPHS WORK WITH SHADOWS TURNED ON! (Next time I'll determine whether they've fixed the flickering alpha textures with shadows on bug.)
  • "/me [predicate]" in IMs doesn't look right; it doesn't display as a contiguous sentence.
  • After tens of minutes online, neither my eyes nor my prim breasts ever rezzed.
  • I still don't know how to do things. That will just take time.
I have hopes for it... but perhaps I'll just wait for Emerald to adopt it as a base and get the familiar interface and the shadows fix (fixes, I hope!).

UPDATE: Yes, I think it's fixed the flickering alpha textures, but the dueling alpha textures problem is still there... and while my prim breasts have finally shown up, my eyes haven't.

The Joy of Convex

For a long time, I've been "clothing" my prim breasts the same way most "clothing" in SL works. Aside from attachments, people in SL walk around like those models with body paint designed to look like clothing.

Unfortunately for SL, clothing doesn't work that way. Real clothing is a separate object from one's body, and it assumes the position of least energy. In particular, it jumps over cleavage. Shirts and blouses look very, very wrong in SL—text on T-shirts is illegible and images on them distorted past recognition because they're just textures painted on the body.

Ironically, the only tops that look right in SL are those that are designed to work with prim breasts. That clothing layer can be made to take the shape that actual clothing would take. JIRA entry VWR-1080 asks that something be done about cleavage and clothing for the standard avatar, but it's languished since its proposal nearly three years ago, with no comments since June 2009.

For a long time, I've been rationalizing, because I was doing just what non-prim breast users in SL do. Now that I have prim breasts with a clothing layer, the increased verisimilitude is so much better:

I cannot thank the creators of prim breasts enough.

Monday, February 22, 2010

From a distance... a Caledon Smiley Face

If you've been in Second Life any time at all, you're familiar with the map, which gives you an aerial view of SL letting you pan and zoom. It makes it easy to find places where people (or bots... sigh) are, or that have geographical or geological features you might be interested in.

Some places are built to call attention to themselves for the map user. Most often I've seen buildings with labels or ads painted atop them. This morning, I finally noticed another approach taken in a place one might think of as staid and formal.

If you've yet to see the many lovely sims that comprise greater Caledon, I urge you to take a look. You might want to start at Caledon Victoria City. You'll arrive at a central telehub in a circular lawn surrounded by some of the many excellent stores that one can find in Caledon. One one side you'll find wagons laden with a sampling of quality freebies. You will want to take advantage of them as a thrifty and quick way to dress for the region.

Nothing struck me as unusual about the arrangement. It seemed purely utilitarian, until I took a look at the map:

Caledon Victoria City greets you on the map with a smiley face! (Come to think of it, the walkways are almost reminiscent of the old black and white TV test pattern...) Guess I'm slow on the uptake, Guv'nah...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time for a change...

Seeing the elegant brush script on the masthead of Maggie's blog made me reconsider the handwriting font I'd chosen. I tried to find a clean, austere type face, and I like the result.

Return to Lemondrop's Forest

Maggie has such lovely photos up taken in Lemondrop's Forest that I had to visit. It's an amazing place, especially by night:

But it can be a place of wonder in the day as well, especially with a little help from Windlight...

Yes, I do like that dress a lot.

Yay Maggie!

I'm very happy that you're feeling better.

If you've not made Maggie Bluxome's acquaintance... she's a sweet, beautiful woman with impeccable fashion sense and a great talent for adapting prim breast tops to outfits (and taking wonderful pictures of the results). Take a look at her blog; you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Emerald!

Inspired by Jan Hobson and Her Bad Review's Raccoon Song...

There's a new Emerald... YAY!
It doesn't fix shadows... yay...

UPDATE: For those of you who haven't had the pleasure:

Also, having heard the original, you should also check out "Raccoon Legs", a wonderful mashup of "The Raccoon Song" with the Art of Noise's "Legs".

Another reason not to use voice

A couple of times today I've been on and found that voice was enabled. Going over to a shell window and running "top" showed that SLVoice was eating all the CPU cycles on one processor core. I disabled voice... and SLVoice was still running. I exited the SL client... and SLVoice was still running, and now using up almost all the CPU cycles on both processor cores. kill -9, and away it went. Good riddance.

The SL client uses enough of my computer already.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Upstairs in a Chinese Room

Philosopher John Searle famously wrote against the notion of artificial intelligence describing an imaginary construction called the "Chinese Room", in which a man in the room receives cards with marks on them and, following a list of instructions, makes marks on other cards that he sends back. The marks happen to be grammatical Chinese, such that the Chinese speaker outside the room writing the cards that go into the room judges the sequence of incoming and outgoing cards to be a cogent conversation in Chinese.

Searle's claim, which I disagree with, is that the "Chinese Room" cannot be said to understand Chinese; like the magician, he misdirects your attention to the fellow in the room who is just following the instructions. You're supposed to think of him as a doofus who just reads the instructions and follows them.

The opinion I hold, the "systems reply", is that it's the room as a whole that understands Chinese. Searle's response: OK, let the guy in the room memorize the book of instructions. If he didn't understand Chinese before, he doesn't now... so how can the room as a whole understand Chinese?

While it may not have anything to do with the issue of AI, I would argue that anyone following those instructions will learn Chinese. Searle wants you to think of the instructions as having purely to do with the marks on the cards, but if the output cards are, by hypothesis, judged to be a sensible conversation in Chinese, they can't be just that. If the incoming card says in Chinese "Who won the Super Bowl in 2010?" the instruction book has to say at some point to go find that out; to do otherwise will tip off the Chinese speaker outside. There aren't enough sources of just the information one wants to be able to always get by with "go look at this table on this Chinese language web site and fill in the ideographs you see in the second column of the row that has '2010' in the first column," the kind of ignorance-preserving instructions that Searle wants you to imagine. With enough conversation going on, eventually the harried follower of instructions will realize what the marks mean, and the technical term for that is "learning written Chinese".

Why am I telling you all this? Because it occurred to me, while at some random place looking something up on what even the label "smart phone" is becoming laughably inadequate for, that eventually we're all going to be Chinese rooms, and if I'm right, we're going to learn quite a bit. I look forward to it.

UPDATE: About that title: here you go. (I'll not embed the "video", as the page has links to other songs you will want to hear.) If you're unfamiliar with the amazing music of Laura Nyro, you have a lot of good listening ahead of you.

The column vanishes...

OK, this is weird.

After restoring files, I went to look at the blog... and found that the right hand column had gone missing, aside from the Free Software Foundation link.

I tried creating a new user on my system that would have a freshly-created profile. Same thing. I upgraded to Firefox 3.6. Same thing. I tried a different computer. Ditto. I tried Opera. No change.

The only way I can see my blog in its entirety today is to use Chromium (the Linux version of Google's Chrome browser).

Time to go seek out help from Blogger.

UPDATE: It's something about the FSF link I had in that column--the referenced Javascript file has to have changed somehow. I've let them know about it, and for now, it's gone.

There is, though, a bright side to everything--it motivated me to back up my Firefox profile and restore just the important pieces of it. Now it renders the middle column nice and wide, as Chromium and Opera do.

Friday, February 12, 2010

OK, here goes nothing...

Backing up and doing a clean install of Karmic Koala. That's where my evening is going, but maybe it will clear up the weirdness with SL... and if not, at least I will have moved to ext4. (w00t!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dark Whimsy Sunrise

I've been bad.

I had pictures taken of Whimsy in winter, and lots of time to put them up... and I didn't. Part of it was procrastination; I hear that there are classes in how not to procrastinate, and someday I'll take them. Part of it is that this year there's been plenty of RL snow.

So, I was wandering about the now snow-free Whimsy, playing with Windlight, and I found a setting that made it look as if Sweetie had decided to experiment with removing most of the atmosphere over Whimsy. It made for a striking sunrise, and I had to take a picture.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tell it to the...

Looking at the various announcements of new fashion releases I came across one store on Paris Island. I went there, and it was a lovely store, beautifully landscaped, but something didn't seem right...

...until I googled. The Marine Corps Recruit Depot is on Parris Island, with two "r"s. Never mind.

Avatars United

I signed up for it a while back, and it became another one of umpteen social web sites that I don't keep up with... but now, LL has bought them, and activity there has spiked with that imprimatur.

I hope that they make some improvements--how about a search feature for groups? Also, I hope they don't expect me to use their blog feature. Too many people have already gone to "real life" blog facilities like Blogger and established blogs that have reputations, links, and familiarity. I fear I've been remiss in keeping this blog fed with new material, not to mention Pectoral Virtual Fashion--no way can I do justice to yet another blog.

UPDATE: I was mistaken. There's one search that will find avatars or groups.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

How did you start using Ubuntu?

Just Me, Anna has posted about a competition for International Women's Day in which women's essays on how they started using Ubuntu will be posted and votes gathered to determine a prize winner. Also, Jono Bacon will be picking one at random to also receive a prize.

I should say prize package rather than just prize, as they will include a variety of neat Ubuntu and Open Source-related items.

There's also a post on it at the Linuxers blog; do take a look. Even if you also go to Just Me, Anna, the Linuxers article is worth a look for the elegant Ubuntu Women logo and the other articles.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Wear Red Day

Finally, I'm ahead of the game, and not posting about an event after it happens.

I hope that you'll join in National Wear Red Day on February 5th, even if your first life nation isn't the US. I look forward to a day when we think of heart disease, and someday disease in general, the way we think nowadays about smallpox or polio--oh yeah, people got that a long time ago, didn't they? For now, though, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Please help with the fight against it.

Keep "Tips for Linux" and "All Things Linux" Alive

Amidst the various links to blogs from this blog is one to the blog of helios, a blog by a fellow whose passion to bring Open Source computing to disadvantaged youth in central Texas is an inspiration.

I hope you'll make a point of reading the entry "A Monument to Bruno", and consider helping to keep Bruno's simple but effective web site "Tips for Linux" and the "All Things Linux" forum on the air. (And supporting Helios's work, too.)