Monday, March 28, 2011

Better Corsets Through Technology

The alpha capabilities of Viewer 2.0 permit a great improvement in shoes; they avoid the problem of dueling alpha textures that make some things that shouldn't be transparent transparent. (Now to see whether I can get improved versions of all my favorite shoes...)

The same facility improves the appearance of corsets greatly. No longer do you have "invisiprims" that make things behind them look transparent! The House of Alisha has new products that take advantage of the new feature, and I've bought a gown. I still have hopes of combining a tiny waist with prim breasts.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Development of the Cool

My landlady and friend, Cheyenne Palisades, is a wise woman. Linden Lab could do a lot worse than handing new residents a copy of her blog post, "How to Be Cool in Second Life". (Though I have to admit to liking clackety shoes at a reasonable, i.e. low, volume.)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Break It Down

It's coming up on forty years since the publication of D.L. Parnas's classic paper on how to break a problem down into pieces. Slightly later, Glenford Myers wrote about software design and the principles of coupling and cohesion of modules. The whole of computer science teaches us: break a problem down into reusable pieces that communicate solely through well-defined interfaces.

And still the temptation is there, under the pressure of deadlines and demands from customers, to take the easy way out.

If the SL client honored those principles of minimal coupling and strongly cohesive modules, it would be easy to create new user interfaces, or keep an old one as an option. None of the brouhaha over being forced to use the 2.x UI would have happened. Hamlet Au writes about SL and the disabled, and how, ironically, a virtual world that lets one escape one's handicaps to an extent has a UI that can be hard for the disabled to use. One UI will do for the able-bodied, but there are many disabilities. Locking shifts? Sip and puff? Some analog of sonar for the blind, or a force feedback device that can be made to act like a Hoover cane? The potential users for a specialized interface form a small market that will be waiting forever for Linden Lab to create something for them. Make it possible for anyone to create a user interface, and people will.

Of course, we're partly at fault. Darn it,. the problem we've found is the most important in Second Life, and must be fixed now! [Insert favorite threat of what we'll do if it's not fixed this very instant here.] Just piling on more of that motivation to take the short cut, the easy way out... the fix that violates the interface, sneaks a peek at data that should be hidden.

Tateru Nino writes about the issue, and I've seen comments on web sites of third-party viewers about the amount of coupling between the UI and the rest of the client.

Would you be willing to accept some delay in fixing your favorite bug if LL would take the trouble to do it over right?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

OK, so I tried it...

...and, as Queen Victoria would say, we are not impressed.

I grabbed the Snowstorm SL client that supports point-and-click to move, and enabled it. Then I tried two things:
  • clicking (or rather, double clicking) on a point with an obstacle on the direct line between me and the point
  • clicking on a point with water on the direct line between me and the point
For the first, well, at least it was smart enough to stop when I hit the chair. For the second, into the drink I went.

I shudder to think what would happen at a store hundreds of meters in the air had I tried to cross a gap.

The sole virtue, IMHO, is that enabling point and (double) click doesn't preclude the old standard arrows to move, so on the rare occasion that it proves useful, you can use it, and stick with arrows the rest of the time. I didn't try interrupting it, as you'd definitely want to do if someone unexpectedly appeared in or walked into that straight line path that is all it knows to do.... and that is supposed to be the savior of Second Life?  Puh-leeeze.

P.S. Am I opposed to it, as per Hamlet Au? Only when I think of the opportunity cost. What actually useful things were put off or discarded in favor of... this?

BUSTed featured in Gwenwifer Parx's blog

Maggie's already mentioned it, but... BUSTed is becoming more widely known!

Gwenwifer Parx's elegant blog (in Portuguese) has an article about the magazine. Ms. Parx contacted Maggie, and the result is a pleasure to look at and to read. Brava, Maggie!

Compatible Latex

For those who like latex clothing and prim breasts: Latex Web Inc. makes some outfits that are compatible with Lolas and eCorp prim breasts. (I have indulged in SL--I really liked one outfit that was very reminiscent of what a superheroine might wear--but can't imagine how anyone could bear to wear latex clothing in RL.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Must-read from Dale Innis

A spot-on parody of Hamlet Au's recent spate of postings about how vast hordes of new users would come to Second Life if only one could click to move like the Sims and Second Life were integrated with Facebook, and that the worst enemy of SL's expansion are its current users.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh, dear...

A local establishment that does heating and cooling work is having an event that's unfortunately named for those of us in Second Life. It involves a free furnace, so it's their... yes, their "freenace" event.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

If you can't have a sunken cathedral... about a semi-submerged pipe organ?

A dear friend, Reine, collects Second Life musical instruments, including really gorgeous stringed instruments like oud, pipa, vihuela de mano, lute, theorbo, and the like. (Drums, too; she has a sweet tabla.) But I'd never have expected this...

So for a while I took pictures with various Windlight settings while she played gorgeous baroque organ music partially underwater at the beach on Crete. Great fun!

UPDATE: Oops! Reine properly corrects me in the comments; she has an archlute, not a theorbo. 

UPDATE: Nae, Reine may well have told my absent-minded self where she got the pipe organ, but I don't remember. Peeking at SL Marketplace turns up a fair number of pipe organs. Help, please? [tries for the big puppy dog eyes look]

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New (to me, at least!) Prim Breast Maker

Laurana Newell kindly sent out word that HKM is making and selling prim breasts. They have a vendor at Wesh Beauties. I have yet to knowingly see anyone with them on, and it will be a bit before I can afford to buy and try out a pair, but I will post what I find out as I find it out.

BTW, while the prim breasts may be new (and I think they are, judging by the bug fixes mentioned on the web site, HKM isn't new to Second Life. I've purchased another item they make, called "Boob Tops Maser [sic] v2", though microwaves are not involved as far as I can tell. It looks like it's intended to make it easy to create tops for prim breasts, but the documentation suffers greatly from very definitely not being written in the author's native language.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Mystery of Bodice Ancient Clothing Solved

Here's what happened: Bodice Ancient Clothing now exists only on Second Life Marketplace.

There's a certain logic to it. No tier, no rent, just income... or does Linden Lab charge for a presence in the Marketplace? On the other hand, it does eliminate the social act of shopping, and thus may also miss some sales--aren't you more likely to buy if you're with other people, chatting and shopping?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Real Loser

Hamlet Au writes today in New World Notes about virtual world racism as discussed at this year's SXSW, and someone goes on in the comments about how such things are mostly fake, arising from him (or her) and people like him (or her) who get their pathetic jollies by saying whatever it takes to get a rise out of people.

In a perverse way. I appreciate that, and I hope that warning about such people is made a part of the information given to newcomers to Second Life. Also, I'd like to see his (or her) ilk become known as the real losers of virtual worlds... not the stereotypical guy in the basement, but those unable to think of any other form of diversion than being a jerk.

Earth Mother

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A plea to hairmakers and jewelers

If you make items appropriate for the era of the Minoan civilization, please consider setting up vendors in the shopping area on the Minoan Empire sim. Hair especially; it would be nice to try on a demo while wearing clothing appropriate to the era, but that clothing is liable to get one at best a talking to, at worst banning from stores elsewhere. Thanks.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Conclusion jumping, streaming audio version

Well, I spoke too soon. I misunderstood what was going on with the music I was hearing; it wasn't streaming, it was just a really long sound effect.

So no, Firestorm does not play streaming audio on 64-bit Linux systems. Darn it.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cover Art?

Two and a half years ago, I took a picture with some particle generator attachments in the depths of Chakryn Forest, and I was reminded of some of the cover art work done by the great Frank Kelly Freas. (Only reminded, to be sure; as the comment says, it's a humble nod to one of Freas's styles.)

The more recent photo I took brought the earlier one back to mind, and something else: I can visualize a title superimposed on it, can't you? I'm sure that the permission and IP issues some talked about in the past for Second Life photography in general would return with a vengeance here, but I wonder--has anyone used a Second Life photograph for cover art of a book that is not about Second Life or virtual worlds?

Bodice Ancient Clothing--has it disappeared, or just moved?

I'm looking to increase my wardrobe of Minoan clothing--wonderful as RFyre's Ondami dress is, variety is a good thing. In my search I came across some items from Bodice Ancient Clothing that looked promising. I peeked at the SLURL (I don't have my browser set up to deal with those yet), entered the coordinates... and teleported, as the song goes, "way up in the middle of the air". Thank goodness Firestorm has a one-button "TP me back!" function.

So... SL Marketplace data are at best old; at worst, the store's gone. If you know what happened to Bodice Ancient Clothing, I'd love to hear from you.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Minoan Empire a featured sim!

As I type, the Minoan Empire sim is a featured sim in the historical role-playing category. Congratulations and thanks to all those who have made it the beautiful and inviting place that it is.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Ancient Minoan Civilization ("Creep" by Radiohead)

You may have seen things on YouTube like rap versions of the intro to the Canterbury Tales... well, here's a quick look at Minoan civilization to the tune of Radiohead's "Creep".

For a rather more serious overview, don't miss the museum in the Minoan Empire sim.

I don't think I can do better than this...

So... I did let my fingers get a little pruny trying out Windlight settings, and I think I've done about as well as I can do for now. I've posted pictures taken from behind before, so we'll skip the break this time.

It's all too easy to forget where we came from. We get used to improvements, impatient, and always look at what we don't have. "Why's mesh taking so long?" and so forth. To remind myself of how far Second Life has come, here's the very first photo I took on the grid, about five and a half years ago:

I was so proud of it... then... and I remember how amazing the sim seemed, with railings and stairs and benches, and a little bar at which you could sit and watch the ship in the distance, and the art exhibit you could walk through.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

must-read--er, view--at the Alphaville Herald

I'm not sure just what's going on at the Alphaville Herald. It seems that articles are getting to be few and far between, and somewhere around half of them are photo spreads of avatars in various stages of (un)dress, typically accompanied by a pile of catty comments. That said, I recommend strongly that you check out this article, which treats a subject with every iota of seriousness that it deserves. I hope you enjoy it as much as I. (Oops, that's tranya....)

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Minoan and Second Life skirt construction

I'm amused by something I've just read. A web site about the famous Minoan "snake goddess" figurine describes the construction of the skirt as follows:
The skirt worn by the figure is comprised of seven overlapping flounces; a flounce being a strip of cloth gathered and sewed on by its upper edge only. The lower edge of the first six flounces overhang the upper edge of the one below. The bottom edge of the lowest touches the ground, concealing the figure's feet.
When I read this I had to smile; after all, what are prim skirts in Second Life but flounces just as this web site describes them? Coincidence? Perhaps, but I like it.