Monday Meme

procrast2Yes, I know it’s Tuesday.

I’m a procrastinator, what can I say?

Anyhoo, Strawberry Singh’s Monday Meme for this week was one I thought I could actually complete. 😀

Have you ever SecondLifed?

Meme Instructions: Copy and paste the following questions and answers to your post, delete my answers and input your own.

I’ve done a series of “have you ever” questions pertaining to Second Life. So all of the questions will start with “Have you ever” and end with “in Second Life?”

  1. Have you ever owned a sim in Second Life? – No
  2. Have you ever created content in Second Life? – Yes.
  3. Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life? – I drove a hovercraft recently, but other than that, nope.
  4. Have you ever gone sky diving in Second Life? – Does falling out of the sky when your LM is old count?
  5. Have you ever played a sport in Second Life? – No.
  6. Have you ever gone clubbing in Second Life? – Yes.
  7. Have you ever fangirled/fanboyed someone in Second Life? –  No.
  8. Have you ever taken a picture of your avatar in water in Second Life?Yes.
  9. Have you ever taken a picture of a sunset in Second Life? – No. *makes a note to do that next*
  10. Have you ever taken a nude picture of your avatar in Second Life?Yes.
  11. Have you ever dated in Second Life? – No.
  12. Have you ever had or attended a wedding in Second Life? – No.
  13. Have you ever drank, smoked or taken drugs in Second Life? – Yes, yes, and what’s the point of that?
  14. Have you ever engaged in sexual activity in Second Life? – *pleads the fifth*
  15. Have you ever been to Bukkake Bliss in Second Life? – What’s Bukkake Bliss?

Well, at least I now have a few more things I can add to my ‘to-do’ list.  😀

Inventory Organization

Image Source: simrestartsecondlife.blogspot.com
Image Source: simrestartsecondlife.blogspot.com

I like to think of myself as a very organized person.

I make lists, I keep a calendar of activities, and I plan ahead.

Because I like things to be organized, I keep my inventory organized.

My husband is just the opposite.

His inventory drives me batty and I’ve been known to log in and secretly organize his inventory while he is elsewhere. 🙂

Of course, then he complains he can’t find anything, because why would you look for pants in the folder labeled ‘pants’?

After coming across yet another post about organizing inventory, I started to wonder how other people organize their inventories.

Or if they even bother.

There is no universal ‘best way’ to organize, and some of the advice I’ve read on the subject seems backwards to me.

I have no idea how people with large inventories don’t go crazy – mine is sitting at around 36K at the moment, and that seems hugely wasteful to me.

Especially as I know that fully half of it is stuff that I a) probably will never use, b) stuff I haven’t used since I got it, and/or c) stuff I should just toss.

Yet as ruthless a declutterer as I can be in RL, I’m a closet hoarder in SL.

I can’t bear to just throw things away.

I have no idea why.

One of my goals this year was to go through my wardrobe and pare it down.

It’s a project that I’ve been working on slowly.

Nai’s 365 challenges have given me an excuse to gallivant all over SL in various outfits, taking pictures.

For whatever reason, after I have taken a picture of the outfit, I have no problem at all tossing it in the delete pile.

I guess I need some sort of memento of it before I can get rid of it.

Which is okay – I’ve been taking more pictures, exploring SL more, and working on my photography skills all at the same time!

I’m slowly working my inventory number down (except for all the darn sales that seem to be going on!) and I thought I’d share a few organization tips.

Take them or leave them – as I said, there’s no ‘universal’ advice for organization, just pick what works for you. 😛

One of the first things you need to know to organize your inventory is the hierarchy of folders (which you can change).

Image Source: wiki.secondlife.com
Image Source: wiki.secondlife.com

There are two main folders in your inventory – one labeled My Inventory and one labeled Library.

The library folder is full of basic, generic items that are provided to every avatar in SL.

For the most part, I think pretty much everyone ignores this folder.

Most of what’s in it is old, clunky, ugly, and not really useful.

Everything else you buy or collect goes in the My Inventory folder.

You can choose how folders are displayed – under the little gear button at the bottom left of the inventory window.

The options are ‘sort by name,’ ‘sort by most recent,’ ‘sort folders always by name,’ and ‘sort system folders to top.’

System folders are the folders that have a little icon on the folder – things like gestures, favorites, scripts, etc.

You cannot delete system folders.

Since I have other folders I have created I want displayed first, I do not sort system folder to the top.

I use ‘sort by name.’

A trick for naming folders so that they appear in the order you want is to include other characters.

For example, I want my blog folder (which contains items related to my blog) to always appear at the top.

But ‘blog’ starts with a B.

Any folder named with an A will sort and appear above it.

So I add other characters.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, odd characters sort differently (characters like *, {, #, ~).

How do you know which characters will sort where?

There’s an ASCII character hierarchy – see here if you’re interested.

The top three ASCII characters are !, “, and #.

I label my blog folder ‘!Blog Stuff’ and it will go to the top of the sort.

Also, the number of characters makes a difference.

So a folder named ‘!!!Misc’ will sort higher than a folder named ‘!Dances.’

The next big step in organizing your inventory is to make folders for various like items.

I have folders with labels like blog stuff, house stuff, stuff for building, etc.

You can make sub-folders as well.

In my ‘clothing’ folder, I have sub-folders with labels such as ‘pants,’ ‘shirts,’ ‘shoes,’ and ‘dresses.’

Under dresses, I might have sub-folders labeled ‘cocktail,’ ‘ballroom gowns,’ and ‘vintage.’

The ballroom gown folder might have sub-folders of colors – blue, red, green, etc.

Of course, you may have a completely different system that works really well for you.

If you do – please share!

I’d love to know how others keep their inventories organized. 😀

Identity Crisis?

Facial RecognitionScrolling through my Twitter feed, I came across this question:

If you didn’t have nametags, would you be able to recognize someone in SL? If so, how?

In RL, I am pretty good at remembering names and faces, even if it’s someone I’ve met only briefly.

In SL, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game, as my dad would say. 😛

How do you distinguish yourself in SL?

Of course there are lots of ways, but as ‘individual’ as we think our avatars are, can we be recognized while we’re ‘out and about’?

I asked my husband what visual clues he thought people used to recognize each other in SL.

His first thought was clothing, which I disagreed with.

I’ve seen lots of people wearing the same clothing – and with mesh templates so popular now, sometimes it’s a rarity NOT to have several someones wearing the same garment.

My first thought was faces.

That brought to mind a topic I’ve been mulling over for a while now.

Mesh heads.

I am not a fan.

Someone had a post the other day about mesh heads and RBF.

I had no idea what RBF meant, so I had to google it. 😛

I understand why mesh heads are popular.

Well, scratch that.

No, I don’t.

Yes, I know you can change the expressions, skins, makeup, etc. for individuality.

Regardless, they all still look the same to me – the same pinched nose, the haughty eyebrows, the eternal ‘something smells in here and it’s probably you’ expression.

For whatever reason, the mesh heads seem too perfect to be real.

So if everyone now looks pretty much the same with all the mesh heads floating around (sometimes literally, lol) – how else can you distinguish people in SL?

My next thought was AO’s.

After you spend a fair amount of time with someone in SL, you learn to recognize certain things.

The way they chat (typing errors, sentence structure, syntax), the way they move, and to a certain extent, the way they dress.

Because SL is such a visual medium, the AO’s that people wear can be a distinguishing feature (for me, anyway).

I use the built-in AO in Firestorm, and I have modded the original AO to suit me – removing certain animations, adding different runs, etc.

Now, I don’t know how many people use a built-in AO (I’m not even sure if the LL viewer has one, though I assume it does), and I don’t know how many people actually take the time to modify their AO’s – built-in or attached.

But I do associate certain animations/AO’s with certain people.

So I would like to think that I could recognize people in SL, even without nametags (which I rarely have turned on).

A week or so ago I was at a club, and was standing behind several people.

I thought I recognized one of the ladies in front of me.

She was wearing a mesh head and using an AO animation I recognized.

The combination made me think of a certain person.

I opened my radar to see if it actually was her, and it was someone completely different.

It was a bit disconcerting, because this person looked exactly like the other person I had mistaken her for.

And then a bit disappointing, because I suddenly realized that some of those pieces of ‘individuality’ may be on the way out.

If there were no nametags, would you be able to recognize your friends? Your significant other?

Have you ever mistaken someone for someone else in SL?

Avatars, Lag, and ARC

This is an old pic, but the principle is still the same.  Image Source: nwn.blogs.com
This is an old pic, but the principle is still the same.
Image Source: nwn.blogs.com

One of the things you learn quickly and come to hate passionately in SL is lag.

As a performer, lag is inescapable.

You’re backstage, caching dances, and then WHAM!

Suddenly your computer freezes, your screen goes black, and you begin to pray that you won’t crash.

By some miracle, you don’t crash, but moving is now like slogging through molasses.

Dancers have traded tips and tricks for years on ways to reduce lag at performances – things like:

  • turn down your draw distance
  • lower your particles
  • turn off render for stuff like trees, terrain, sky, etc, that aren’t needed indoors
  • watch your scripts – remove unnecessary ones

Venues have tried to help by asking audiences to do various things –

  • sit down as soon as they arrive
  • no facelights
  • remove AO’s
  • watch their scripts

Many venues have even installed script counters to help police the worst offenders.

But we still have lag.

So I was curious when I saw a post from Penny Patton about draw weight (ARC, Avatar Render Cost – whatever you want to call it).

In her post, Penny talks about how she was able to reduce her ARC from 200K+ down to around 50K.

Now, Penny is much more technical than I am, and I wouldn’t even attempt some of the things she does to decrease her ARC.

I wouldn’t even know HOW to do some of them.

I, like many of us in SL, am at the mercy of the content creators, whom I expect to know much more about things like textures, specular maps, polygons, and LOD than I ever will.

So after reading Penny’s post, and coming across another post on the same issue by Nalates Urriah, I decided to do a bit of testing on my own.

The post by Nalates refers back to another post (which I did not read), and states that on an ’empirical basis Kay found that jewelry is a major culprit in high ARC.’

I was curious to see what the ARC of various items in my own inventory would be.

I logged in and turned on the ARC.

You can do this yourself under the Advanced Menu > Performance Tools > Show Render Weight for Avatars. (And that is about the extent of my technical knowledge when it comes to SL!)

You will now see a number above your head – this is your ‘ARC.’

I found an outfit in my inventory and put it on.

After removing each item separately to find its ARC, here is how my outfit broke down:

  • Mesh Hair:  1450 ARC
  • Mesh Dress:  2744 ARC
  • Mesh Feet:  1736 ARC
  • Mesh Hands: 1200 ARC each (2400 ARC total)
  • Mesh Shoes:  10560 ARC
  • Earrings: 4345 ARC each (8690 ARC total)
  • Necklace: 14482 ARC

I was not wearing any other items, other than my eyeballs, skin, and shape (I have no idea how to find the ARC of these things, since SL does not allow you to NOT wear a skin or shape).

So, I just subtracted all the items listed above from my ARC total.

Eyeballs, skin, and shape apparently account for 6308 ARC.

I was pleasantly surprised at the relatively low ARC for my mesh hair, dress, and feet.

The hands seem a little high, but I was fairly shocked by the ARC of the jewelry I had on.

It was not big, flashy pieces, just a simple necklace and earrings.

Since the other posts mentioned that jewelry was a huge culprit, I wanted to do some more investigating.

I found a jewelry set that I really love from a fairly well-known jewelry maker in SL.

I added a piece at a time to find out the ARC for each piece.

Now, let me add that this is not necessarily a scientific experiment, because sometimes the ARC would change slightly if I took the piece off and put it on again.

I don’t know if that’s because the texture is already cached?

Again, technical is NOT my forte. 😀

Anyhoo, I put on the bracelet from this jewelry set.

The ARC of the bracelet was 13603.

Almost as much as the necklace I was wearing earlier.

Then I added the left earring from this set, assuming that both earrings would be the same ARC.

Now, for some reason, I didn’t get a stable ARC from the earrings.

I got a large initial ARC, then when I removed and re-attached the earrings, the ARC seemed to fluctuate.

After several add/removes, I got the same ARC several times in a row, so I am using that one.

The earrings had an ARC of 14375 each, so 28750 ARC total for both.

So now I am at 42353 ARC for the jewelry alone, which is almost equal to the starting ARC of my entire avatar + wardrobe at the beginning of this exercise.

Then I added the necklace of the set.

The necklace had an ARC of 24235.

So for 4 pieces of jewelry (bracelet, earrings, and necklace), the ARC of the set had a grand total of 66588.

66588.

Just for the jewelry!!

Ouch.

With the jewelry added, I currently have the number 173388 floating above my head.

Which doesn’t make any sense, because if I add up the items separately, my total should be 91786.

So it appears that ARC fluctuates (I’m sure for technical reasons I don’t understand).

However, even at 91786, that would mean that 2/3 of my ARC is jewelry alone!

That is ridiculous.

I decided to try jewelry from a different maker.

I had two bracelets.

Each bracelet had an ARC of 15539, so a total of 31078 just for the two bracelets.

Wow.

That means the two bracelets alone have a higher ARC than the rest of my entire avatar/items.

Jewelry does seem to be a huge culprit when it comes to high ARC’s.

I’m not sure what the ‘optimum’ ARC for an avatar is – I suppose it depends on your computer system.

However, I will be more conscious of my ARC when going to shows.

Wearing jewelry is nice, but not absolutely necessary, especially if I am unknowingly contributing to lag.

I have a fairly nice computer setup, so wearing all this jewelry hasn’t really affected me, as ARC (from what I’ve read and (hopefully) understood), is a factor in client-side lag, NOT server-side lag.

But I am there to see the performers, and if my beautiful jewelry is lagging them out (because perhaps their computer system is a tad older than mine), then I am ruining the show.

Do a little experimenting yourself next time before you go to a show.

Perhaps you can help avoid the lag monster as well by being more aware of not only your scripts, but your ARC.  😀

If you’re curious about how ARC is calculated, see here.  I didn’t understand all of it, but light-emitting prims have a high count.

So leave your facelights at home!!!!

Content Creators – I Get It

Image Source:  community.secondlife.com
Image Source: community.secondlife.com

Yesterday was a bit of a frustrating day for me.

I have a ton of projects I’m working on all at once, and yesterday I couldn’t seem to get anywhere with any of them.

One of my ongoing projects has been to work more with my Maitreya mesh body (which I love!) and see if I could figure out how to tint it to match my current Laqroki skin.

Thinking that I could just go grab an RGB value from somewhere, I went looking.

I found about 15 different ones, and none of them worked.

Sigh.

So, because I had a picture I wanted to finish, I ended up wearing the Glam Affair skin I bought.

It looks good.

It looks really good.

It just doesn’t look like ‘me.’

I spent a little bit of time feeling sorry for myself because Laq doesn’t make appliers for the Maitreya body.

But I totally understand why they don’t.

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad applier world out there right now.

I have no idea how content creators keep up with it all.

It has got to be maddening.

I’ve made some clothing myself (using both system and mesh templates) and I’ve considered selling them on MP, just to have a few L$ trickling in now and again.

I haven’t, so far, because I have absolutely no intention of learning how to do appliers.

Which, I assume, would hinder sales.

Everyone wants something for nothing these days.

Was it annoying to have to pay for the GA SLink appliers separately from the skin I purchased?

Yes.

Do I understand why the creator does that?

Yes. Absolutely.

Time is money.

After watching my daughter (a ‘digital native’) struggle to learn Blender, I have no doubt of the time and skill it requires to create good content for SL.

That said, I also have to watch my own bottom line.

So sometimes that amazing headdress from !dM is totally worth the $300L in gacha tries.

Sometimes it isn’t.

That’s my own decision, and not something I would ever complain to a creator about.

They price their products based on many factors, including difficulty, creation time, overhead expenses, etc.

Are some products priced ridiculously high (imo)?

Yes.

Does that mean I complain about it?

Hell, no.

It just means I don’t buy it.  😀

*For a content creator’s view of this issue, read this post by Sian.

She makes some incredibly amazing stuff, and it’s interesting to hear about this issue from a creator’s perspective.

Fine Print

Image Source: studentspaces.net
Image Source: studentspaces.net

Does anyone ever really read the fine print?

Your mother told you to, but do you really?

Or have we become so eager to use the ‘latest’ app or software or service that we simply hit ‘agree’ and move on?

There was a LOT of brouhaha (I love that word 😀 ) over the changes to the TOS in Second Life a while ago.

Content creators up in arms over the wording.  Some left SL.

I’m not a content creator, so while I understood their upset, it didn’t affect me.

I do passionately believe in copyright and protections for intellectual property.  However, it’s becoming harder and harder to protect yourself and your rights.

Everyone is online.

And if you are, you need to protect yourself.

At least read the fine print.

I was looking a social media site the other day and went to read their TOS.

Here’s what it said (and no, it isn’t from SL):

“We claim no ownership of any intellectual property rights over the Content that you upload to the Service. Any intellectual property rights in the uploaded Content belong solely to you (or your licensors). However, by uploading the Content to the Service, you grant -company name retracted- a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual and irrevocable right to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, sublicense, and prepare derivative works of, such Content, in any format or medium now known or later developed, solely on and through the Service, subject to these Terms of Service and our privacy policy. You represent and warrant that you have sufficient rights to grant this license.”

Wow.

So they claim no ownership, but then in the next sentence say that you uploading content allows them to basically do anything they want with it, in any format (now known or invented in the future), in perpetuity.

PERPETUITY.

You know what perpetuity means right?

In case you don’t, here’s the definition from Dictionary.com:  ‘endless or indefinitely long duration or existence; eternity.’

That means they can use your stuff however they want, whenever they want, wherever they want, FOREVER.

Even though they said you own the content.

Just because you used their service.

And you can’t revoke their right to use the content, because the TOS says that not only is your agreement perpetual, it’s irrevocable.

Now, this particular TOS does say that they can/will use your content ‘solely on and through the Service’ of their site.

Which is something, I guess.

Read the fine print, people.

Plurking?

Image Source: github.com
Image Source: github.com

Yesterday I was out and about, exploring and trying new things.

I went to a talk show in SL, The Good Morning Maxine Show, and had a great time.

The other audience members were wonderful.

Maxine was asking questions of the audience about what subjects they would like to see covered on the show.

One of the questions was who would you interview if you could ask anyone?

One of the audience members said Strawberry Singh (a GREAT answer – I love her work!).

But if I could ask anyone – it would be Whiskey Monday.

I am fascinated with her art and would love to have the opportunity to ask her questions and try to find out what makes her tick.

Or tic.

Either is good. 🙂

After I mentioned her name, another audience member told me I should follow Whiskey Monday on Plurk.

Now, I already follow her blog and follow her on Twitter.

I blog, I tweet, I’m on Google+, and I am on ASN.  Do I need another social media account?

I’m torn.

It already gets overwhelming to keep up with all the content for the few platforms I’m on.

Is there a way to somehow centrally locate everything in one place?

An app that lets me tweet, plurk, blog, and post all at once?  Or at least look at all those networks from one place?

Is it worth joining Plurk?

What other apps/programs do you use to keep your sanity when using multiple social media networks?

Expanding your audience: joined posts and reply posts

I love this idea and I am certainly up for doing a joint post! Now to find some willing victims, I mean, erm, participants! 😀

SL Blogger Support

Let me start this blog-post with wishing you all a wonderful, creative, healthy and happy 2015, with lots of blogging and fun!

One of the returning questions on this site and in other platforms is: how to get more readers to my blog?

In December fellow contributor Finn posted various useful tips on that matter in this post.
In today’s article I will focus on two types of blog-posts that are not only fun to do, but they will surely help  you in getting more readers!

The ‘joined’ blogpost

A joined blogpost is a blogpost you do together with another blogger, and both make their own version of what is featured.
It could be a variety of topics and it is certainly not limited to fashion! You could choose a location, or the same outfits, a decor item or well…anything really!
Also, if you are really into something different: try…

View original post 757 more words

2015

Image Source:  mettaroundtheworld.org
Image Source: mettaroundtheworld.org

So far, 2015 is turning out to be a bang-up year.

I spent New Year’s Day with my favorite people, saw a great movie, and ate at one of our favorite restaurants.

After getting back home, I logged in to do some blogging and some housekeeping in SL.

Since I’ve started the LOTD feature on the blog, I did some research on graphics/computer settings and watched some Photoshop tutorials.

I decided to bump up my graphics setting to Ultra and see what happened.

Hubs bought me a new graphics card a while ago, and last week he increased the RAM in my PC.

He’s currently shopping for a new processor for me, but in the meantime, I wanted to see how well I could run SL on Ultra.

After making all the changes, I decided to do some shopping and exploring.

I am loving my new mesh body, but I was debating whether to get a new shape and/or skin to go with it.

The League announced that they had released appliers for the Maitreya bod, so I went over and picked up some skin and shape demos.

I think I picked up around 5 new shapes and 6 new skins to try out.

I spent about an hour trying on the various shapes and skins.

I didn’t like any of the new shapes.

They just weren’t – me.

So for now, I am keeping my shape.

I tried all the skin demos from Glam Affair and League.

I managed to narrow it down to three choices – two from Glam Affair and one from League.

I must say, it clearly has been a while since I went skin shopping, as I about dropped my teeth at some of the prices.

After doing some price comparisons, and debating the ease of use with my new mesh body, I opted for one of the Glam Affair skins.

I like the League skin and I may go back and get one later, but for now, the GA skin is good.  One click on my body HUD and everything matches – head, hands, feet.

I managed to travel around and do my shopping without crashing, so I figured it was safe to try and take some photos with everything on Ultra.

I put on an outfit and headed out to find a picturesque sim to snap a few shots.

I am AMAZED at how much better my photos came out.  I mean, I knew they would be better, but I didn’t realize just how much.

I played around with some poses and a couple of windlights and took a few pictures.

My computer was a little slow in making some of the changes, but I didn’t crash.

When I went and opened the photos in Photoshop, I was even more amazed.

In the past I have always had to do some editing of a photo to get it to look somewhat decent.

I am by no means a Photoshop wiz, but I would smooth out edges, add some shadows, etc.

This time, all I did was crop the photo and resize it so it would load decently on the blog.

That’s it.

I am excited about how much time I can save without having to edit every photo I take.

And I’m excited about how much better everything in SL looks, including me!

Here’s to a great 2015!!