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Everything posted by VRprofessor

  1. FWIW I always over estimate what I can get accomplished when I design a new course--don't feel bad about being overly ambitious. (Do listen to the warnings others have given.) Based on skimming your comments I wonder if you have too much emphasis on virtual worlds--It sounds to me as if you want to introduce kids to a broad range of skills to encourage them to think about electronic media related career opportunities. A worthy goal, but I feel you can accomplish this while still providing some foundational lifetime skills for students who go on to careers outside of electronic media and making much less use of virtual worlds. I like getting kids into opensim/SL and making sure that they have the basic skills to function in them. Building with prims provides a lot of opportunities for learning about problem solving and exercising creativity. Many folks in SL are placebound and SL gets them "out of the house," which will be useful to some of your students later in life. Others will need to attend lectures or meetings in virtual worlds as part of their future non-media job and being able to move around without frustration would be a benefit to them. GIMP has a lot of features that are useful without any reference to virtual worlds. I suspect you could teach an entire course just on GIMP. But how many folks actually need the power of GIMP? Many of your students are going to want to be able to do basic photo editing (Picasa) or edit sound files (audicity) or video files. Knowing what to do if one shoe ruins your family photo seems like a good skill to have. And having students create a photo of themselves interacting with some historical figure would go a long way towards teaching healthy skepticism of stuff you see on the internet. Many of the commercial game engines are available free of charge for educational uses. Students could learn some simple world development-make a park or develop a historical view of some location. I love the idea of teaching basic programming skills, but I am unsure of the best approach. I would want my kids learning concepts that generalize fairly readily and I am not sure LSL is the right way to do this. I have heard of something called "netbeans" which I know some educators swear by. However, even if you teach topics, such as GIMP, as stand alone topics you can still have a few minutes of instruction on moving things from GIMP into a virtual world as one of the many things you can do with GIMP. The same with other media development tools.
  2. Perrie Juran wrote: Oh, Tex and VR, my name is Perrie not Pierre. I may make love like a French man, but alas, I am not French. I begin by apologizing for past erroneous spellings. I continue by apologizing for the future spelling errors I am likely to make. I will try to remember and do it correctly, but spelling has always been a bit of a challenge for me.
  3. FWIW the animosity towards surveys is not unique to SL or this forum. Certain populations become over-studied by well intended, but poorly prepared, researchers and those populations often become hostile to researchers generally. Pierre does an excellent job of explaining the variety of problems with most of the "researchers" looking for survey responses. There are folks who have done successful research in/about SL. The two that I am familiar with have spent time in world understanding the environment and making friends who trust the researcher enough to participate and often help recruit more participants. These folks have done good work. Those who pop up on message boards asking for survey participants rarely do work worthy of the time they are asking of participants. If you want good research, emulate those that have done good research.
  4. The most productive is to take your avi into SL and start making some friends---go ahead and declare in your profile that you are a student researcher. When folks have had a chance to get to know you, you can pass them a note card with a link to psychdata (or whatever online service your university provides) along with preliminary informed consent information (general purpose of the study and such). Google "Simon Evans" at the London School of Economics and read the methodology sections of his papers.
  5. Treasure Ballinger wrote: Hi Togran; As others have suggested, please do contact Virtual Ability. Speak with Gentle Heron, tell her I sent you over from the forums, she'll be able to guide you. Hope to see you around the grid. Gentle is definitely the one you want to talk with first.
  6. Avatar shape is easy, select any of the basic avatars and you can edit the shape as you wish. In the SL viewer right click on your avatar and select "edit my shape" and you will find lots of adjustable sliders. I've read about designing and editing skins--I can see why skins tend to be expensive. When buying skins use the demos--skins tend to be designed to a particular shape and may not look good on your preferred shape.
  7. On your budget I would recommend buying a basic, non-gaming i3 or i5 based desktop and think about upgrading in a few months. Even a fairly cheap build is at the very high end of your budget: Using lower price, but basically sound, components you could build with: A fairly basic case for $40 to $50 B75 chipset motherboard ~$75 i3 CPU $120 to $140 8GB RAM ~$75 Windows OS ~$100 (or Linux for $0) Power supply ~$50 DVD drive $30 Hard Drive $80 That puts you at ~$590 and you haven't purchased a GPU yet. ($490 if you go with Linux--although I have no idea how/if Linux deals with most PC games.) You can save a few $ by watching for sales, but only $50 or so. If you can salvage the hard drive and/or DVD drive out of your current computer you can save a few dollars that way, but you will likely want to replace a salvaged hard drive before too long--so the savings are temporary. If you want a nice gaming PC, you should prepare yourself to spend a bit more than you currently have budgeted. I am pretty happy with budget cases, but not everyone is, and a case can run you $200. The B75 based motherboard is going to have very few expansion slots--I never add more than a GPU so I only need the one, but if you plan to save up for dual GPUs, you'll need a better motherboard--they start at around $130 and go up pretty quickly. You can purchase a basic, non-gaming i3/i5 computer comfortably in your price range--it won't have a GPU and the power supply won't support a high end GPU, so you'll need to replace the power supply before you add a GPU. It will handle photography comfortably and it will play most games on lower settings. This approach gives you the option to save up for a nice GPU and power supply in the future.
  8. How comfortable are you with editing an AO? You could buy an AO that is copy/mod and take out all the standing animations that you dislike. If you only want a couple of stands many of the vendors sell starter/newbie AOs pretty cheap. Cheap enough that you could even buy a couple and see which you like best.
  9. Here's one on sale today: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834313582&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL122413&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL122413-_-EMC-122413-Index-_-na-_-34313582-L04C I worried a bit about the GT 745M GPU, but it has better specs than my GT 550M so it should work fine. the 17" screen size does make it more of a desktop replacement than a laptop, so maybe that doesn't work for you.
  10. Daisonia wrote: Would this be good then? (A link from your site). http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834314178 videobenchmark.net rates the GT720m as barely better than HD4000. Look for something with a GT650m or better GPU.
  11. I am a big fan of the intel HDxxxx graphics as a temporary measure in a desktop--buy a nice GPU a couple months after buying the desktop when your wallet has a chance to recover. But in a laptop, you have to buy the graphics card when you buy the computer--and the HD series is not a true graphics card. (I understand they are great for streaming video and such, but they are not for serious GPU use.) Find something with an NVidia 550m graphics card, or better (650m is better) and shop for a sale. It took me about a month to find the laptop I use....but it was worth the hunt. (graphics in mine is GT 550M which runs SL comfortably on medium settings. It will run High settings, but with soooo much heat I am afraid the whole system is going to burn up.)
  12. Definitely check your wifi channels and hope there is some "empty" space. I live in a relatively sparse neighborhood and I still receive about 10 different signals--I cannot imagine how many you must have in an apartment complex. I have no problems with SL and wifi in my home, but if I lived in an apartment I would look into running a network cable from the router to the spot I normally sit when accessing SL.
  13. Happened to be idling browsing the web and noticed one of the benchmark sites ranks the GTX 760 as delivering th most performance per dollar spent of several GPU cards in the same category. If you (OP) can afford one (around $300 U.S.) that seems like the card to shoot for to me.
  14. You've gotten some good advice on some sensible hardware upgrades for a better computer at minimal additional cost. I'm going to add one point. Many people will deny it, but the higher end AMD processors (and the Intel i-series processors) will run Second life, all be it not well--low graphics settings at low fps rates--but it will run. I mention this because if you are currently having budget issues you may want to put a bit of extra money into the CPU, and other components today, and purchase a nice GPU in a couple of months. For me a good GPU pushed my computer's purchase price past my comfort level--so I relied on the built in graphics on the CPU (i5-2500k) for 3-4 months until I could afford a decent GPU. Depending on where I am, I run SL on a variety of computers with a range of different capabilities. The built in GPU for the modern high end chip runs SL on par with the worst of the computers I use (older G-xxx CPU and GT 520 graphics card). So for the first few months my SL experience on my worst and best computers was roughly the same. Eventually I bought a GTX550ti, which was a nice upgrade, and finally a GTX 660ti which does everything I need right now. Other: Modern computer components are like really expensive legos--they are designed so someone with a modest bit of care and skill can put them together. Just make sure the components you purchase work well together. Cases vary all over in price--there really is a difference, but I've purchased a couple of low end cases that have worked well enough. What really matters, to me, it the position of on/off switches, number and location of USB ports, and that sort of thing. My cases sit on the floor so power switches on/near the top are critical. If, however, I set the computer up on my desk, I would be looking for a power switch nearer the bottom of the case. Repeating the message from an earlier post: do your homework so that you don't spend money foolishly. If you buy 6gb of RAM today you are almost certainly going to be upgrading to 8GB in a few months to a year--just get the 8GB now. I don't know the AMD CPU line, but in the Intel line, upgrading from i3 to i5 is very likely worth the extra money, while upgrading from the i5 to the i7 probably isn't worth it.
  15. Have you check the newcomer friendly sims in the destinations tab? You may have to visit two or three before you find one you like and that seems to have the right number of people for you to chat with comfortably. My personal experience is that the newcomer sites with a small number of people are the easiest for the shy person because the oldbies get excited everytime someone new shows up and will start talking to you right off. Earlier advice about looking for groups with a shared interest is also good. Most of the newcomber groups send out information about classes (building, role playing, etc) that you can attend to see if that sort of thing appeals to you. They also have parties pretty regularly so you have something to do. Folks at the parties are typically willing to talk with newbies and there is generally enough going on in the public chat that even if you aren't speaking, you're part of a group.
  16. Nalates Urriah wrote: You can always use an alternate avatar. This is my solution of choice. If you have lots of purchased items that are no transfer this may not work very well for you. But if you are building from scratch it shouldn't be a problem.
  17. I am geeky enough that I start with 8GB RAM, although I am uncertain if it actually helps with running SL. Can't possibly hurt and with the holidays here I have seen some decent sale prices on RAM online. Graphics is the biggest bottleneck for SL and most of the time a graphics card is the way to go. Like the previous poster I'm going to recommend checking the power supply. Not only do you need connectors, you need enough power. The low end GPU cards that will upgrade your computer need a minimum 350w - 400w power supply--and based only on comparision charts it looks like that will give you a modest improvement. If you get a more capable GPU it is going to want a bigger power supply--most recommendations I see are 500w or larger. While power supplies aren't exactly cheap, online vendors put them on sale regularly so they won't break you.
  18. KarenMichelle Lane wrote: Are you serious? I do it because I love music, and have a talent for doing mood shaping with my sets and the smiles from my patrons. WHAT! - We can get paid as well in Lindens? Thanks for that update. Although I am not an SL DJ this is pretty much what I was thinking. Some folks do get serious about their work in SL, and some of them are quite successful in first life currencies. But many are doing what they do as a hobby--and hobbies are about the joy they bring, not the profits. If you happen to make a few bucks to offset some of the cost, that's a bonus.
  19. Madelaine McMasters wrote: I also notice that the CPU in your candidate PC is designed for a notebook, which makes me wonder if the power supply in that box won't be too small to handle an eventual upgrade to a whizzy graphics card. And I further wonder if the case will be large enough to accomodate a full size, fat graphics card. Can you provide more information? Madelaine has a point--a notebook is unlikely to have any room for expantion. And if it happens to be a desktop you will want to check the power supply to make sure you can add a graphics card at a later date. Even a fairly modest GPU will require a 350w power supply while 300w is "standard." A nicer GPU will want an even larger power supply. And if you do a great deal more tricking out, you'll likely need more power.
  20. The number one issue I have with using SL for education is that most students have basic computers with limited graphics. (The second is that they all use campus wifi.) They find it very frustrating. A basic computer will run SL at low FPS rates using "Low" graphics settings. If all you do is stand around and chat with people you'll probably be fine. But if you want to be active, you'll likely get frustrated. I don't know about where you are, but here in the States we are coming into the season of great deals on technology. If you are willing to be patient and spend some time every day checking prices, you could find a computer in your price range with better graphics.
  21. LepreKhaun's suggestion of using hair, skin, and shape adjustments to get an avatar that sort of looks like you is one a couple of my students used to good effect. Using mostly freebies and slider controls they were able to create avatars that resembled themselves strongly enough that I could connect the avi to the RL student in class based on appearance.
  22. I am still new to this land purchasing thing, but my understanding is that LL has huge parcels of land that are currently in "maintenance" which is either abandoned land or land that was never sold in the first place. It appears to me that abandoned land is listed for sale for some period of time at a price of $L1/m2 before being put into maintenance. After a time parcels are put up for auction with a starting price of $L0.5/m2. They aren't selling new mainland. If you want a full sim all to yourself, and are not tied to your current sim, look at the auctions--I've seen a couple for 1/2 sim---http://ld.auctions.secondlife.com/lin/auction/auction/view/id/13570/?SID=ef5ac9ed923d3687e1eb1cca8897124d is listed right now. There is a 1024m2 of abandoned land on the same sim and a (IMO overpriced) parcel. If you buy all that is currently available you'd have about 55% ownership.
  23. I occasionally run SL on an i3 computer with a GTX 550ti video card. Runs fine--although it would run better with a better video card. Advice on checking your power supply first is spot on. If you don't have enough power the new GPU isn't going to work. I can't remember if it is the GT 630 or GT 640 that will run on the typically installed power supply--but it is one of those.
  24. Two problems I've have not yet seen mentioned: 1. Virus protection may see the voice module as a virus and disable it. You should be able to set an exception. 2. my wireless headset doesn't work unless I plug it in and turn it on BEFORE starting the SL viewer.
  25. Any discrete graphics card above the GT630 or possibly GT640 will require a larger power supply than is typically included with a normal retail computer. The HD graphics should run SL on LOW settings. Anything higher than that will make your computer cry. Also, if your laptop is shutting down, it could be that you are overheating it. SL does that to laptops. Make sure all of the air vents in your current laptop are dust free and clear of obstacles, especially when running SL. (Same advice if you choose to purchase a new laptop.) I run SL on both laptops and desktops and find the experience most satisfying when I am using a desktop with GOOD GPU installed. However my initial desktop build was based on an i5 chip and I used the onboard HD graphics for a few months before I added a discrete GPU. Not having experienced SL on anything better I was happy with the HD graphics. It allowed me to chat with folks and do a bit of shopping without much frustration. Dancing and exploring will definitely have you wanting a GPU. You can frequently purchase a one generation old i3 or i5 based desktop on sale for a modest price. I saw an i3 based desktop on sale yesterday for about US $320. If you do that, you'll eventually want to upgrade the power supply (with careful shopping of sales and rebates around $40, otherwise $60 - $80) before you upgrade by adding a GPU (GTX 650 (about $120) should work well on a single monitor system, I use a GTX660ti with a dual monitor system). The absolute most satisfying thing about using the desktop versus the laptop is the screen size. The 15.6" (typical) laptop screen just doesn't compare to a 23" display. If you are stuck with a laptop you may want to look into purchasing an external monitor for your SL experiences. If you go laptop look for nvidia GT 650M or better graphics installed if you plan to do more than chat and shop in SL.
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