TNT - Second Life Tips & Tricks

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Setting up shop in Second Life has many nuances: some best practices are universal and adopted from the real world, such as delightful customer service, while others are specific to the inworld experience — brick-and-mortar stores are concerned with navigation, yes, but fly-friendly layout and teleporter placement go beyond. For example, this pic by way of Rhonda Huntress shows Argrace's simple and clean map:

http://blogs.secondlife.com/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/2-357043-8997/450-600/100818_001.png

Alas, the tough thing is: where do you go to learn these best store practices early on? There's scattered info I'm compiling, with your guidance, into the Marketplace Seller's Guide that can expand over time (as has been useful for many other topics, to name a few).

Including...

Recently, I was very grateful to hear — and see — what a number of Residents feel is vital in

this forum thread

Especially pictures and SLurls to help you effectively understand "as-it-is". I was both curious to learn how far things had evolved from the early SL days, and shared that thread with some of our Experience Design gurus because WE NEED TO KNOW. The whole process of "finding an item -> using it" is in our sights.

Shortly thereafter, Suella Ember — who you may recognize as a very helpful face on the forums, cheese is to her what watermelon is to me — sent me an exceptionally lucid letter containing many annotated pictures. I encouraged her to post it on her blog, and here it is:

DeliciouSLy Delightful Shopping Experiences! (15 Tips for Merchants!)

One of my fave parts (friendly greetings back atcha, Suella) is "make your decor interesting and relevant". Time and time again, I've seen adding personality and character distinguish a store from "the rest" by making it a memorable visit, even giving visiting friends something to talk about. Infact, it's a cultural funnysadtrue joke that while boxes can be a pain to open, a few go the extra distance of making boxes look amazing, like these from NOTsoBAD:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4099/4742747723_09001e0e07_z.jpg

Bottom line: if you sell stuff in Second Life, please give the Seller's Guide and Suella's post a read. Then, in the comments, share what's worked well from your firsthand experiences — that other sellers should know. What do your customers repeatedly laud you for? And if you already have a blog post out there I and your fellow Residents should learn from, promote yourself!

(I realize that this info can be hard to come by since competitive forces hoard secrets and many practices are passed from one trusted friend to another, but if you're like me and believe that there are lots of "commerce tropes" that can be shared for the greater community benefit of buyers and sellers alike, I'd <3 to hear from you. Don't hold back.)

At Linden Lab, we're on an ongoing mission to provide a delightful out-of-the-box experience from the first time you sign up for a Second Life account to the inworld experience itself. In addition to news we've been sharing on the blogs, one of my particular interests happens to be "the rightest default Preferences" — broadly useful settings that most people don't need to tweak, so after they install the Viewer, they can hit the ground running (and then go flying as all avatars can, haha).

I install many viewers — in addition to the official "main" Viewer, I also use a variety of internal test and 3rd-party ones. (For you techy geeks, yes, sometimes I clone my user settings, but often, conditions require I start from scratch.) In the main Viewer at least, here are some prefs I always change in the PREFERENCES window and WHY I do it, to help you understand my intentions:

  • In General tab, I always change My effects to bright pink (#FF0080) so it's easier for me to see my selections. Bet you saw that coming! And yes, I'm a fan of the fancier shapes (all manner of Lucky Charms-looking symbols) I've seen in alternate viewers.
  • In General tab, I also change Away timeout to never so I don't get logged out when I'm away from the computer.


  • In Graphics tab, I choose Ultra, but usually disable water reflections because it can be a big performance hit. I also click Hardware and enable Antialiasing so 'dem jaggies get smoothed. Everyone on a decent system who's ever asked me why their Second Life photographs have rough edges needs to do this!
  • In Sound & Media tab, I click the little speaker next to Ambient to disable it. Why? Because all it is are the system wind and footstep sounds (which have long annoyed me — they're quieter in 2.1 but I prefer scripted shoes for those tones).
  • In Chat tab, I choose to Show IMs in Tabs. That's the pre-2.0 style and I find it saves me window clutter, even if I'm not so ardent about IM conversations as I once was.
  • In Notifications tab, I uncheck Tell me: When my friends log in or out because I find those too frequent and disruptive.
  • In Setup tab, I set Maximum bandwidth to 10,000 kbps. I've never seen Second Life actually sustain that much traffic (due to network protocol overhead) but it's a definite speed increase over the puny default of 500 kbps. A non-scientific speed test I did awhile ago showed reasonably complex scenes loaded 20-30 seconds faster for me with the higher setting. If you're on a robust broadband connection yet feel textures and stuff loads too slow for you, try this out — I think it's a default I've advocated to be changed, considering average broadband speeds.
  • In Advanced tab, I uncheck Sidebar because it makes me dizzy to watch that thing slide back and forth. Yeah, I know some of ya can relate!

How about you? Which Preferences (1) do you specifically customize for your unique needs and (2) which do you wish were automatically set for everyone?

Wait, what about Advanced and Develop menu settings? While they're under-the-hood and officially unsupported, there's plenty of use within... and

there's a thriving forum thread about "What's your fave debug setting?" you can join in

Friendly greetings fellow avatars! We've been getting so many questions about the Appearance Editor! Longer-term, following intense usability studies, we plan to fix design flaws you've reported (many of which are already on the Issue Tracker). But today, in the here and now, you want to understand how to get the most out of Viewer 2.1's Appearance Editor. For example:

  • Master inventory links! Be reassured in converting your wearables into outfits so you can swap between then at a whim — and undo changes in seconds.
  • Did you know you can wear up to 5 clothing items on the same  layer? (Like, 5 shirts, 5 tattoos, and so on.) Let me show you the  ways.
  • A new "edit icon" (wrench and screwdriver) has been introduced. Learn where to find it and what it means for you.
  • Confused how the heck each "sidebar layer" relates to another? I'll soothe your pain with a video walkthrough!
  • Did you know the Add More panel lets you add/remove/edit wearables? You may prefer it to flipping back to the Inventory tab once you spend time with it (I still am).
  • ... and more!

All this can be found in something special Erica Linden and yours truly have put together, so check out...

Appearance Editor 2.1 guide! Customize your avatar quicker and have more fun!

Before I get too Lesko here, some of you have asked, "What about attaching multiple objects to the same spot?" While that isn't yet a 100% officially supported feature and is therefore something you do at your OWN RISK, BlakOpal Designs did do a cool video I want to share.


Send me your help tutorials, I insist, so more can benefit from the knowledge you've shared.

In Second Life, we have the power to move mountains. Each of us has the potential to carve the ground into a majestic mass, rolling plains, or even a lopsided smiley face akin to Captain Picard's attempt. However, most of the time, you wouldn't want a random stranger to do this on your parcel, and that's where this next guide on TERRAFORMING comes in!

Several Residents, notably Yoshi Zhangsun's aptly-crafted prose, requested I explain terraforming better — since you see its effects EVERYWHERE you go inworld, but HOW to do it... well, that may be a mystery. And it shouldn't be. Since terraforming, like its objects-counterpart, building, is visually-oriented, I thought I'd spice things up with some visuals.

Of key importance is UNDERSTANDING how to prevent "terrain griefing", whereupon someone intentionally ruins your build by mucking with the land underneath. Edit Terrain in ABOUT LAND does not need to be on if you want to terraform (it's off by default), since you can always shape your own land (as long as there aren't higher limits which block this, as explained in the guide). This video, featured in the guide, explains more:


Then don't panic, and enjoy...

The Resident's Guide to Terraforming!

* And by "Everything", we mean "almost everything" but since Second Life is evergrowing and there are clever Residents out there who can surely find something I missed, add to the help page and make it awesomer for future terraformers. T-t-t-terraformers! Landscapes in disguise!

Sharing is caring, right? Well, it's not if you accidentally drag your gift into your house's floorboards. True Second Life story I've heard many times over — but those drag-ang-drop mishaps are fading into the sunset because MUCH EASIER INVENTORY GIVING is possible in Viewer 2.1.

While a Share button initially appeared in Viewer 2.0's My People tab, this addition to the My Inventory tab opens the CHOOSE RESIDENT window to select a target for giveration (I make up words, it's my thing). Then give away! I've had good practice using this Share button to distribute my Linden Bear, and while there are a few bugs we need to work out (as shown in the video), this user interface improvement greatly reduces the clunkery of having to wrestle Viewer controls. Your tools should work for, not against you, right?

Watch this, then try it out with a friend.


And remember, you can only send up to 42 items at a time. So long, and thanks for all the prims.

I keep seeing Residents (and my wife) wonder what happened to the "New Inventory Window" and other options in Viewer 2.1, since the My Inventory sidebar tab no longer has a dedicated top menu. Part of why we removed this was because there was unneeded redundancy where similar items could be found in two places. Oh... what's that at the bottom?

GET TO DA GEARS.png

The gear ("more options") and + icons are un-obvious at first, but CLICK THOSE to get to inventory commands you may've been used to seeing elsewhere, including New Inventory Window to pop open a second (or third, etc.) inventory window. The gear and + are found in other sidebar tabs, too.

ALSO: there's a HIDDEN SHORTCUT. I'm actually not sure if this is intentional 'cuz it's weird, but Ctrl-Shift-I opens a floating inventory window, even if the sidebar is closed.

(It's funny to see New Inventory Window still around — after I popularized it in 2006, I didn't think it'd have the longevity it has as a workaround for multiple inventory views. Commence discussion for how this could be better.)

By the way, those of you wondering what I use to get these images up so quickly in my blog and forum posts, it's the elegant Skitch with an awesome workflow. Makes it super-simple for me to snap, annotate, upload. Mac-only, alas, but on Windows, you can try Jing.

Friendly greetings! It's me, Torley (who?). You've asked and I'm answering! Following the launch of Viewer 2.1, I'm teaching you how to use features both big and small so you can get the most out of the new Viewer. Of particular attention is "Multiple-items on a clothing layer with multi-wearables". Let me show you!


Yes, that's right, you can stack up to 5 (five!) items on a clothing layer in 2.1. This largely reduces the need for workarounds like attaching prim tattoos or that other awkward one where a creator sells a "jacket, shirt, and undershirt" version of a clothing item. My gosh that was awkward, but it's fading into the past.

Some of these tips will be expanded upon in future posts (and embedded with text articles on the wiki help pages) and in some cases, my videos present bugs/shortcomings we're aware of and going to continue building on. ITERATE. In any case, I wanted to let you know that these are up right now, so check them out:

OMG NEW 2.1 STUFF!

Not entirely new, but I see this stuff asked about a lot…

Mysteries solved! Practical how-tos! And a couple classics updated for 2.1.

I'm delighted we have embedded videos back on the blog. Yoz Linden and I tested this amidst referencing Scott Pilgrim, which added to the excitement.

*ahem* What often makes great material for a video tutorial is stuff that's much easier to show than tell (removing layers of abstraction). As always, I gratefully accept comments here, and I also started a discussion thread for vidtut requests awhile back.

What's your fave 2.1 feature that isn't getting enough attention and should be better explained?

In case you were wondering... your Transaction History, found in your Account section on http://secondlife.com, shows "your Linden Dollar (L$) transactions for the previous 30 days". You can filter by date range and export your transactions for  record-keeping purposes.

What do "MKT2" and  "MKT" mean?

Since your transaction history includes Second Life items you've  purchased on the web, "MKT2 Item Purchase" refers to items purchased  from the Second Life Marketplace, which will eventually replace Xstreet (the old marketplace), whose purchased items are shown with "MKT Item Purchase".

To see exactly which items were purchased, go to Marketplace Order History (still in-progress so stuff may be missing) or Xstreet Order History.

Here's an example of what it looks like:

Keep up-to-date with Marketplace & Commerce news!

I've put the above info on a wiki help page. More video tutorials coming this week (Yoz got videos working on the blogs again, yayzerama), stay tuned fellow avatars.

Questions like "Which computer should I buy for Second Life?" and "What graphics card should I upgrade to?" are at the heart of Resident curiosity — I also see requests for more specifics than the System Requirements, since there's still a sea of choices to pick from. While I wish there was a single configuration that would make a delightful copy-and-paste answer, like cars and shoes and other goods through which you express yourself, we need to focus on what's right for you: what else are you doing with your computer? What's your budget? And so on.

Belles

Inspired by the most recent forum thread I've seen on this topic, I've started a wiki help page which is designed to be, like so many other help pages before it, (1) an easy place to look for compiled info and (2) updated over time as technology updates. It does take time to become familiar with the possibilities, so be patient with yourself and don't be intimidated amidst all the model numbers.

What I've written here draws both from Linden canon and Resident experiences, with a dash of my own personal experiences (which I'm most qualified to share firsthand). I should emphasize I'm an avid dealhunter (and have written for other renowned blogs on the topic), so cost-conscious questions like "How much does a computer that runs Second Life well cost?" are thoughtfully addressed with realistic expectations. In addition, handy links to industry-acclaimed sources are provided for further research.

Also in recognition of this, these are by no means final answers: as Second Life grows, computers keep getting faster yet cheaper, bandwidth becomes more ample, and our virtual world becomes easier to access. This goes hand-in-hand with what our founder and CEO Philip wrote the other day. So whether you're looking for help deciding on a new computer for Second Life or consider yourself savvy at picking parts and want to impart advice, please see and add to:

Which computer should I buy for Second Life? help page

There's also an on-wiki discussion page to share your experiences. Alternatively, you can make comments on this post, which is also linked to from the page. Keep the knowledge flowing!

CODA: I've been eyeing a new Windows computer to run Second Life (which makes it my fourth Windows PC focused on SL) and a forthcoming indulgent pleasure, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. (The first DX is one of the main inspirations that got me into SL.) Upon receiving my next PC, as I have before, I hope to openly share what I got, how much I got it for, and lessons learned — so if your wishes are like mine, you can adapt that to fit your computer-buying adventures.

As we make strides towards integrating the web shopping experience with the in-Viewer one — check out the Second Life Marketplace Beta for more on that (and you may gotten an email recently) — certain classic questions keep coming up. This is essential knowledge if you're a content creator, because it helps customers buy your stuff easier! And wouldn't you want to do that?

In any case, one of the classic questions is: "Should I sell my inworld Second Life creations as Original, Copy, or Contents?" That really depends on how the object is presented and what you intend to do. Out of sheer practicality, I've started a guide on the matter with one of those virtual world-famous video tutorials, clearly illustrating the differences between these three options to help you decide.

Come know! Original! Copy! Contents! Transform into Voltron or something!

4742747723_3c8fc2667f_o.jpg
Badass boxes courtesy of those NOTsoBAD dudes.

Last time I covered something quite misanthropic in nature, so this time I'm gonna do the opposite and show you how to use EMOTES to express yourself when socializing.

Emote-example-2.png

While communication is an essential part of the Second Life experience, even though there's voice chat, you may prefer to show how you feel in text chat. That's cool, because /me , /shout , and /whisper are pretty much self-explanatory ways to do what they — ahem — say. By using them in natural conversation, you can add greater dynamic range, entertain your friends, and have more fun. And who doesn't like fun? (That's a rhetorical question.)

Check out a video and tips on using these emotes!

I guarantee your conversations will never be the same again.

Sick of strangers bugging you with crap? While Second Life is a rich social environment, there are times you may want to partake in anti-social networking — that is, getting rid of distractions so you can focus on the awesome stuff you care about.

New in Viewer 2 and onwards is a feature that should get more attention: it's called "Only friends and groups can call or IM me" and does just that.

Click here for the instructions, yo!

(and a fun video showing me pestering myself, I'm recursive that way)

Did you know the Home tab of Viewer 2's sidebar gets occasionally updated to show you useful and fun stuff?

We recently put an INVITE FRIENDS thing at the top to make it easier for you to do exactly that: just click the banner to open a browser window and type your message.

Click the pic below (my gosh I miss normal blog images and videos) to see what it looks like.

We're planning to add INVITE FRIENDS in other helpful places so you can share Second Life with people you care about... and they'll feel better knowing their noob phase will be less awkward than yours might have been, hehe.

I hope you've been trying out our Viewer 2.1 Alpha because in addition to some major and under-the-hood changes, there are very visible user interface tweaks — little changes that make a big difference that have been hotly requested by our Residents. Such tweaks don't have sparkle-glam, but they're practical in your everyday Second Life… like a comfy pair of Levi's.

Click here to watch a video!

wherein I show you how to use the following, as earlier posted by Howard Linden:

  • Customize the Bottom Bar: We've added the  ability to customize the button bar, to suit your preferences and  activities (in Jira: VWR-17010, VWR-18813, VWR-18889),  including adding buttons for Build (in Jira: VWR-17130),  Search, Map, and Mini-Map to existing buttons, including Gesture, Move,  View, and Snapshot. Simply right click on the bottom bar and choose  which buttons you'd like to see on the bottom bar.
  • Resize  the Chat Bar: You can also now resize the chat bar by dragging  the right edge of the input to the desired width. 
  • Option  for Right-Hand Sidebar to Slide or Overlay Your Inworld Experience:  One major issue that came up consistently was the right-hand  sidebar (in Jira: VWR-17006, VWR-18324). We've  responded here too, making it possible now to let it slide over your  inworld view, rather than causing the inworld view to shift--your  choice! (See the Advanced panel in Preferences - Automatic position for  Sidebar.) The default preference is set for sidebar resizing of  your inworld experience, just uncheck the box if you would like the  world to stay as is.
  • Better Control Your Camera: Based  on your feedback (in Jira: VWR-361), we've  also recombined the pan and orbit controls to allow for more fluid  camera control.

When small pebbles accumulate, they can have the weight of a boulder. I'm not deliberately being Zen.

Have a video tutorial request?

[VIDEO] Voice Morphing tour

by Community Manager on ‎06-17-2010 11:09 AM

Click here to watch the video!

^ I show you how to get started with Voice Morphing. And I'll let the video, uh, speak for itself.

Shortest. TNT post. Ever?

The Library shown in My Inventory is a recurring point of confusion: it's not actually part of your inventory, just a common resource — like a shared drive. In other words, the Library has example content you can use, but not modify.

I occasionally get messages saying, "Why are your photos in my inventory?" Turns out they're referring to snapshots I contributed to the Library's Photo Album folder as examples of beautiful inworld photography.

Another confusion: while Library items appear as part of your total inventory item count — 1,248 as of this writing — they don't actually eat up extra space for each Resident's account. Still, this can make your inventory seem more bloated than it actually is.

Anyway, in the fresh Viewer 2.1 Alpha, the Library is now highlighted differently so you can see it easier.

And if you'd rather not see the Library, you can easily hide it:

  1. Enable the Advanced menu.
  2. Choose Advanced > Debug Settings.
  3. Type noinventoryLibrary. It autocompletes.
  4. Select TRUE.
  5. Close the DEBUG SETTINGS window and restart the Viewer.

More background info in "How does the Library work?", altho that page needs to be updated fully for Viewer 2.

Special thanx in this Second Life Answers thread to Homer Hanly for asking and Marie Price for recalling this tip!

Have you ever taken a close look at Second Life and wondered why the inworld graphics look so jaggy compared to, well, other games and online experiences? Especially if you're a photographer who's fed up of using liquify in post-processing. (I know who you are!)

Something many Residents don't know, but should, is that Second Life supports ANTIALIASING, which makes those edges smooth. But it's kind of obscure to find and it's not turned on by default, even if your system supports it. That's why I'm gonna show you how!

Since we're still working on getting embedded images and videos back up for blog posts... for more details on one of those wiki page-things that YOU can update and improve (mmm live documents), check out what I scribbled here:

Antialiasing help page

And may the smooth edges be with you!

[QUICKTIP] Dating your outfits

by Community Manager on ‎05-20-2010 11:28 AM

No, this isn't about marrying your clothes!

The simple benefit of adding a date stamp to your outfits is: you can easily keep a history of how your avatar's appearance has evolved. Maybe today that doesn't seem like such a big thing, but trust me, looking back in a year from now, you'll be amazed at how far you've come.

One of the easiest ways to do this is: after you click the Save Outfit button (in the My Appearance sidebar tab), append the date at the beginning. Torley prefers the (YYYY-MM-DD) format, also known as ISO 8601.

(See example picture here)

Or, you can always rename an outfit later by right-clicking it. But by doing it at the beginning, you don't have to worry about maintenance later, as minor as it may be.

Then, as you make entirely new outfits or even revisions to earlier ones, they'll be sorted in chronological order, with the newest ones on the bottom. There isn't yet a way to change the date sort order in the My Outfits tab.

Doesn't Second Life do this automatically?

Not yet, no. While the inventory system keeps track of when specific items are created or acquired, folders, unlike items, don't have such visible properties.

Are there other benefits?

Yes, if you make an outfit for temporary usage that doesn't have a date, it visually sticks out to be discarded later.

--

Cluttered inventories are a universally relatable aspect of Second Life. A few minutes' weekly maintenance can make a big difference in the long term. For more inventory organization tips, see this earlier post by Courtney Linden, and suggest your own in the comments!

Ever wanted to take a few seconds and make a quick video to show something cool you've found inworld? Or what about a video bug reproduction for the Issue Tracker so our engineers can easily understand the problem you're having? Or maybe you want to share your own video tips?

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE FREAKIN' ENDLESS! Smiley Very Happy

I see so much of a need for easy screen recording, including in our forums where it can actually take longer to type something out; people can usually talk faster than they type. A key advantage of video tutorials is they're a firsthand, "show as you see it" way to teach, as opposed to describing something by proxy.

When I was new to Second Life, I helped popularize inworld photography. Teaching snapshot skills eventually graduated to video, and the tough thing about video is you typically need several pieces of third-party software to come up with something polished, not to mention a fairly high-end computer to capably record Second Life.

The barriers are dropping. Computers keep getting faster and I've recently been experimenting with several online screencast tools: these usually use a Java or Flash app so you don't have to consciously download a regular program to your hard drive and install it. As a result, they can be more lightweight with a tradeoff in end quality.

The purpose here though, is to show other people what you see — quickly, with no frills.

The web screencast tool I've been most comfortable with so far is called Screenr. One thing is it requires a Twitter account, but once you have that, you can sign in and tweet the screencasts (recordings of your screen) you make.

Check out the very first video I made on Screenr

Another couple nice aspects:

  1. You can download the original MP4 source file for further editing and
  2. There's a convenient Publish to YouTube button — it worked when I tried it, but even when the vid was live on YouTube, Screenr still showed it stuck in "publishing" status.

A few more observations:

  • I wish Screenr could auto-detect and snap to a window's boundaries!
  • The quality of static elements like user interface text are crisp if you view them at full-screen.
  • The framerate's choppier than expected but not noticeably worse than tools like Jing.
  • The audio is a bit fuzzy but still intelligible.
  • It takes awhile to encode and publish your video after you've recorded it. This is common, so expect some waiting time.

Before flying amuck and recording as I'm prone to do, make sure you're familiar with our "Snapshot and machinima policy".

Made a Second Life video with Screenr? Do you prefer a different screencast-as-you-go tool? Have video tutorial tips? Share in the comments!

I delight in providing clarity and indulging your curiosities. Especially when it comes to helping you understand what Second Life-specific terms mean and why this matters.

Related to inventory links by way of usage, you may have heard the term "system folder". It also appears occasionally in the user interface, but isn't self-explanatory.

A system folder is a special folder with certain properties that you might liken to superpowers: it can't be renamed or trashed (or spindled or mutilated, for that matter). A system folder can also be sorted above all non-system folders at the top level of your inventory. In addition, when creating or getting certain item types, they end up in specific system folders.

In Viewer 2, system folders no longer have special icons as they once did, although we're considering visually distinguishing them again (issue EXT-2704, which isn't publicly viewable). So in the meantime, they look like regular, editable folders.

Anyway, for the lowdown on everything you ever wanted to know about system folders and some stuff you didn't want to know but should know anyway, visit something I've cooked up for you…

The system folders help article!

Like many of our help pages, this is open for any Resident to edit, so I welcome you to amplify its awesome.

Links were introduced to accompany the new outfit system in Viewer 2, which makes it easier to switch between sets of clothes or entire avatar looks.

Previously in Viewer 1.23 and earlier, making a new outfit would copy all copyable items and move all no-copy items into a single folder.

But what if you want to include a no-copy item in multiple avatar outfit folders? You couldn't.

Now, making a new outfit creates a link to each item instead. By making multiple outfits, multiple links to a single item can be created, which simplifies keeping track of what went wear, um, where. Great if you have a pair of shoes you like wearing with several outfits.

Here's a popular example:

  • You go on a shopping spree and buy several clothing items, each of which comes in its own folder.
  • Some of these items have multiple variations in their own folder which you won't be wearing all at once, like a skirt that comes in several lengths, or hair that comes in several colors.
  • You want to wear these items as a cohesive outfit for quick future retrieval so you won't have to waste time digging around in each folder.
  • But, you don't want to wreck the original folder structure since there may be other items in them like documentation you want to preserve. (Fashion-related goods often include a "read me" notecard, a landmark to the shop, and sometimes a texture with a picture preview.)

Guess what?

By saving a new outfit, a folder with links to all of the items you're wearing is created. You can easily wear all the items the folder's contents are linked to in a few clicks.

However, inventory links do have some finer points to be aware of. That's why you should see…

The "Inventory links" help article!

We have an official Second Life YouTube channel. It's easy to get to:

youtube.com/secondlife

Similar to our outreach in other "social media" places like Facebook and Twitter, this makes it easier for you to stay updated on awesome Second Life stuff without leaving the comfort of a tool you may already be familiar with.

Our YouTube channel has promotional videos, including the Viewer 2 features starring Esbee Linden, and those video tutorials I've been doing since 2006 because they help make your Second Life easier in a friendly, fun, and fast way!

In fact, I just uploaded a freshly-baked batch of video tutorials. Some of them cover new Viewer 2 stuff and others are "reimaginings" (I promise I won't sully that word, despite its wretched Hollywood history) of earlier stuff that's done differently in Viewer 2.

At the moment I can't embed videos in this post because of our security precautions, so here are easy access links:

  1. Activating a group so objects stay put
  2. Adding landmarks to your favorites bar
  3. Adding profile picks
  4. Camera presets
  5. Changing your account's email address
  6. Choosing which browser to open web content in
  7. Click actions make using stuff easier
  8. Controlling which Shared Media plays
  9. Enabling the Advanced menu
  10. Finding land to rez stuff on
  11. Opening a box
  12. Placing a classified ad
  13. Quick interface tweaks
  14. Saving a texture to your hard drive
  15. Setting your home location
  16. Teleport history
  17. Textures and snapshots are basically the same
  18. The Viewer's built-in help

I'm also seeing a lot of Resi(dents) asking about "How do I upload textures?" and "Where do I go to create a new group?", so those will be in the next shotgun round. INTENSIFY!

In the future, we'll be uploading more videos both informative and entertaining, so click the Subscribe button on-channel to stay in the loop. You'll automatically be informed on your YouTube dashboard and email (if you've opted in) when new videos arrive.

If you already have too much to keep up with, new Second Life video tutorials also appear on secondlife.com/my on the right-hand side.

Have Q&A about how videos get made? (Which is surely less off-putting than finding out how various breakfast meats come into being.) Have a request for a video tutorial? PLEASE MAKE A COMMENT!

Oh, and some questions are already answered on the…

Second Life YouTube Channel FAQ

Looking forward to making your Second Life an awesomer one!

Highlighting code is useful to preserve formatting and clarify what specifically needs to be copied-and-pasted. Obviously, this is directly relevant in the Scripting and Scripting Library forums, but applicable wherever you need to insert Linden Scripting Language.

It's really easy to do but buried under a button which I keep seeing Residents unaware of, so I'm gonna share:

When creating a post:

  1. From the editing toolbar, click >>, then choose Syntax Highlighting > Plain.
  2. Paste in your code.

Or, if your code has already been pasted, highlight the snippet and choose Plain.

This doesn't colorize code (as it appears in the inworld script editor) but does isolate it and preserves line breaks.

What more?

If you wanna go further with presentation and allow others to collaborate with your code, you might want to create a wiki.secondlife.com page and link to it instead. This has the distinct advantage of being easier to update. (And is the same reason why I often share blog tips pointing to wiki pages I or someone else started.)

Not only does the wiki have an ever-growing LSL Portal, it also boasts specialized parsers which colorize LSL, HTML, and more. To learn more…

See the "Code highlighting" wiki page

[VIEWER 2 QUICKTIP] Right-click (just about) everywhere to do stuff faster

by Community Manager on ‎04-21-2010 11:02 AM - last edited on ‎02-25-2011 03:11 PM by Linden

I love when the simplest of things can make a tremendous difference. It's not as glammy as Shared Media, but switching the pie menu to a standard context menu has also helped consistencize what happens when you click the right mouse button.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4035/4540769577_06959b5133.jpg

In many parts of the Viewer, both inworld and in the user interface, you can right-click to get things done faster. (That goes for Mac users too — if you're on an older Mac, treat yourself to a mouse with more buttons so you don't have to Cmd-click.)

For example:

  • Right-click a landmark on your Favorites Bar to edit it easily.
  • Right-click a fully-permissive inventory texture to save it to your hard drive without having to wander down to the gear menu.
  • Right-click a friend on your FRIENDS list to map-track and pay them (these options are otherwise buried in their profile or in an inspector).
  • Right-click a group and activate it.

So right-click just about everywhere! It can't hurt, and may very well help.

RIGHT-CLICK! RIGHT-CLICK! RIGHT-CLICK!

I don't look at miracles quite the same way Insane Clown Posse does, but when I take a pause and reflect on what's possible in abundance now that was inconceivable a decade or two ago, it makes me feel like words can't describe. (Sometimes I make beats.)

Years before Second Life, I used Virtus VR to create a gnarly-looking house (wish I had pictures). It was fun, but lonely. No one could really come over (aside from looking over my shoulder) and share the experience. And I mused, "What if I can't make a particularly intricate piece of furniture but want to put it, oh, over there?" The 3D clip art market was pretty scarce and I was on dial-up, so I shrugged and life went on.

This memory flashed in my mind as I was browsing the Xstreet SL virtual marketplace the other day. To be preemptive, no, this isn't an "OMG CONSUME!!!!" message from the pulpit. It's one that asks: why buy? And shares some of what I've been through, in hopes you can relate… and open up to casually share your own Second Life stories. There's a lot I feel isn't articulated enough, yet provides insight into why I love being here.

Colossus Linden mentioned a fresh perspective on the virtual marketplace as I was updating documentation: when you buy stuff in Second Life, you're often supporting small businesses. Yup, we have big companies in SL, but so many awesome content creators are a sole individual or a small team at most. They may make stuff that looks and feels "pro" but when you really get down to the nuts and bolts of it, is homemade and heartfelt.

Which brings me to my next point.

"Why buy something that's not real?"

It's a question that comes up a lot from people who aren't in SL (yet). And it's an understandable one, because just like cavemen are several paradigm shifts removed from using a Gutenberg press, the value isn't apparent without greater immersion. Or to use a reverse example, consider how watching a documentary about modern aboriginal tribes sans computers makes us curious, but doesn't give us their day-to-day experience because it's edited to heck. Live to know. Quoting a popular film that's often compared to SL:

"You have to see it for yourself."

The definition of "reality" is changing. When "reality" by itself is insufficient, we tack on descriptors, like "augmented reality" and "virtual reality". "Virtual" in this context denotes it's not physically real. But the experience is an actual one — as has been brought up by numerous Residents independently, "The people here and the emotions are real."

Emotions?

That would explain why my wife can hear me cracking up like crazy when I've found something particularly hilarious inworld. Or when I find that niche product that fulfills a specific need. (I have a running wishlist of needful things.) Something that someone brought into being for a number of reasons — the pleasure of creation mixed with filling a market gap is common. As a budding creator, friends encouraging you to put something out there rocks too.

We're even trying out Xstreet tags as a way to help people find themed content faster. If you make stuff, be sure to try tags. Choices are nice, but too many becomes paralyzing, so being able to focus on what matters to you is essential. There isn't enough time.

People, even (and sometimes, especially) when times are tough, are open to paying for something that makes them feel good. It's not just the thing you get but how you feel. The effect an animated set of pixels can have on your wellbeing is a remarkable phenomena.

Capture the momentum

Outside of SL, prominent marketing gurus like Seth Godin and Sally Hogshead have talked about these triggers and there's a lot of fascinating neuroscience I won't get into here, but I had an epiphany as I was buying some beautiful chairs yesterday — it made me feel nostalgic. A real emotion. Seth Godin wrote:

… when you're doing something important, like launching a big project, or a new company, or running some sort of campaign designed to change things, keep a scrapbook. Not a note book, a tool for writing down facts. A scrapbook. Include photos and quotes and clippings and events. Two reasons. First, you'll be glad later (I still have scrapbooks from some of my previous projects) and more important, because it will remind you that you're doing something important and that time is precious.

I've never regretted getting started on Second Life photography early. I love seeing interest in it grow, sharing our emotions here with the outside world. I noticed KirstenLee Cinquetti's viewer (found in the Third-Party Viewer Directory) states:

The Main Purpose of Kirstens S20 is to provide an alternate viewer experience centred on visuals for photography and filming with a leaning to more technical users.

And even if you don't make and sell content, if you share the world through your eyes, you're saving emotions as you go on…

We're in an age where there's so much suspicion about faceless corporations: when buying music, I find it reassuring to know that most of my money goes to support the artist directly (instead of being a puny afterthought after grubby middlemen claim most of it). In much of the same way, I like to know when I buy Second Life goods, not only am I showing my support for exceptional creativity, I'm thanking the creator for enhancing my emotions.

How about you?

(Photo from Doc Team's office hours on Viewer2Tips… I like being there just to look at all the kewl avatars.)

Have ya seen Wallace's post that our blog upgrade is complete? Exciting stuff. Both under-the-hood changes and some visible surfacey stuff — but the overall appearance is pretty similar and there are some bugs we're following up on.

One thing I wanted to call out (emphasis mine):

         
    • HTML  in Signatures: Your forum signatures can now include a limited set of  html tags
    •  

YES! I've heard frequent requests for this. So if you run a business or have a blog or something else worth showing off, you may want to promote your benefits to others, as I'm doing. Tee hee.

(Also notice that Linden replies are highlighted in green, which is great because I <3 green + pink.)

So,

Get instructions on how to customize your signature + profile!

On a closely related note, I'm updating the Blog & Forum FAQ those instructions are a part of, which has plenty of hot questions answered. Since it's on our wiki, any Resident can improve that page.

If you spot something missing that fellow Residents could benefit from, will ya please add it and let me know? I thank you in this ongoing adventure.

See you out there — I read and post in the forums often! Sometimes on a cow!

Ohhhh yeah… you know what makes text-editing feel action-packed? Listening to Yello while constructing sentences, that's what.

Anyway, after we announced Viewer2Tips island which shows where features in 1.23 moved to in Viewer 2, I saw stuff that went like this, but with less caps:

OMG WHY ISLANDS? JUST PUT THEM ON A WEBPAGE

The answer is easy: you can browse with friends and hang out inworld while being assured you're looking at the same thing. Yes, you're encouraged to loiter and take your time. For example, more experienced Residents helping their newfound friends. ALSO! Let me emphasize:

Get your learning on!

You can use the gathering spots (like circular stage areas) on a Viewer2Tips island to host educational events like classes, mentoring, and general V2 help that may benefit from being located in proximity. Right now, the islands are open to casual usage so you don't have to book an event in advance with us. We'll be monitoring stats.

But we also know having a webpage version of Viewer2Tips can be quicker to get to, print, and soforth. Therefore,

See the updated "Viewer 2 Moves" page

Cool things you should know:

  • Notice as you scroll down, on the right-hand side is a box that says "Contents". Use that to navigate quickly. The list is sorted alphabetically.
  • In most browsers (alas, not the Viewer's built-in one), you can right-click a specific heading and copy the URL to share with a friend. That gives a direct link so they don't have to be bothered hunting around. For example, https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Viewer_2_Moves#New_Window Some of these names may be changed over time but it's a good start!
  • There's a "Printable version" link on the page's left.

Thanks to Kate and Mia Linden for editing the images and I hope this makes it easier for you to find what you're looking for! In the future, as has happened before, we'll view these as historical relics, but for now, it's relevant to helping you transition.

Wanna come chat with us?

Documentation Team, proud to have hosted one of the longest-running Linden office hours, will be holding a discussion session:

  • Where? Viewer2Tips 1, right in the middle
  • When? April 14, 2010 (Wednesday) @ 1:00 PM Pacific
  • What? Our OHs are relatively freeform but focus on all aspects of help documentation, tips & tricks, and stuff that should be in Knowledge Base articles but isn't… yet. (Note that "Help me with an account-specific problem!" should still go to the Support Portal.)

[VIEWER 2 TIP] Showing Shared Media at the right aspect ratio

by Community Manager on ‎04-08-2010 01:35 PM - last edited on ‎02-25-2011 03:09 PM by Linden

After an earlier tip, "Show YouTube on a full prim's face", I received followup questions like:

Most movies are in non-square aspect ratios. How do I show those properly without wasted black/white space?

I want to show animated GIFs without stretching them. How?

I went back to the lab (aka Here island) and tested further. What I found may not be as obvious as it should be at first glance, but there are a couple key controls that allow you to do this: disabling Auto Scale Media on Face of Object and clicking an Align button. But you need to also know the media's dimensions in pixels so you can size the prim properly.

How does it all work together? Watch this video and find out!

;

 

For text instructions, see "Showing Shared Media at the right aspect ratio". And for more on how to get the most out of Shared Media, see the:

Shared Media help page

Finally, note that this complements what I said earlier about a Shared Media wrapper — you can use both in tandem depending on your intent. We're still in the early days of this and as Lucia Cyr aptly put it:

It's energizing to behold, because even things like this video which are fairly mind boggling with the possibilities... one has to remember that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that once the community really gets their hands on it, and starts to flex those astounding creative muscles that have led to so many innovations in SL, it's going to be a whole new world. Again.

If you've been keeping up-to-date with Tips & Tricks (bookmark us: secondlife.com/tnt), you know I've been posting regularly on various things you should know about Viewer 2. Many of these posts have included videos to to teach you essential Second Life skills in a friendly, fun, and fast way. Videos been awesome as a complement for our text documentation (some of which I also write on the Doc Team).

This post is sort of a refresher and roundup on what's next for video tutorials. Since late 2006, I've created over 250 Second Life video tutorials. The vast majority were in response to hot questions I got asked by Residents like you, often independently. Recently: I kept being requested "Do alpha masks!"... and April Fools' was beautiful synchronicity.

It's important to respond to useful demand, yes?

Anyway, since the inworld experience is 3D, showing SL as it is made perfect sense in the past, and is even easier now for several related reasons.

Reason #1: Discovery Island

Have you checked it out? Oh boy, lots of fun to be had! My wife, Ravenelle, and I took a tour of Welcome + Discovery Island and clicked on just about everything. Yes, click-click-click… INTERACT! See Petra's post for more info. Some of the new Viewer 2 vidtuts — featuring a sleek new intro and design from Rhett and Epic Linden — are on "Disco Island" (as our CEO M calls it, which also makes sense because there's lots of dancing to be done).

Reason #2: Our YouTube channel

I used to stock vidtuts on my personal YouTube channel, but things got confusing because despite my belief in connecting the dots, my extracurricular activities (like Wu-Tang) weren't directly about SL.

So, come visit us @ youtube.com/secondlife . I emphasize,

subscribe to youtube.com/secondlife

This is where not just my vidtuts, but our feature promos starring product guru Esbee and other cool stuff TBA will appear. Right now, there are two playlists for vidtuts:

  • Viewer 2 Beginner's - If you're new to Second Life, here's a friendly welcome! Also good if you want to refresh on the basics.
  • Viewer 2 Transitions - If you're an existing Resident and want to learn what's changed, this keeps you informed.

Over time, playlists will be adapted as needed. Thanks to Brett Linden for getting this setup.

Reason #3: Shared Media

It's simpler to show Flash videos inworld when you want to. I'll continue to share tips on how you can show not just my videos, but videos you've found and want to play inworld.

This is all part my nefarious scheme to ease you into content creation. To the uninitiated, making stuff in SL may look tricky. But if you've rezzed a cube and setup a movie screen, you've just done exactly that.

Reason #4: Here

Mad science! As Wallace chronicled, I'm experimenting with Shared Media and video on Here island, my domain of creativity. I use this place to highlight exquisite and emotion-inducing art at the fringes of SL innovation. Haven't exactly figured out what it is I'm gonna do with the new video possibilities, but I need to update the old players. Come on over sometime and see what's brewing in the lab, wontcha?

Future improvements

I want to openly acknowledge that these thangs are in-transition and can definitely be improved:

  • Resolution: longtime watchers know I still favor Vimeo for quality but YouTube has a much bigger viewership (people who discover Second Life through our channel while browsing) and some beneficial features (like linking to a specific time). I've been mulling over switching from 1024x768 to 1280x720 (720p), a type of "High-Definition video". Thoughts on this? (I can go into more details in the comments if requested).
  • On Your Dashboard on the right-hand side, there's a widget for video tutorials which shows the newest ones uploaded. I don't think there's a big use for tags there, they seem kinda cluttery. What do you think?
  • For those of you still on Viewer 1.23, all the previous video tutorials are still at secondlife.com/video — which is a "master list" of almost every video to date. I have some ideas to make this better, let me know yours.
  • I continue to take requests. What's proved perpetually lovely are topics that affect you personally but also affect other Residents broadly and practically. Teaching people how to shop and open boxes surprisingly never gets old.


Did I miss anything you're wondering about on the video front? Thanks for continuing to watch and chat with me on this epic adventure, videos are one of THE favorite parts of my work, not because I said so but because Residents have, and it shows (ha ha).

We're awesomely enthused to announce the launch of:

Viewer2Tips

What is it? A helpalicious island from Documentation Team and friends focused on showing you where features have moved from Viewer 1.23 to Viewer 2. For example, where did your favorite shortcuts go? Where do you edit friends' permissions? How do you inspect objects now? And so on.

It's worth noting that while some features have been moved to be less discoverable, that's because there may be a much better new way. For example, the navigation bar and teleport history reduce the need for digging around the World Map. And the new Me menu combines useful stuff about — well, you! — in a single place.

We've divided Viewer2Tips into five main areas, sort of like an art museum:

  1. Avatar
  2. Building
  3. Communication
  4. Inventory
  5. Navigation

Once you enter, there are easy teleport links to each area.

Why show this inworld? By using Second Life itself, we're provided a nice way for you to hang out with friends and discuss the moves — including those who may be less experienced and are still getting used to the transition. We have special Resident-to-Resident collaboration areas for socializing... take your time, r-e-l-a-x.

How to visit Viewer2Tips

There are multiple copies of Viewer2Tips to accommodate traffic. We'll scale this as-needed, so here's how you get there:

  1. In Second Life Viewer 2, choose World menu > World Map from the top of the window.
  2. In the region field next to the Find button, type Viewer2Tips (one word). You'll see multiple listings with numbers after their names. For example: Viewer2Tips 1, Viewer2Tips 2, Viewer2Tips 3… and so on      
  3. Click a listing, then click the Teleport button.

Also!

  • You can type the region name directly into the navigation bar, press the Enter key to teleport. For example:     
  • You can conveniently return to Viewer2Tips by using World menu > Landmark This Place, then click the Places tab of your sidebar to see it under MY LANDMARKS tab.

What's next?

As the name implies, the purpose of Viewer2Tips may be expanded later to include broader knowledge — let us know what you think would be super-useful.

I knew you'd ask... if you'd also like a web version of all the "before and after" graphics on Viewer2Tips, a webpage version is coming soon so you can print it out. This has us covered for both 3D and 2D. Stay tuned to this blog, Second Life Tips & Tricks, for that announcement.

Come on over to Viewer2Tips and explore, have fun!