Five Things Not to Love About the New Outfit Gallery Feature

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Since fitting myself up with a Maitreya body, I do take pictures of all of my outfits and keep them handy to decide what to wear, and I find that much easier and more rewarding than looking through named outfits. I blogged about this a little while ago. Now, Linden Labs has introduced a feature where you can preview all of your outfits right in the outfits tab, the Outfit Gallery. I should be delighted, shouldn’t I? But I’m really not. Maybe I will be with a future version?

picture by Jeremy Linden

picture by Jeremy Linden

I have a few specific things I don’t like about the Outfit Gallery, and they loom large enough that I don’t want to use it at all. Here’s what they are:

  1. The gallery comes up automatically now instead of your outfits listing, so if you aren’t using it, or haven’t uploaded your pictures yet, it just gets in the way. What’s worse, there doesn’t seem to be a setting to get it to bring up the normal listing instead! That’s an extra click every single time I open my outfits tab, which happens, um, pretty often.
  2. Maximum picture size: 256 by 256 pixels, so it’s like having a set of commemorative postage stamps of your wardrobe. I understand they don’t want to store a whole bunch of large, high-resolution photos, but if you want to see how you look in something, the best way is to see a large, high-resolution photo.
  3. You have to pay L$10 per outfit to save or upload your outfit picture. I admit, that’s not very much, but for tiny pictures in a built-in feature, that seems unnecessary. I understand the L$10 upload cost, to prevent people from uploading anything and everything and storing it forever on Linden Labs’ servers, but this situation seems like it could and should have been an exception.
  4. No zoom. The size you see is the size you get.
  5. You can only use it for outfits, not for individual items. This works fine for me for clothing, which I generally prefer to assemble into outfits anyway, but I’ve added a gallery of hairstyles (easily assembled from the outfit pictures I already had!) and will soon add one of shoes in Google Drive, and I can’t do that with this feature.

It seems like a nice idea. I appreciate that they’re paying some attention to the problem, anyway! Sigh. I may even try it, but I doubt I’ll find it a reasonable substitute for my high-resolution PNGs on Google Drive.

A few outfits in Google Drive

A few outfits in Google Drive

There are two things about it I like better than my current system though. First, of course, is that it’s integrated into the viewer. I don’t have to open a separate browser window and switch back and forth.

The other is subtle but useful: you can probably think of it if you compare the two images above for long enough. The Outfit Gallery has vertically-oriented (portrait) pictures, well-suited to showing thumbnails of entire outfits, while Google Drive shows pictures in horizontal (landscape) orientation, with no setting I can find to change that. As you can see, that makes previewing from thumbnails occasionally difficult. I could solve that by not uploading photographs cropped for vertical orientation, I suppose. That’s probably the smart move!

Have you used it? What do you think of it?

There’s a Party, and You’re Invited: Dancing, Parachutes, Fireworks, and Hot Air Balloons

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As you might know if you’ve seen some of my recent entries, I’ve just moved into a pretty little house by a waterfall in the beautiful Confederation of Democratic Simulators Alpine Meadow sim. To celebrate, I’m having a Housewarming/10th Rezday party Friday, October 7th, from 3:30 to 5:30 PM SLT, and you’re invited.

Disclaimer: not a picture of the actual party, which after all hasn't happened yet!

Disclaimer: not a picture of the actual party, which after all hasn’t happened yet!

By “you” I don’t mean just anyone (it’s certainly not the kind of thing I’d put in the events listing in Second Life search), but honestly, if you’re interested enough to be reading my blog, you’d be welcome there, and it would be fun to meet you. Please do bring friends or plus-ones if you’d like to.

As for things to do, there will be music from DJ GoSpeed Racer of Kona Radio, couples and singles dancing, a hot air balloon ride, free parachutes, wonderful scenery, amazing people, and fireworks. Let’s hope the fireworks don’t hit the hot air balloons and send them plummeting to the ground in flames…although wouldn’t that look amazing?

While you’re at the party, peep around at the CDS, a real community in Second Life with its own government. It’s a collection of delightful people living in a delightful place.

To get to the party, click here for a landmark, or just IM me (Kate Amdahl) in-world, and I’ll send you a teleport invitation.

Oops…I Accidentally Griefed Myself

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So, I used to do some Second Life scripting, and I took it up again the other day to see if I could make a little object that guests at my housewarming and 10th rezday party (more on that later) could use to fling themselves up in the sky, since I’m putting out this parachute dispenser, and I thought…well, you get the idea. Anyway, I hadn’t quite thought through a permissions issue, and as a result my object would fling me into the air, try to detach and delete itself, fail, fling me in the air again, try to detach again…

I’ve never griefed anyone before, so I’m glad that at least if I was going to do that, I’d end up doing it to myself. Good thing I had wings on, I suppose!

falling_001

falling_002

falling_003

 

 

My Nonexistent Clothing Line

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So here’s what I would do, if I had the time and enthusiasm to start a clothing line in Second Life: I would start a store that mainly sold historical outfits, costumes, and special-purpose clothes, beautifully made for mesh bodies (mainly women).

A store like that would let a person fill the gaps in her wardrobe for special activities like riding or playing tennis, or looking like you were riding or playing tennis.

equestriennetennis

It would also have beautiful period costumes from periods like Elizabethan England or 1920’s America.

flapper

These outfits would not — and this is important — be sexed-up versions that said “f*** me” in invisible letters on the back. For instance, take a look at a picture of a dirndl (a traditional costume from Bavaria. Fun fact: where you knot your apron signals whether you’re 1) single, 2) married, 3) a virgin (!), or 4) widowed/a waitress, which for some reason are combined. The woman below is married, apparently: the knot’s on the right).

First Life dirndl

OK, did you notice the skirt length? Knee length, am I right? Now, let’s look at a “dirndl” from Second Life (below, second from left, next to the naughty Lederhosen). If you went to a public event in First Life wearing something like this, you might very well be sexually assaulted and then blamed for it.

Second Life dirndl

I do love all the sexy little outfits in Second Life, but it sure would be nice to have top-quality clothing for fashionistas that allowed us to not be sex objects before all else.

Anyway, that’s what I would put in my store. It would take huge amounts of time to create beautiful and faithful fitmesh outfits, and then people would come to see them and say “Nice, Kate, but that’s not very sexy” and go off and buy something somewhere else, so it would be a waste of time, and I’d go out of business in a month.

But at least I’d have something to wear playing tennis. 🙂

^^^\ Kate /^^^

My First Ten Years in Second Life

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My ability to spend time in Second Life comes and goes, and I’ve been so tied up with other things lately that I almost missed the fact that today marks ten years in Second Life. Ten years! That hardly even makes sense to me.

Me in 2006 and 2016

A lot has happened in that ten years, so rather than blathering on forever, I thought I would choose the five or six things that have stood out the most for me in that time. This isn’t a complete list of everything that’s been important to me (for instance, where’s mention of the store I had for a couple of years long ago? It didn’t make the list, that’s where it is).

They weren’t easy to choose, and I’m sure that soon enough I’ll realize I left out something bigger than any of them, but oh well, that kind of thing happens. In no particular order, here they are:

Friends

friendlight

Friends have always been hands down the most important and wonderful thing in Second Life to me. I can’t even name all the remarkable people I’ve met and cared about and spent time with, because I’d be sure to forget someone, but from the friends I met in my first days who helped me get oriented to the friend I met the day before yesterday moving into a new home, you are the people I log in to see and the reason that Second Life is wonderful. Some of you are long gone (Eris and Wrean, I’m thinking of you two particularly), some I barely see but am delighted to come across every now and then (Lanna, Vaneeesa), and some are still delightfully present (like Andi, Ant, Peter, Robby, Sadie, Lynn, and Katt).

The Sweet-Tongued Sylphs

skyhouse

Long, long ago, on the shores of a virtual sea, Eris Fallon and I set up a tiki house for parties and, far above it, a cascade of stone platforms with a glass-floored tower and a waterfall and flower gardens. We then adopted (or were adopted by) Andi Spear, and together the three of us were the Sweet-Tongued Sylphs–sweet tongued, officially, because we are all talkers. It was a wonderful virtual home for quite some time.

The Diversionarium

The Div

I’ve tried all kinds of approaches to make it easier for people to connect in Second Life, because for some reason I’m obsessed with that. The one that was the most fun was Eris’s and my venue, the Diversionarium, a place where people could go to hang out and play social games. There was a limerick game and a building game, an improv game, and others, all of which we built ourselves. We thought it would be great to have a place to go where you could socialize that wasn’t a dance club–not because dance clubs aren’t very nice, but because it’s good to have options. What we didn’t count on was how much time and effort it requires, day after day, to keep bringing people to a venue like that! Neither of us could spare the time from our First Lives to keep that up, so after a long, brave try, we folded up the Diversionarium and put it away. (It was actually a little more involved then that, but that’s another story.)

The Confederation of Democratic Simulators

Owl house in Alpine MeadowCDS is very new to me, only something I’ve known about since last month, so it’s surprising it makes this list, but it’s a kind of place I never realized existed in Second Life–a neighborhood, a community that stays in place where you can know the people who live around you. I spent a few weeks exploring it and rhapsodizing about it here, but just last week I moved in, and I’ve set up a little house to furnish and live in there, hopefully for a very long time. Everyone I’ve met there to date has been not only friendly and welcoming, but also interesting and worth knowing (Naftali, Pip, Lilith, Callie, Han, Widget!). Unfortunately, there’s still the problem of not being online at the same time as other people, but I’m very curious to see what life will be like there over time.

What’s ironic is that CDS has been around longer than I have: I had just never known much about it until recently.

Mesh Bodies

Kate a la Maitreya

This is a superficial one, I admit, but once I realized that mesh bodies used custom shapes and got a Maitreya Lara body for myself, I ended up completely rebuilding my wardrobe, which considering how extensive my wardrobe needs to be in Second Life for me to be satisfied meant a huge undertaking. It’s not that I think that mesh bodies are the end-all: I don’t always even know whether a person’s wearing one or not. It’s just that so many subtle problems with system bodies, like weird angles at joints, are fixed with my mesh body, even though some other problems (like skinny arms) are introduced because each mesh body reflects some individual idea of what a beautiful body looks like.

You

visitors

This was originally a 5-item list, but I couldn’t let it go without mentioning you. This blog and my readers (and especially the readers I get to meet in Second Life who actually recognize me from it) have been a source of happiness for me since nearly the beginning. Thank you for reading, and may your first ten years in virtual reality–or your next ten–be as joyful as mine have been.

^^^\ Kate /^^^

 

What Would Second Life Be Like If Everybody Kept Their Pants On?

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I’m sure I’m as much a part of the problem as part of the solution, but one of the real troubles with Second Life is that its raciness keeps it from being something we can easily talk about or do publicly.

two sides

I guess it all starts with everyone out there who has needs or desires to do with sex and romance and body image. We come to Second Life, and here’s a world where we can be sexy people and do sexy things without worrying about the consequences. But the more sexy people and sexy things there are in Second Life, the less comfortable people will be if they don’t want to see cleavage and X-rated pose balls everywhere, and the less we can, for instance, show our world to children, or to our easy-scandalized maiden aunts.

Then sexy people and sexy things attract other sexy people, who add more sexy things to the world, and all of these people do a lot of shopping, because even in Second Life looking sexy takes some effort. Then designers end up making sexy clothes because they’re much more popular than normal clothes, to the point where it’s really difficult to go out there with a mesh body and find anything to put on that isn’t low-cut, high-cut, keyholed, skin-tight, see-through, high-heeled, latex, or all of those together. (Although, OK, I’d be genuinely interested to see an outfit that was all of those together.)

When I first starting buying things from Addams, for instance, I was looking for tops that weren’t so low-cut, and I was thinking “Oh, here’s a great designer who offers that!” Afterward, though, I realized that Addams isn’t not sexy–it’s just differently-sexy. I mean, look at this top. It’s not exactly something you’d wear to a PTA meeting.

Addams top

Not that I would want the sexy parts of Second Life to go away! But that’s probably it…we probably can’t have it both ways.

So what are my unreasonable demands? Well, I wasn’t going to say, but since you asked, here they are.

  1. Fun, G-rated areas where there are interesting people in not-sexy getups and interesting things to do. I know, this isn’t an original idea, but I haven’t found a place where it’s done well (maybe because I’m always flouncing around in my short skirts and am not trying hard enough). Maybe you know one? This would be a place that would be so neat to go to where you wouldn’t mind if someone IM’d you and said, “Hey Kate, too sexy! Take it down a notch, OK?”, a place you could show your maiden aunt or a seven-year old.Come to think of it, I don’t recall ever having been offended anywhere at being told I was too sexy. It’s one of those things that doesn’t really bother me.
  2. Great clothing by great designers, including items for mesh bodies, that looks amazing but isn’t provocative. I know there’s a bit of this out there, but honestly, most of the really good stuff is designed to stop traffic. For example, take a look at the Luxe Box for July and tell me you’d wear any one of those articles of clothing to teach preschool.

Luxe Box July

I think that’s it. It’s a tall order, and I know it won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to mention Second Life and have someone say “Oh, you mean that great 3-D socializing environment?” instead of “Oh, you mean that sex game?”

^^^\ Kate /^^^

Full Perm Marketplace Scams — StrawberrySingh.com

Strawberry Singh recently posted some very sound advice on pirated full permission items on the Marketplace. If you ever buy these kinds of items, please take a few minutes to read over her post and make sure you’re supporting creators instead of thieves!

I was recently contacted by a Full Perm Creator (Vaientine Resident of Underground) who has informed me of a seriously frustrating problem on marketplace regarding full perm illegal sales. Apparently there are many accounts on the marketplace reselling full perm creations that they do not have permission to resell. They purchase full perm items from…

via Full Perm Marketplace Scams — StrawberrySingh.com

Found: Real Civilization in Second Life! (part 2)

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If you happened to read the first post in this two-part series last week (“Found: Real Civilization in Second Life! (part 1)“), then you already know that I visited the Confederation of Democratic Simulators and found very few people there, but that the first person I did find turned out to be uncommonly friendly.

The second person was, if anything, even friendlier.

I had a little trouble figuring where I should go to hopefully find the person belonging to the second green blip I’d seen. I hoped it was someone in a public area instead of a private house, because I wasn’t about to go up and ring a doorbell.

After some blundering around through areas that didn’t look like they were leading anywhere I was actually supposed to be (since I was cutting across country rather than following the roads), I eventually came around a wall to see a woman named Naftali wearing a neat hat and standing in a plaza by a Mahjong table.

Mahjong

Naftali, it turns out, is a First Life violinist who loves world music and who runs a beautiful taverna in the Alpine Meadow sim of the CDS.

Naftali

She was clearing out her inventory, and my showing up either interrupted her or offered a welcome break, I don’t know which — but either way, she stopped immediately to talk to me, and it wasn’t long before she offered to give me a little tour of the region on a tandem bike. How fun is that?

When I hopped on the bike, I’d forgotten that we were in an Alpine meadow. Once I was seated, Naftali aimed us at the nearest slope and took us flying down it. That was twice in one day that immortality came in handy, because trying that in First Life, I would’ve been scared to death!

tandem1

tandem2

tandem3

She took me first to an ice cream cart by the sea, and when we had our ice cream, we hopped back on the bike and pedaled through the rest of the sim. Some of it seemed Italian, all grand and blocky with columns of white marble, while the rest looked more (I’m guessing here, I’ve never been) like Switzerland.

tandem4

CDS bridge

Now, I’ve been in beautiful builds before. I’ve even been in beautiful builds once or twice that you could bike through — and there are free bike rezzers (that’s probably not a word, is it?) in this region, by the way, so that’s an option even for visitors. So I was delighted and impressed with the build … but that wasn’t what was amazing to me. What was amazing was that we would bike past a house and Naftali would say something like “Oh, that’s where so-and-so lives, she does all of the plants and trees” or “That’s this person’s house, he plays this kind of music.”

Not only were there neighbors, but Naftali actually knew them! Here was a place in Second Life that operates like things used to operate in First Life, where you know your neighbors — and in this case, like them. These weren’t short-timers, either. Some of the people Naftali told me about had lived in CDS for years, as had Naftali (and for that matter Lilith, whom I mentioned last time).

The bike ride eventually took us up a long, steep road to the monastery, where a vegetable garden had been planted.

CDS Monastery

Past that was an aerodrome, but the section with the planes had gone temporarily offline due to (I imagine) a server problem somewhere. That place existed only as a gap, as though there had been a sudden but quiet earthquake that had swallowed the place whole. Off to the side of the airstrip from where we looked out over the nothingness, a tree floated.

Region Missing

It’s amazing to me what the CDS has accomplished. They’ve managed to create a place that really feels like a place, that attracts wonderful people, that is beautiful and engaging, and where people know and like each other. In a world where sites come into existence, move, reconfigure, grow, shrink, and vanish, here is a place that changes slowly but endures. Here’s a place you could actually call a home, and go back to, where you could feel like part of a community.

Having said all that, though, they haven’t overcome one of the basic problems of Second Life, the problem that people are scattered. I visited the CDS a few times in the week since that first outing, and each time I only found one or two or three people. I can understand that: even residents of the CDS sims who are online would probably want to be off doing different things much of the time. Still, I can’t help but hope that a place with this much heart and guidance might eventually find a way to bring people together in one spot.

^^^\ Kate /^^^