Second Life Pet Peeve #3: Vendors with changing pictures

Second Life offers a lot of wonderful opportunities, limited only by our imagination… and the the technical issues. As we know, all textures must be sent from the server to our client, so dear retailers, freebie donors and people who put posters up: I know you want to save on prims, space and make the best use of all visual real estate. It makes perfect sense. I do too!

When you make a vendor, or board with alternating textures, you might want to consider making it slow enough so that the image can fully rez. You have a lot of really cool stuff that I’m sure a lot of us want to see, but if your whole display goes from unrezzed to grey, to unrezzed to grey, I’m sorry, I’m not waiting around for it.

In an overly commercialized word that has been carried into a commercial meta-world, we consumers and tourists are just as annoyingly demanding. If our attention isn’t caught in the first few seconds, we aren’t staying around long enough to see your wonderful display. We miss out on the opportunity to see what you have to offer, and you miss out on the opportunity to show it to us.

Other that slowing the rate of texture changes, I can’t offer you a better solution. Wish I could, so sorry, but please keep it in mind. The worse that can happen if you come up with simper or innovative new solutions is that people get the full value of what you are showing them if you do.

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Second Life Profile and Other Image Sizes

So you want to upload an image but have a hard time figuring out what sizes to use for images. It doesn’t help that Second Life only uses squares or rectangles of sizes that on the whole don’t match most of the sizes we need to post. This list shows sizes and ratios so that you can easily resize images for optimum viewing.

Find out more here: http://www.taoofjay.com/?tag=ratio

Teaching Newbies in Second Life

I’m a helper at New Citizens Incorporated. I like to do it. And along the way, I’ve learned a few tricks. Just some random thoughts at the moment.

Keep focused. The objective (IMO) of a helper is to bring the newcomer, specifically the new-rezzed to a point of competence in the basics skills of SL as quickly as is possible. The shorter you keep your training, the easier it is on both of you.

Now, YOU are the helper. It’s up to you to take charge. YOU set the frame for the interaction. Keep structured, if you let Them Who Know Not What They Do take charge, you will be helping them for hours on end. This goes against our mission, and honestly, sometimes our (and their) patience. I’m a helper, but I live there, so when I like to hang out with my friends and build, it’s nice to help someone move on quickly.

Have a structured tutorial for the basic skills. I’m in the midst of writing a formal version of one that I use and adapt right now. I’ll post it at some point.

When teaching someone basic skills, start off with the very simplest granular piece, then progressively build on it. Walking: Arrow Keys. One tap = one step. Running. Just like walking. Control R toggles walk/run. Flying: just like walking. Page up. arrow keys. Tap tap. Page down. Sit on the ground, sit on a cube.  Sit on a pose stand. And so on and so forth.

Teach them what they need to know now. When you teach them to use the camera, for example, use the alt/option click. Don’t bother with shift-alt/option and control-shift-alt/option. It’s too much detail to take in at once. Teach them to focus on your nose (torso is usually a bigger and easier area, so they *always* pick that. Yeah. Boobs. It encourages them <<shrug>>). Then teach them to look at the back of your head. Then teach them to look at their face. That’s the part they love the most. Then teach them to read a poster far, far away.

As you are teaching, teach them WHY things pay off. Your camera skills are important, because you get to see everyone from far off. Ever notice that oldbies don’t walk into each other’s faces? Nothing says Noob like being Nose to Nose. Now you can stand at a comfortable distance! +1 coolness points for you!

And encourage them at every action. Yay! Running! Now you can sit and stand! Good job! Trust me, this goes a long way. It keeps them motivated, positive, energized and feeling good about acquiring new skills. I believe that positive experiences with polite, courteous, supportive and generous teachers up front creates for good citizens. Remember: YOU are one of their templates.

Use metaphores based on experience that they understand. A landmark is like a bookmark. You’ve surfed the web, right? Ever bookmarked a place? Same idea, instead, just like we can bookmark a site, we can landmark a place.

When meeting a newbie, quickly assess their skill level. Ask questions right up front. Are you on a Mac, or a PC? What is your skill level with computers? Don’t take it for granted that they are either competent, or incompetent. Ask pointed questions to know how to direct their attention.

When they say “I need help” ask question that are specific: “To do what?”. Then wait. And listen. The next few words will tell you everything about their skill level.

When they say “I’m new”, don’t respond with “Obviously”. That’s just not nice. Welcome them to Second Life with energy and a cheery smile.

Working with a group is actually easier than working with individuals. Not only do you have pack mentality at work, but they help each other out and each other’s successes encourages the other.

You want to make sure that they can move, communicate and use their camera. In that order.

The next level is that of understanding the fundamentals of inventory, rezzing and taking. Then the search feature, teleports and how to use common objects.

The next steps after that are the very fundametals of culture and etiquette.

At this point, they are well equipped to go out in the world. You can set them free! If they come back, the questions they will ask you will be so much more interesting. They usually involve houses, land and money (they’ve discovered shopping).

Helpers get asked the same questions, over and over. Have some sort of text-macro software with pre-made answers.

Sometimes it helps to have two people relay help. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just don’t seem to have the language, or the right conceptual frame to ‘splain something to that particular someone. It’s often useful to have another person bounce ideas in a new way, or catch it from a different angle. But make sure that your partner understands what direction you are going in.

Take every single helping instance as an opportunity to streamline your teaching matter. Take the time to consider how to sequence ideas and phrase them so that the shortest sentence drills it into their mind. This is a repetitive task. The shorter and more impactful you can make it, the funner it will be for you in the long run.

Hope some of these ideas help. I’ll post more as I think of them.

PS: I am WAAAY open to new ideas and suggestions on this theme. Let me know!

Kitsune

Image of a Kitsune (Second Life Avatar)

Image of a Kitsune (Second Life Avatar)

Species:      Kitsune or Japanese Fox Spirit  狐
Subspecies: Nogitsune or Wild Kitsune.  “Keepers of the Void”

Kitsune are considered a type of bakemono or demon.  Specifically they are classed as Yōkai (妖怪 “phantom”, “spirit”, or “monster”).  They are considered messengers of the Shinto Kami or God Inari.  There are a not a hybrid of human and fox but more a distinct species with the ability to shape shift or appear human.  There are stories of Kitsune taking on a human appearence usually as a beautiful woman with almond eyes, and high cheekbones and a fox tail which they find difficulty in hiding.  Kitsune can act as guardians for human families or clans but if angered rarely forgive and for that reason historically many families refused any intermarriage into a fox protected family.  They have a weakness for inari and tofu and kitsune soup which is named for them.   Humans can become possessed by a fox spirit usually entering through the breasts or fingernails.  Kitsunetsuki (狐憑き or 狐付き; also written kitsune-tsuki) literally means the state of being possessed by a fox.  There is a hiearchy of Fox types associated with 13 shinto elements.  A  9 tailed fox is considered powerful but old.  The tails representing a life span of 9000 + years.  As a kitsune will only grow an additional tail for each 1000 years they have lived. The more tails a kitsune has—up to 9 tails—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. When a kitsune gains its ninth tail, its fur becomes white or gold.  It becomes myobu or 九尾の狐 nine-tailed foxes.  They become omnipotent or sometimes omniscience.  The fox tail is what usually gives them away.  Especially when they are drunk or lazy.  When not in human form or possessing a human, a kitsune keeps the ball – hoshi no tama (star balls) – in its mouth or carries it on its tail.  A fox is usually frightend by dogs that they will sometimes revert to fox form to flee.  Foxes cry is called konkai or kon kon or gon gon.  The bark of the fox is called gekker.  Female foxes are vixen and not bitches (female dog).  Kitsune are friendly with the Tanuki who is another shapeshifter.  There is a hiearchy of Fox types associated with 13 Shinto elements:
***
Some of the classes of Kitsune are:
myobu –  Celestial
and all others are 野狐 nogitsune or wild literally “field foxes” :
nogitsune –  Darkness, Wild “Keeper of the void”
kuko – Air, create or appear in mist & fog
Kiko or koryo – ghost foxes
ninko – invisible fox spirit, that can only be seen by humans that have been possessed by one.
***
In classical Japanese, kitsu-ne means come and sleep, and ki-tsune means always comes. (Wikipedia)  It is important to note that Kitsune are part of Japanese folklore while the neko is part of anime and manga creation and do not have a historical conterpart other than the “Bakeneko” demon cat. But they are often confused for one another.
***
If you want to look for a kitsune they live at the end of rainbows and usually are out playing when it rains.  But don’t watch a fox wedding as this will bring out their angry side.

Model :  KayOss Oh

Second Life Pet Peev #2: The “Friendship” list

Gentle reader:

I understand that we are all new at some point, and that you want to offer someone a self-esteem boost for the day, and so it’s natural that when you see a button that says “Offer friendship” it’s an instinctive thing. I totally understand.

The Truth about Second Life Friendship list: It is, generally speaking, a dark evil whose name is a lie. A better name for the “friendship” list is “Trackable, Traceable, Pounceable Contact List”. I think of it more as “The Stalker Intelligence Gathering Function”. It makes it so that you can see each time someone logs on or off, or can find them on the map and just kind of show up–whether you have asked or not.

The friendship list is a “live” list of business cards. Think of it this way: Offering friendship is like asking for someone’s personal home number, there’s a time, place and way to do it. When you accept someone’s friendship, you automatically get their calling card anyway, so the only difference is the “real time information” aspect. When you meet someone new, consider instead of offering your card (Right click -> More… -> Offer card)

Put another way: The friendship list is a Buddy List. Same as MSN, Yahoo or other such chat programs. Now, we’ve known each other for less than 1 hour and you want to be on my buddy list why?

Some background:

I’m a newcomer helper at New Citizens International, a pretty female and Read the rest of this entry »

Second Life Pet Peeves: Bright Lights!

OK! That’s it! I need a forum to vent my Second Life Pet Peeves! (SLPPs). Today’s Pet Peev is:

Too many bright lights!

Dear friends, in pre-windlight days, adding a subtle light to your face (face lights) tended to smooth out some of the harsher edges on our face. Those days are over. Now, all the lights do is to make your face really bright.

By the way, did you know that there’s a limit of 6 lights that can be simultaneously displayed in Second Life? So, when YOU are the one wearing 3 on your face, one on your lower body, then two behind, you’ve either turned off everyone’s lights next to you, or they aren’t shining to not do the thing they can’t do any more anyway.

Please remove your face lights.

And if you do wear one face light, please keep it subtle. Do not be the walking halogen light of death! Set the diameter to no further than the distance of your face, and keep the drop off relatively high, at least 50% of the distance. There’s nothing quite like being absorbed in a build to have a living atomic explosion come and scorch your pupils out and render your build an amorphous blob of glare because you think you need the light to look good.

Really: I accept you as you are. Now turn off your light!

Oh. And by the way: light cannot be blocked. It goes though all prims, at infinite layers and even though other avatars. They are omnidirectional. Trust me, if you are using vanity lights to enhance your appearance, we’ll like you so much more for your courtesy than your lack of shadowing.

Thankyouverymuchforlistening.

2008-10-14 Update! you can turn off the avatar attachment lights if you are using 1.21 RC or later! Check out Torley’s Video on it How to turn off those damn facelights!

2008-10-17 Update! I’ve written up a detailed article about the theory, correct use, misuse and creation of face lights.

Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group FAQ

Please note that this FAQ is a work in progress. Time is limited and I’m doing my best to keep on top of SL and RL. Thanks for your patience. I invite your questions and potential answers to help me complete this.

Q: What is the Second Life Pure Photography group about?

This group is about celebrating pure, unretouched Second Life snapshots and sharing the technique for how something was created. It’s about learning, sharing and pushing our limits and the limits of the technologies surrounding second life. You can find the Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/sl_pure_photography/

Read the rest of this entry »

Quite Oh’s Mirror Technique

Taking a cue from Zonja’s post, I decided to mess around. I have, standing on her shoulders come up with my own variation of the pure second life photography mirror technique.

This image uses 1 (ONE) avatar. There is zero photoshop trickery. I cropped to a 3 by 4 dimension and saved. Now, the question is, can you guess how it was done? Being the total tease that I am, I’ll post all of the technical details in a few days.

Example 1 of Quite Oh's Mirror Technique

Example 1 of Quite Oh's Mirror Technique

Example 2 of Quite Oh's Mirror Technique

Example 2 of Quite Oh's Mirror Technique

How to create the dynamic mirror water effect

There are certain classes of people in the world. Most of us, despite how we like to think of ourselves, are common. We live our lives, ordinarily, fullfilling our personal wants and desires and keep on keeping on. Then there are those, who in a particlar area, try to push the limits. Finally, there are those who push those limits and share what they know, selflessly with the world. Zonja Capalini is one such person.

She’s a wonderful photographer, does interesting machinma and seems to be an all round nice person. And best yet, she’s actually humble. Nice combination.

So why doeth thou gusheth thusly, Quite? Because Zonja helps people learn. We all sink or rise together, when when you find an individual that is of the latter group, I think they should be noticed and in a world where negativity often overrides positivity, they should be publicly appreciated for their actions. Sunshine is free, spread it around!

I created the Second Life Pure Photography Flickr group, and joy! She signed up, and posted one of her pics. The picture itself is wonderful, but what struck was was that she freely gave instructions on how to reproduce it. That’s the step above I’m talking about. Most people I meet figure out a little technique, then hoard it and try to sell it for as much as they can while remaining secretive about it. Those are the s(t)inkers of the lot. Zonja is a swimmer.

/me stops torturing metaphors and aphorisms now.

Zonja seems to have a thing for mirrors. As SL has no native mirroring mechanism, Zonja has gone about trying to reproduce them in as many ways as is seems feasable. Check out Zonja Capalini’s tutorial on creating the Dynamic Mirror Water Effect and when you’ve taken your photos and had your fun, send her a thank you note.

Spread the sunshine, baby!

Abstractia

Abstractia are a wholly peculiar form of life, while they seem to be subject to the rules of physics, their functioning and ability to live is still considered by most of those who have pondered the notion, quite incomprehensible.

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