• 06Dec

    Deliverator Promo Image: the Deliverator is more than just a hollow wooden box. It's mass delivery made dead simple.

    It’s that time of year again — time to hand out the “Season’s Greetings” cards, gifts, and party invitations! But who has the time to open up profile window after profile window, sending items to one person at a time… drag… drop… drag… drop. I dunno about you, but my drag-and-dropper would fall off before I got halfway through my friends list. >_<

    Why not spare yourself the hassle this year — use a Deliverator to send out your gifts and invitations for you! Just give it the item to deliver, fill the notecard with the names of everyone you want to deliver to, and off it goes! It does the boring part, so you can just curl up by the prim fireplace and enjoy the holiday season!

    The Deliverator is available at Cuddlefish Junction for just L$500. And it’s transferable, so you can let a friend borrow it, and save them from the tedium, too!

  • 25Nov
    Adventures, Snapshots Comments Off

    Femme Noir

    Some recent posts by Botgirl Questi inspired me to get out my Femme Noir outfit: all-black skin and eyes, fullbright white hair (with signature rainbow strands, naturally) and wings.


  • 24Nov

    Serving simple HTML by LSL script

    I’ve written an LSL script which “serves” custom-generated HTML via a neat trick I discovered. But don’t bust out the champagne just yet — this method is extremely limited, so I don’t expect this to revolutionize HUDs or anything like that. Still, it’s a fun curiosity.

    The trick is this: If you use text of the form “data:text/html,[html code here]” as the web URL, Firefox (and maybe other browsers?) will render the HTML code as a web page. For example, visit data:text/html,<html><body><h1>Oh hai!</h1></body></html>, and Firefox will render the words “Oh hai!”. It’s not accessing a web page, and it’s not loading a local HTML file, it’s loading the HTML code from the pseudo-URL.

    The same trick works in SL as well, by setting the parcel media URL to the “data:text/html” string. You can use an LSL script to generate the HTML code and set the parcel URL, or even set the URL for an individual avatar. The result is that your LSL script acts as a very simple web server!

    However, as I mentioned, there are some serious limitations: SL won’t let you set the web URL to a string longer than 254 letters! That means you have to cram all the HTML code into that tiny string, which severely limits the complexity of the HTML you can display.

    Continue reading »

  • 16Nov
    Passions, Projects Comments Off

    From the Imprudence Blog

    It has been an intense two and a half months since we first announced the Imprudence project. There has been laughter, there has been joy, there has been boredom and frustration, stress and near burn-out, and a medley of other emotions thrown in there as well.

    But today it’s all worth it, because today the first release candidate of the Imprudence Viewer is ready!

    Read the rest for more information, plus sexy download links!


  • 02Nov

    Tired of those beautiful, photo-realistic sunsets? That new-fangled Windlight rendering engine slow your compy to a crawl? Want to relive the good old days, back when voice chat was new and strange, and Linden Lab even bothered to pretend to communicate with its customers?

    Well now you can!

    … Actually, you’ve been able to do so for a long, long time — ever since the Día de Liberación back in summer 2007. One of the benefits of “message liberation” was that you wouldn’t need to download a new SL viewer just because they made some server changes; old viewers would continue to work with new sims.

    And in fact, that has held true, even to today. The only thing stopping you from using a 1.18-series (pre-Windlight) viewer is that annoying “You must download the latest version to continue” message, which is easily bypassed with a trick I’ll describe below.

    But what of that mandatory security update in early October? Or the security update and protocol switch from UDP to HTTPS less than two weeks before that? Wouldn’t those issues prevent old viewers from connecting?

    Apparently not. As of this writing, even 1.19 and 1.18 viewers (but not 1.17 or other older, “unliberated” viewers) can connect to SL with nary a hitch, though they’re probably still susceptible to the security issues mentioned above. As usual, the purportedly required updates are, in fact, not.

    So, what is this trick, this secret knowledge needed to bypass the download prompt and log in with older viewers? Change the channel. It’s an old trick, though there was some concern that it wouldn’t work anymore since the change to HTTPS. Fortunately, those concerns have not come to pass, and the SL servers seem perfectly happy to use UDP with older viewers.

    Changing the channel is easy. The viewer application takes a parameter, “–channel CHANNEL”, which sets the channel to use. The process for giving that parameter varies between operating systems. The processes are described on the SL wiki, but I’ve included a brief overview below.

    • Windows: Create a shortcut to the older SecondLife.exe. Open up the shortcut’s properties (right click > Properties) and edit the shortcut path. After SecondLife.exe but before the closing quotation mark After the closing quotation mark, add: --channel Happydays
    • Mac: Open up the terminal and run these two commands (adjust the first path if your Second Life app isn’t in Applications):

      cd "/Applications/Second Life.app/"
      echo "--channel Happydays" >> Contents/Resources/arguments.txt

      (Mac users, leave a comment if the above solution didn’t work for you. I don’t have a Mac handy to test it!)

    • Linux: Run the viewer as: secondlife --channel Happydays

    You should now be able to log in to SL with your retro viewer version. Enjoy, good night, and good luck!

    P.S. Don’t have the installer for the old viewer laying around? No worries, they’re still available for download. Mad props to McCabe Maxsted for putting that wiki page together!

  • 18Oct

    Gwyneth Llewelyn recently offered a proposal to try to plug “the analogue hole” that makes content theft inevitable. Her proposal drew a lot of criticism, particularly from open source developers, and she has since withdrawn it.

    I’m glad to read that she has; I was among those with objections to the proposal. But I’m disappointed by her reaction to the criticism she received:

    The current community of developers — and by that I mean non-LL developers — is absolutely not interested in implementing any sort of content protection schemes.

    … Their argument is that ultimately any measures taken to implement “trusted clients” that connect to LL’s grid will always be defeated since it’s too easy to create a “fake” trusted client. And that the trouble to go the way of trusted clients will, well, “stifle development” by making it harder, and, ultimately, the gain is poor compared to the hassle of going through a certification procedure.

    I won’t fight that argument, since it’s discussing ideologies, not really security. Either the development is made by security-conscious developers, or by people who prefer that content ought to be copied anyway (since you’ll never be able to protect it), and they claim that the focus should be on making development easier, not worrying about how easy content is copied or not.

    … “Technicalities” are just a way to cover their ideology: ultimately, they´re strong believers that content (and that includes development efforts to make Second Life better) ought to be free.

    Despite what Gwyn suggests, one can object to a specific content protection scheme without being an ideological extremist who believes that everything should be free. Yes, there are individuals who take that viewpoint. Many of them are quite vocal, and some are rather arrogant and obnoxious. (I am of the opinion that this latter kind ought to be swatted hard over the head with a rolled-up newspaper. Repeatedly.)

    But to imply that anyone opposing her proposal must be some kind of anticommercial tekkie-hippie is fallacious and juvenile, and just as dismissive as the rudest comments she received. I must admit that I expected better from Gwyn.

    Now then, let me explain my opposition and criticism of the proposal. (This is not criticism of Gwyn as a person, nor of any of her other ideas besides this particular proposal.)

    While I do appreciate and respect the choice to make one’s own efforts open and free, I do not believe everything should be forced to be free, and I did not oppose the proposal based on my views on that topic. I opposed it because I see three major flaws in the proposed system, two of them purely security-related:

    1. the certificates could be easily forged, which defeats the purpose of having them at all
    2. an effective certification system would put an extraordinary burden on developers
    3. the system does not address the most commonly exploited methods of content theft

    I’ll expand on these points so that there can be no confusion about why I objected and still object to such a system. (I’ll give fair warning, though, that this is a rather long and probably dull post by most standards.)

    Continue reading »

  • 13Oct

    Deliverator Promo Image: the Deliverator is more than just a hollow wooden box. It's mass delivery made dead simple.

    I’m happy (and rather relieved) to announce that after power-coding day and night for the past week, I’ve released a handy new device: the Deliverator. I’m sure you’ll find that it is the easiest and most convenient way to deliver a gift, notecard, or other item to a long list of your friends or customers!

    It’s available now at Cuddlefish Junction for L$500 (or L$4500 for a copyable version).

    What is this marvelous contraption?

    The Deliverator is a scripted object that will help you deliver an item to lots of people with very little fuss.

    • Easy, guided set-up. Give it the item, give it the names, and off it goes.
    • No keys required. Names are enough for the Deliverator to do its job. No need to look up everybody’s UUIDs or make them touch some silly prim.
    • Low maintenance. Start it running and get on with your life. The Deliverator will IM you when it’s done, and let you know if there’s anything you should be aware of.
    • Reliable. In the unlikely event that the Deliverator can’t find somebody on your list, it will remember their name and tell you at the end, so you can be sure no one gets left out.
    • Unlimited delivery. The Deliverator can be used as many times as you want, and it can deliver to as many people as you can fit in a notecard.

    Continue reading »

  • 29Sep

    Dusan Writer offers a sensational bit of news:

    Mark Kingdon announced that an outside design firm is hard at work on a new, user-friendly viewer for Second Life.

    I’ve read Kingdon’s post, and I’m afraid Dusan misread it and jumped to the entirely wrong conclusion. Here’s what Kingdon actually wrote (emphasis mine):

    Shortly after I started, we kicked off a project to reinvent what we call the “first hour experience” (our web experience, the viewer, and the way we acclimate and acculturate users inworld) for new users. We’ve made great progress and will be working with an award-winning interactive design firm to help us complete the reinvention and bring it to life. Yes, we are creating a viewer that is new user friendly! Stay tuned for updates.

    That reads pretty clearly to me: they are working on a viewer that is friendly to new users, not a new viewer that is friendly to users. I suppose you could read some meaning into “reinvention” and “creating”, but I don’t see any indication that he means anything other than the renovations already in progress to make the existing viewer more friendly to new users.

    Improving new users experience has been a recurring theme at Resident Experience (Rx) office hours, and is clearly one of LL’s primary obsessions. And as it happens, Linden Lab contracted Vectorform, an award-winning interactive design firm, for what is known as the Landmarks & Navigation project. This is no great secret. Vectorform attended the Rx office hours on April 17 & 24 to gather information, and then presented the L&N project concept on May 29. There were also emails to the SLDev mailing list in April and May, around the same time as the office hours. The L&N project has been underway since then, and is now nearing completion (as much has been said at Rx office hours in recent weeks).

    So, sorry to burst any bubbles, but unless LL contracted another award-winning interactive design firm to work in secret on a whole new viewer, and the timing of that project just happened to coincide exactly with the timing of the Landmarks & Navigation project… well, I’ll let you jump to your own conclusion.

  • 26Sep

    Here’s an updated version of an oldie but a goodie. Back in January 2007, I found out how to disable (on your computer only) the SL typing sound — the loud, annoying click-clack-clack sound that plays whenever you or anyone around you starts typing something into chat.

    It has been nice and peaceful since then. But tonight, while testing the latest build of Imprudence, I heard it for the first time in 21 months (since my regular SL settings weren’t loaded). Blech! What a racket. I went to disable it, but then I thought of something better: I could replace it with a nicer sound. That way I’d still have an audible indicator of when someone was typing (something I realize I had been missing).

    After rummaging around in my inventory a bit to find an appropriate sound, I settled on a freebie cricket chirp sound. It was full perm, so I grabbed the asset UUID: b3831ff2-a197-62df-34f7-a83be592c1da

    So, I enabled the Advanced menu (Ctrl+Alt+D, or Cmd+Alt+D for you Mac-types), opened up Advanced > Debug Settings, typed in UISndTyping, then pasted in b3831ff2-a197-62df-34f7-a83be592c1da in the box at the bottom, replacing the UUID that was there. Close up Debug Settings and… voila! Now instead of clacking on a keyboard, everybody chirps like a cricket when they start typing!

    Of course, if crickets aren’t your thing, you can use any sound at all, as long as you have the UUID for it. You can get that by right clicking on it and selecting Copy Asset UUID — but only if you have full permissions on the item.

    So, enjoy your crickets etc.! If you find a free sound that you like even better than crickets, leave a comment with the UUID or link to where it can be downloaded so I can try it out. (No illegal rips, please!)

  • 21Sep

    Tateru Nino poses an intriguing question about why disabled users often become quite attached and identify with their avatars, more so than able-bodied people do:

    To many such physically impaired users, the body is no more nor less a tool than an online avatar, and the latter (despite lag, occasional inventory loss, network problems and all the other hurly-burly of a virtual environment) is the more reliable, expressive and liberating, allowing more ability to contribute, work, play and socialize.

    Why then, do the able-bodied among us tend to see so much more distinction between our bodies in the physical world and our digital representations? Is that distinction merely an artificial one, a handicap brought about by our able-bodied perspective?

    I suspect it’s a matter of the strength of the connection between thought, action, results, and feedback.

    For a perfectly able-bodied person, the mind directs the body smoothly, precisely, and effortlessly. Thought easily translates into action, and the feedback — sensory input confirming the results — reinforces the mind-body connection. As a result, your body starts to feel like part of your “self”, rather than an external thing.

    But for an able-bodied person using an awkward tool or interface, the translation from thought to action is not nearly so effortless, the feedback is not as rewarding, and thus the connection is not as strong. As a result, the person feels less in control, and more conscious of manipulating an unwilling external object.

    Continue reading »

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