Hurling the Sledgehammer

Every time a shiny new virtual world shows up and the geekosphere starts circling and rubbing their hands and predicting the doom of Second Life, I see the same thing happen.

I watched it happen to Lively, to There and now even Blue Mars is abandoning any further development of its PC client and shifting to a mobile platform.

They each have one flaw, a flaw that is to all appearances fatal.

I can't get in.

I'm a Mac user. I always have been. Our family's first computer was an Apple, we were probably the first on our block with a little beige box in 1984 and we've been Mac people ever since.

About twelve percent of American households have a Mac in them as of 2009. The majority of those have some kind of Windows-based PC lurking about somewhere, so it wouldn't seem necessary to go to all the trouble to make a virtual world client specifically for Mac users. There are so few of us, after all, in the larger scheme of things.

Except for the fact that it isn't just about numbers. It's about the kind of users you cut out by shutting the door on the Macintosh.

The affluent type. The college-educated type. The artsy, creative, I-make-my-living-conjuring-pretty-things-out-of-pixels type.

Photoshop, the program most commonly used for editing Second Life textures, started out on the Macintosh and didn't have a Windows version until after a few years of development. It's a pretty safe bet that a large number of Photoshop experts are Mac people, and if you don't have a way for them to get in, you cut yourself off from a deep pool of creative talent. Not all of them will go to the trouble to either obtain a Windows machine or force their Mac to mimic one just to access a program. Why on earth should they, when they already have Second Life if they need a world to play in?

In fact, I'll go out on a limb and firmly declare that any virtual world that cannot be readily accessed by a Macintosh computer will never successfully surpass Second Life.

I'm not sure where Blue Mars goes on that scale, to be honest, considering that the direction they're heading towards is . . . the iPhone and iPad.


I think that says it all, really.

Social Butterfly :)i(: Remodel

Big changes at Quantum Fields . . . including a new shop design. Miles arranged to get the back wall opened up so we have a place to sit with a view of the sea. I've also set up some 7Seas Fishing at the dock nearby, with some bonus catches of SB merch to be caught. Many possibilities are unfurling in this new year. I hope to update a little more frequently here to chronicle them.
posted by CyFishy Traveler on Quantum Fields using a blogHUD : [permalink]

Social Butterfly :)i(: 12 Days of Christmas Sale!

This is rather absurdly short notice, but I've decided to do the Second Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Sale at Social Butterfly!

Starting Christmas morning (December 25th) and running through the 12th day of Christmas (January 5th) one item in our store will be marked down to a mere L$12. It could be our Kaleidoscope Eyes. It could be one of our lovely shirts. (It probably won't be the L$5 shirts upstairs because, um, that would be kind of silly.) The only way to find out is to go and hover your little cursor over each item to find out the price.

Happy Christmas to all!

Ah, Viewer 2 . . .

I know many complain about your instability, but I've had few troubles with you crashing on me incessantly.

Nevertheless, I am growing a bit weary of your tendency to rearrange the furniture with every new release. I had the process of creating new clothes down to a nice little rhythm and now I have to figure it out all over again because you've completely changed the Edit Appearance windows.

This is especially frustrating for someone who runs a How To site for SL newbies. I can't imagine what they're going through when things shift around the moment they've finally figured them out.

I do have hopes for you, Viewer 2, but maybe you should work a little more on the back-end stability since I know so many people have fled to Emerald (and now to Phoenix) not because of the layout, but because of the not-crashing thing. How about you give us a little time to adjust to the layout before fiddling with those parts, even if they're not as glamorous as the grindy process of debugging?

Yours sincerely,

CyFishy Traveler

How I Spent My 4th Rezday

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All in all, it was a lovely rezday. Four is an interesting age to be in a world that is itself only seven. The time the grid existed without me is now exceeded by the time the grid has existed with me in it. And I'm still here. Sometimes frustrated, but still fascinated and hoping to see and do more in this virtual place.

And, yes, I am still alive . . .

I finally broke down and bought a paid account so I can do a little more with this blog than I've been able to.

My newbie guide is in need of considerable revision in light of the new viewer, so I suppose I'm lucky that I'm such a procrastinator and all the pages I was going to get to Real Soon Now will be accurate once I get them put up.

Still trying to prod Miles--and myself, for that matter--into some action on Social Butterfly.

The Me has some crazy ideas she wants to pull off, but many of those crazy ideas involve Second Life in some way, so you may be hearing more from me soon.

Beta Viewer -- my first impressions

One of the reasons I did my newbie site as a webpage instead of writing it as a book (as some suggested) is because I was fully aware that Second Life is a mutable thing and anything that got committed to paper would eventually become obsolete. I finally got the second part of How to Dress Yourself up and now I may have to redo How to See What You're Doing in light of the new interface that is currently in Beta testing.

I'm rethinking my approach to the Newbie site in light of the increasing number of viewers and options available. A tutorial on How To Use The Internet should not confine itself to the quirks of Internet Explorer.

So far, a lot of the criticism directed at the Beta Viewer seems to be along the lines of "It's all different and weird and scary! Make it exactly like the viewer I'm used to! Only more usable!" Not that there aren't valid complaints out there (I have a few, which I'll get to) but I really wonder about the guy who insists that the old-school pie menus are less confusing than the new context menus in the Beta viewer.

So, complaints first, then compliments--

The top "browser" bar and side tabs take up a little more visual real estate than I would like. The side tabs in particular are like a HUD you can't detach. It would be WONDERFUL if there was a simple clicky way to hide them completely and reveal them as necessary so I can see the world unimpeded.

Color scheme is at least a little classier than the classic brown-and-blue muck, but it would be groovy to have some lighter options.

Good job on making the sound controls so unobtrusive that I couldn't FIND the things until I read a FAQ update that explained where to look. (I'll get over that one, but sheesh. By the way, for those still looking--they're in the upper-right corner. That's also how to make the voice chat dot go away, by bringing up the sound settings and deselecting "Enable" next to the Voice Chat volume slider.)

I get why you decided to make profile pictures square now that you're using them as little sub-icons in things like friends list and chat window. But after all that tweaking to make my profile picture fit neatly in the 3:4 window, it's a damn nuisance to wind up distorted all over again. And I'm going to have to live with looking squishy in the profile windows of those who decline to make the switch. Sigh.

Things I do like:

The new context menus. It's an enormous relief to see all my options at once instead of having to click through to the dreaded "More..." to get to what I need and they're familiar enough to the average computer user to be more 'intuitive' than the pie menus were.

The tattoo layer! What a great idea--I know quite a few people who love their tattoos but have to sacrifice so many lovely undershirt-layer clothes in order to wear them. It would be nice to see how they'll look while still in the Appearance settings, but maybe they can fix that in future iterations.

I'm still getting a feel for the new IM window, but I suspect we might have fewer cases of "Whoops! Wrong window!" because of the changes. I also felt better about it when I realized it could, in fact, be detached and moved from the bottom of the screen to wherever I needed it to be.

How will it work for a complete newbie? I'm really not sure, since I'm so familiar already with How To Make The Thing Go, but it does look like it's a little more friendly to the novice. I'm thinking I may need to reincarnate again to see how the new life begins in the M Linden Age.
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The Vanishing

I thought about editing the last post to include this information, but I felt it merited a new entry.

The Duran Duran islands are gone. If you click the SLURLs from my previous posts on the matter, the pointer lands in the middle of the ocean. (The avies they created for the band members still exist, at least for now, though Andy Taylor's avie disappeared some time ago.)

I'm not the slightest bit surprised. I'd expected it was only a matter of time before they gave up on ever coming inworld and while it would have been lovely to have been proven wrong, it was not to be.

It's strangely liberating, to be honest. Why I came here is no longer relevant. Why I stay here is.