Monday, 13 August 2007

Technical problems

I shouldn't have installed Voice. With that update something changed and now ambient sounds are causing SL to crash on my computer. I can only visit sims with no or few sounds. Voice works fine, but if there are birds singing and sounds of waterfalls and other things, SL crashes. This weekend it crashed so many times I can't even remember. Then I installed the new voice viewer (the one released on Friday) hoping maybe the problem would end, but it made no difference.

For now, I won't be in SL too often. I can't visit many of the places I used to. My graphics card doesn't handle this new version, I need a new one and a new processor.

Friday, 10 August 2007


Second post of the day, this time just to say now I'm voice-enabled!

I should have tried this earlier! I talked to a friend and it was fun!! The connection is bad, the quality of the sound is poor (if compared to skype), but it's ok for a start! But it made my computer crash once. Also, SL seemed slower than usually, but I have to try it at other locations to compare.

Interaction, coordination, teleportation and sordid propositions

Yesterday SL was experiencing Network Connectivity Problems, and there was a wasp in my living room, so meanwhile, I thought I would write about something that was on my mind, which was interaction between people in SL. This post ended up becoming a collection of 4 different parts.

1. “That quiet one is talking through IMs”

People behave and interact with others in a quite different way in SL. Imagine this scene: a group of 4 people, three of them are friends, and the forth is a friend of one of them and has just met the others. They talk through the chat line (let’s not talk about Voice here for now), and from time to time there are pauses or moments of silence, when person number four just knows that the other three are talking to each other through IM. That’s something we don’t see in RL. It’s a way people can secretly exchange ideas without the others knowing.

Imagine another scene: two persons dancing and talking through IM to each other, and one of them is also at the same time IMing a third person.

Anyone you are talking to might be talking to someone else at the same time through IM.

And while all this is happening, at the same time you are being spammed because some asshole is using an Updates Group to talk. I belong to several groups and most of them are meant only for notification (the store owner sends info related to her store), but members often – actually EVERYDAY – disregard the group owner’s request not to use the group chat, and spam people. This is SO IRRITATING!

The use of IM has changed the way people interact with each other.

2. “She has a serious coordination problem”

Okay. Now to something else. What about people who doesn’t know how to communicate? I have been approached from time to time by very fresh newbies on their first or second day in SL and they ask for information. I’m a polite person so I try to be helpful. I answer some questions and direct them to for instance Natalia’s *Getting Started in SL Guide*, so they can find themselves all the info they need from there. But while I’m answering, the newbie jumps, walks forwards and backwards, get out of chat range, and start walking away and then seems to come back. Maybe some don’t know that typing animation means I’m answering, maybe some have serious coordination problems, or maybe some don’t have any consideration for others. When people start doing that, I sometimes consider teleporting away.

Why can’t some newbies just stay quiet for a moment while chatting to someone? If you ask a question, isn’t it polite to wait for the f*cking answer?

In same cases, it could really be coordination problems. It seems that now when people join through the SL website, it’s possible to choose to either join a community and be taken to one of those portals, or be taken to Linden Lab's Orientation Island. The Orientation Island has all the tutorials and instructions, but maybe some of those other portals don’t have anything like that. If that’s the case, the new newbies today are rezzed into SL without any knowledge of how things work! Oh isn’t that scary? That would explain their restlessness and their jumping into things. But it doesn’t excuse anyone, I still think it’s very impolite to ask a question and start running back and forth.

3. “Does he REALLY think I will teleport?”

Earlier this week I was alone at some place when I suddenly was offered teleport by a person I had never met before. I had never heard of the guy, he might have found me through a group or a search, or maybe he saw my blog or my snapzilla pictures. Without any IM, any message or contact of any kind, he sent me a teleport offer to god knows where, and he replaced the default automatic line that says “Join me at NameOfThePlace” with only this: ^^

Yes, this was his whole message.


LMAO! What a f*cking looser! What kind of person approaches a complete stranger with a teleport offer saying ^^ ? Did he REALLY expect me to teleport there, to who knows where to meet him? He could only be a looser, or suffer from a serious mental problem if he was so optimistic to the point of believing that any sane girl would ever consider teleporting!

4. “What the f*ck is he proposing??”

Another kind of interaction that only happens in SL. Picture this: imagine that in real life you are talking to a real life girl who is your new friend, maybe a person you got to know through your friends or a blog, a person with whom you have nice conversations. A normal friendship at its beginning. Then suddenly you decide to offer that girl a job as an escort. Can you really imagine that situation in REAL LIFE? Doesn’t it sound completely absurd? Who would dare to do that in real life?

Apparently what is absurd in RL seems to be acceptable in SL.

Maybe it’s because girls who in RL would never work as escorts are willing to do that in SL. But how come things can get to the point that a guy assumes he can safely offer this kind of job to any girl?

This week a guy I know offered me a job as an escort, as if as it was the most casual thing in the world. I was so surprised and shocked that I didn’t know what to say, so I changed the subject. But I got upset and disappointed. He always seemed like a normal, ordinary guy, a nice person. But this job proposition offended me.

Many things in SL are way different than in RL. Way different.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Pi, anyone?

In RL people are criticized for being too thin or too fat, everyone is expected to conform to an ideal measurement of beauty. In SL, one would imagine people have the freedom to look like they want, but as it turns out, in SL people are still expected to conform to an ideal measurement of beauty. Those who are too thin or too fat are criticized, especially because in SL it’s so easy to change. You can just move some slides and have a thinner waist, larger breasts, or a Kate Moss figure. But that doesn’t mean anyone want that or are obliged to want that.

But that’s not all, there’s something more. The same way people are expected to conform to an ideal measurement of beauty in SL, those who do are criticized for doing so. So you can’t either be thin, fat nor can you look too beautiful - you will be accused of something. The fact is that you cannot please everybody.

But there are some things you CAN (and should) do. The most important one, body proportion! It doesn’t matter if you’re fat or slim, every human body in RL follows rules of proportion in nature. Have you ever heard of Pi?

The length of your arms and legs, the length of your torso, the size of your head, everything follows a proportion. It would be great if the SL appearance editor could preserve these proportions, such that if you made your legs longer, the rest of the body would change to PRESERVE the Pi proportion (but instead, if you make longer legs your torso will became very small).

But the editor cannot be preserve proportions, because it has to give you the freedom to create non-human avatars, and let’s say, even human-like avs like fairies might need to differ from the proportions (I don’t know about fairies, maybe they have longer legs, this is just an example).

So as it turns out, keeping with the harmony of body proportions is up to the user.

Which in some cases is unfortunate, as you can see from this picture on the right.

I don't know what leads some people to such extremes...

Does it look as if as the picture had been stretched? But it hasn't. She really looked like this. And she has been in SL since April. Really! I don't know what's worse, the long spider legs or the really short torso. Her crotch is where the stomach should be, and there isn't much space left for vital organs, but since in SL you don't have to eat, maybe she felt all she needed was legs and boobs.

Take a look at the mirror in RL and check how long your arms are in comparison to the body. Are your avatar’s arms as long? Try making them a little longer so that they would look like human arms. Doesn’t it look better?

I have one complaint about the Appearance editor (actually, more than one, but this one is important): the height slider should tell your height in both meters and feet. Otherwise, lots of girls set their height to 100, which makes them more than 2 meters tall, making the rest of us look like midgets. My height is set as 56, which means I’m 1,74 meters tall (or 5.7 feet), which is a normal height for a girl, but most of the female avatars I see in SL seem to tower over me. Why are there so many giants? If the Appearance editor would tell your height in RL measurements instead of the absurd 0 – 100 scale, people would know how to use it. Apparently this feature has already been requested and put to vote last October. The amazing thing is that only 15 people have voted in favor of that. See proposition 2133. And please vote!

You can check how tall you are using a height detector. If you don’t have one, you can use one at a store. For instance, Free Dove has one if I still remember correctly.

Body Proportion, part II
(read it later if you’re already tired at this point!)

When talking about female proportion, one thing comes to mind: the proportion between hips and boobage. The thing is, in SL people expect them to be fully proportionate. But as it happens in Real Life, they usually aren’t. Top models are the ones who are expected to have them perfectly proportionate, and as it turns out... most women cannot be top models! Usually the hips are larger than the breasts. So if you want to have a realistic shaped avatar, your hips should be as wide as the bust or a little wider. A nice round ass is beautiful, don’t be afraid to have an ass ;-) but try not to fill your screen with it, LOL! Of course you have the freedom to fill your screen with your ass, but you will be the one staring at it...

Some other day I saw a woman with huge prim breasts; at the beginning I didn’t even realize those WERE breasts. I wanted to talk to her, but I felt intimidated by the size of those things, really, I cannot stress enough how huge they were. In real life they would weigh 20 kg, each! I thought it was a joke, or a protest. But later I found her blog and read it, and I saw it wasn’t a protest, she has enormous breasts because she likes it. And while I can’t think why, why would someone like so enormous breasts, it’s her choice, it makes her happy. She likes it, she can, she has it. Why not? People should have the freedom. But I’m happy she’s the only one I have seen with those breasts because they SCARE me! If it became fashionable and everybody started using them it would be a nightmare. One woman with 20 kg breasts it’s ok, but 20 women with 20 kg breast, that would be spooky.

Lips! This was mentioned before, and Orchid also wrote about it at Mean Girls Guide to SL (see the post Good Looks are a Slider Away, I recommend it if the subject of body proportions interests you). As she states, lips are usually too large in most female avatars. I don’t think most of them have huge lips, but some do. Most of the time the problem is that the makeup of the skin has large lips and it isn’t possible to change them.

Take the Lovey’s skins for instance. The lips are rather big, but still beautiful in my opinion. I myself would prefer them smaller but you can’t change them. But the skin is beautiful, the face is really pretty. I know Vogue skins are made differently, such that you can tweak your lips and make them smaller, but what if you don’t like the eyebrows? What if you don’t like the other details on those skins? It’s quite hard to find a skin that would please someone completely.

I think so much has been said about body proportion on so many blogs, so I will end this post here. I hope the things I said about height and body proportion could be of some help, but I’m afraid the people who read this blog are not the ones who need the advice. LL should include this kind of help in their tutorials at the Orientation Island. If only the Appearance menu would show the height in meters and feet, that would be an enormous help.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


I still didn’t install the new viewer. It’s an optional update, and as a rule I only install the mandatory ones (not enough space in disk), and the final (and mandatory) viewer will be coming soon anyway, so I’ll rather wait for that. But I feel curious. I hope the final viewer will come soon.

I’m not in favour of voice, nor am I against it. In my opinion it has both good and bad sides. While I think voice will be handy in some circumstances (for instance being able to chat while building something, without the need for typing), it will be an annoyance in others:

  1. people yelling “testing, testing, do you hear me?”

  2. girls endowed with voices like Janice’s from the Friends TV series screaming “Oh my god!” out loud

  3. voice spam

  4. voice pollution (for instance, people talking nonsense publicly when they should be doing it privately, like through IM)

  5. trying to understand people speaking English for the first time in their lives. (As an example of this I'm copying here the lines of a conversation I had with a newbie, here's what he said: "Hi! I only after tutorial. Can you explein me whot have to do here? What for you here? How long you playing?")

  6. not being able to hear people who doesn’t speak up, or who didn’t set their volume up

  7. people in SL hearing what’s going on in my house besides my own voice (husband, music, etc.)

  8. people in RL hearing me chatting away at the computer

  9. people trying to pronounce “Wilhelmina” (LOL! Please call me Mina.)

  10. and one of the worst: imagine a group of 20 to 30 people sitting in a circle and chatting, lots of them speaking at the same time, accidentally or intentionally interrupting each other (the lack of body language might also cause that), and you not being able to know who said what. In RL you can turn your head and see whose mouth is moving, but in SL there will be only that voice icon above their heads, and that’s not as easy to follow as one would hope.

The list goes on, but I’ll stop here.

For an example of how voice can be just plain annoying in some ciscunstances, read this. And imagine yourself hearing those dialogues! ;-)