Sunday, March 27, 2011

How do YOU view?

...if you've never taken a leisure day to explore the richness that Second Life has to offer, you should do that as soon as you can. Some myths you can ignore.

1) This is just a scheme to get you to give money for imaginary things. The truth of the matter is that you don't need to pay anything to participate in Second Life. You may find things that you want to pay for, but that will be up to you.

2) The place is overrun with vampires and sex fiends. (Yes, I know there is a more common name for the latter category but I'm not going to say it in my blog.) The truth is that I haven't seen a vampire for months in there, and my local pub in real life is also overrun with sex fiends -- I tend not to interact with them that much. What the place truly is overrun by is musicians, 3D artists, and filmmakers. At least around me.

3) This is a very big sinkhole for your time. Well the same could be said about Facebook or TiVo. It's up to you to monitor your use of technology and time. But I will say that you'll find a lot of compelling content if you have the patience to learn the very few skills that are required to get around and see what's happening. (If you've ever played a first-person shooter 3D video game, you already have those skills.)

So the real question is how will I see what's going on?

The company that runs Second Life (Linden Labs) offers you a "browser" known widely as "Viewer 2" You can simply download it for free from the Second Life main web site.

Perhaps the most popular alternative viewer is Phoenix. This viewer presents the user interface that has been prevalent throughout Second Life history prior to Viewer 2, and it has the status that Mozilla (and later Firefox) had as the best choice for the cognoscenti. At least one colleague tells me that motion is much smoother in Phoenix.

For photographers and filmmakers, the viewer known as Kirsten's is a very popular choice. It presents the user interface similar to Viewer 2 (with one annoying difference), and it performs well on a machine with sufficient horsepower to render Second Life 3D content in the first place.

In my opinion, you can't go wrong with any of these three. There are other choices and you can read about them here. But mostly don't listen too much to people who tell you that there's only one "right" viewer. Most of the time the opinion is based upon folklore, fashion, or limited information.