SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Hints & Tips: Removing yourself from hippoGROUPS lists

In August 2009 I blogged about removing yourself from unwanted notice lists. This method worked mainly with stores that had added you to Subscribe-o-matics without your permission, such as when you pick up a freebie or a hunt item, or even if you simply visited their store but didn’t buy anything. Some stores use a marketing strategy of adding all visitors/freebie or hunt item-grabbers to lists and then sending them update notecards or occasional giftcards (usually for small discounts) in order to entice them to their stores, but it can be very annoying when these notices cap your offline IMs if you can’t log in for a few days, or if you’re simply not interested in what the store sells.

So what do you do about it? Well, probably the same thing I used to do: click ‘discard’ on the notice when you log in, or (if they’re really bugging you) you might mute the sender. It’s easier to click ‘decline’ than it is to do something about it, after all. However, I was recently added by two stores that sent me notices on a regular basis, both of which I had never bought anything from. I recognised one as having been from a hunt prize I had picked up (and I may have even become a customer of that store but for their daily spamming with an LM and self-promotional spiel, so that strategy backfired for them!), but the other sold something I’m not even vaguely interested in, so I was pretty peeved to be receiving regular notices from them. And the trick up above didn’t work because they were using a different form of group: the hippoGROUPS.

If you’ve been added to a hippoGROUPS list and want to get out of it, luckily it’s very simple to do. And for the persistent store owners who keep adding you back to the list there is even a way to block them from doing so. Hop behind the cut to find out how.

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June 14, 2010 Posted by | grrr!, hints and tips, second life | 9 Comments

Hints & tips: Working with inventory in Viewer 2

UPDATE: If you’ve landed on this page because you suddenly can’t find or access your inventory using Second Life’s new ‘Viewer 2’, please go to this page on the new SL for Nowt blog to find out how to fix the issue :)

EDIT: Apparently the inventory button on the lower toolbar may be an addition only in the Kirsten viewer (see my endnote). Unfortunately I don’t have time to check this out right now, so please be aware that you may not find that button there. Hopefully, though, you should still be able to access your inventory (and thus do the two-windows trick) by opening the Sidebar. Although whether Linden Lab have hidden that sidebar option, too, is open to debate and something I can’t clarify until I (damn it!) am forced to install Viewer 2 myself :/

I’ll admit it: I’m struggling with the new SL viewer, aka Viewer 2 (or, for purposes of this post, V2). To me, as a long-term user of the older-style viewer, it feels completely non-intuitive. I’m especially struggling with inventory when I use it for tutorials, but because it’s so vastly different from the old viewers, I have to take screencaps using both now, to guide users of both and show them what they need to be doing.

Here’s one very useful tip for working with your inventory using V2. That sidebar inventory is a complete bugbear to me. Dragging and dropping (the quickest way to move stuff around in your inventory) is a nightmare, and you can’t actually re-position the sidebar at all. One of the main things I do when working with inventory is to drag two inventory windows side-by-side together in the middle of my viewer, so having one of those stuck to the right-hand-side of the viewer feels very awkward to me.

Hop behind the cut for my simple tip. It’s so simple, in fact, that it was one of those “D’oh!” moments when I realised it ;)

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June 1, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, inventory management, second life, viewer 2 tips and tricks | 9 Comments

Hints and tips: Getting a message in-world when you can’t log in

I just checked the search terms for the blog and spotted the following:

sl send im while offline

That got me thinking, because there are times when we need to get a message to someone in-world, sometimes urgently, but we can’t log in ourselves. Maybe we’re at work and we forgot to ask our partner to pay the rent that’s due on our in-world home, or we need to tell a friend that our home internet is out of action so not to worry if they don’t see us for a bit.

Hop behind the cut for a simple, free way around the problem.

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May 30, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, second life | 4 Comments

Newbie Notes: How to archive things in a box

You’ll often see me, in my inventory management posts, exhorting you to “shove ’em in a prim”, to “archive them” or to “box them up”, but it’s only in the past couple of days that I realised the newbies among us probably haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about!

With that in mind, this post is all about putting things in boxes, and what options you have with those boxes. Behind the cut you’ll find out all about:

– Where to make your boxes
– How to make your boxes
– How to make lots of boxes quickly (for those big archiving jobs!)
– How to make the boxes easier to open at a later date
– How to fill the boxes (and what the optimum amount of contents is)
– What will and won’t go into those boxes
– Permissions

Because Linden Lab are in the middle of trialling a new viewer (Viewer2, or for the purposes of this post, V2) I’m trying to guide you using screenshots of both viewers, as the experience is vastly different between older and newer viewers. Please be aware that V2 is still being worked on so these screenshots may not be accurate in the future. The basic premise remains the same, though.

Hop behind the cut!

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May 23, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, newbie notes, newbies, second life | 2 Comments

Those Little Questions: All About Skyboxes

Here’s another in my series of questions and answers inspired by the search terms that bring people to this blog. I’ve been pasting all of the questions into a file so that once I have enough I can write up a post, and I noticed that a great many of the search queries concern skyboxes, so that’s what this post is all about.

Hop behind the cut to learn all about skyboxes, including:

What is a skybox?
Where do I get a skybox?
How do I make a skybox?
How do I place/rez a skybox?
How high can I put a skybox?
Where can I get land to place my skybox?
Is a skybox private?
How do I get inside a skybox? There’s no door in mine!

Edited to add new skybox questions:

Can a skybox home be placed on the ground?
How do I get access to my friend’s skybox?
How do I get music in my skybox only?
Can I have a skybox if I own a Linden Home?
Can any house be used as a skybox?
Can I remove furniture from a fully-furnished skybox?
Can I build my skybox on someone else’s land, or on land that’s been abandoned?
Does my landlord own my sky box?

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May 12, 2010 Posted by | do's and don'ts, hints and tips, homes and skyboxes, newbie notes, second life, those little questions | 13 Comments

Inventory Management: Weeding the Shoe Bed

Okay, so you’ve tried all of my other tips and tricks for inventory management. You keep on top of deleting all those extra landmarks, posing stands, ‘how to use resize scripts’ notecards and the like, but your inventory is still out of control. Mine too, so I’m digging deeper now, and I’m going to tackle this latest issue one item at a time, beginning with one thing we ladies all love: shoes.

Hop behind the cut!

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April 6, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, inventory management, second life | | 4 Comments

Newbie Notes: Something for nothing

Well that’s the whole ethos of the Freebiesphere, I know, but there are many great ways of getting something for nothing in SL. Two of my favourites are Lucky Chairs (and, by extension, Lucky Boards) and Midnight Mania/Madness boards. For those new to SL, the workings of these things may be a bit puzzling (see my previous Q&A post where someone arrived at my blog on a search engine query ‘how to sit down and win in Second Life’) so here’s a quick tutorial about how these prize items work.

Hop behind the cut!

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March 9, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, lucky boards, lucky chairs, midnight mania boards, newbie notes, second life | | 1 Comment

Those little questions

Every day I glance at the search engine terms that bring people to this blog, and sometimes I see questions that, when put together, would make an interesting blogpost: a kind of random Q&A. So that’s exactly what I did.

Here is the first set of questions from the past week (my stats cut the final parts of most questions off, but they’re usually fairly obvious). Every time I get enough new questions I’ll make another post like this one.

How to check if friend has removed you from their friends list?
Simple: their name will no longer show up on your friends list.

Where are skin files located in Second Life?
In the Body Parts folder of your inventory. However, if you have bought a skin (even if it’s a freebie) it may appear in its own folder underneath all the main folders in your inventory (and the folder could have any name). It’s a good habit, at the beginning of your Second Life, to organise your inventory as you go along, so moving that skin folder into your Body Parts folder would make sense ;)

How do I sit on a chair to win in Second Life?
This is called a Lucky Chair. Lucky Chairs (there are also Lucky Boards) have a prize (or prizes) loaded into them, and they display a letter of the alphabet (sometimes a number, or a question mark). The chair/board will display this random letter/number/question mark for a set length of time and then (assuming nobody wins) will change to a new one. Most chairs and boards will show how many minutes remain before the letter changes. You win if your first name begins with the same letter that’s on the chair/board. If the chair/board is displaying a question mark then it’s a ‘wildcard’ round and anyone can sit/click and win. Right-click on the chair and select ‘sit’, or left-click on the board, and you will win the prize. The chair/board will then change to a new letter. More info on lucky chairs, lucky boards, and also on Midnight Mania can be found here.

How do I retire my avatar in Second Life?

Log into using your avatar name and password, and go to your Account page (click the arrow to the right of ‘Account’ in the left-hand sidebar to expand it). From there, click Cancel Account.

Are all money trees for newbies only?
In the main, yes. I’ve not seen or heard of any that pay out to older accounts.

How to tell if a ‘female’ avatar is really a man?
I’m afraid you can’t. Voice-changing software is readily-availably and extremely convincing. In addition, many people portray a different gender in SL than their RL gender, and for many reasons. Insisting that someone ‘voices’ with you is no guarantee that what you hear is genuinely them, and insisting on webcam (which, since SL currently has no webcam facility, would need to be via an external application) may cause offence.

How to buy a money tree in Second Life?
Go to the Wolfhaven Money Tree Headquarters in Silla: secondlife://Silla/176/37/74

March 9, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, newbie notes, newbies, second life, sl basics, those little questions | | Leave a comment

Hints & tips: Taking a flattering photo

We’ve all got ’em: those embarrassing and unflattering pics of us taken by well-meaning friends and relatives. Taken the moment we looked down, so we appear to have ten chins, or snapped at the exact second we bent down on the beach to pick up our kids’ bucket and spade, revealing an arse big enough to block out enough sunlight that everything dies in its shade.

In Second Life there are no excuses. Our avatars are exactly as we want them to be: as skinny/tall/curvy/muscular/whatever as we want. They’re our fantasy selves; we dress them up, and many of us take pictures of them. However, there’s something that I’ve noticed increasingly as I’ve browsed blogs and sites dedicated to SL: the trend for photographing the avatar, full-length, from above, and it makes me want to yell: “STOP!”

When you photograph your avatar from above, you are foreshortening your legs to such an extent that it throws your entire body out of visual proportion. While this doesn’t matter in torso-only shots, it can be incredibly unflattering in full-length shots, especiallly if your avatar doesn’t have long legs to begin with. I hate to say it, dear readers and bloggers, but when you do this you are doing yourselves no favours when your legs look as short as (or even shorter than) your torso!

Mar’s pretty damn leggy, and her legs are skinny, so it’s not as noticable in the pics below, but if (for example) you’re a muscular guy with average legs, you’re going to resemble an Oompaloompa if you’re not careful. Sorry; there’s no other way of saying it. So, below, are three shots of Mar: on the left she’s photographed from above (over head height), in the middle she’s photographed from directly in front (waist height), and on the right she’s photographed slightly from below (knee height). Note what each camera position does to her avatar. Want longer legs? Angle your camera just slightly upwards.

Come on, people. You work hard on those avatars. Don’t let them down when you’re taking pics of them. Be aware of your camera angles!

January 11, 2010 Posted by | hints and tips, second life | | 1 Comment

Hints & Tips: Removing yourself from unwanted notice lists

UPDATE: Click here to find out how to remove yourself from hippoGROUPS lists. The method listed below won’t work for those groups, so another tactic is required!

This week I have only had time to log into Second Life twice: once on Monday to pay my in-world rent, and once today. Because I am a member of quite a few groups and Subscribe-o-matics, when I don’t login for that long, my instant messages are usually ‘capped’. This means when I do eventually login, all I will see are the first 25 or so messages and inventory offers (because those are classed as IMs, too) that I have received, and anything sent to me or IM’d to me after that simply won’t get through in-world.

If you want to make sure you still get instant messages when you know you’ll be offline for a while, you can check ‘Send IM to email’ in the Communications tab of Preferences in your SL viewer (or you can log into your account on the SL website, go to the Contact Information section and check “I would like to receive offline IMs via email” button). This will ensure that any IMs you receive while offline (even when they are capped) and notices of inventory offers (although you won’t know what has been offered) will still reach you at the email address you registered your SL account with.

But there is a slowly-growing trend in SL lately, of some stores adding you to their subscriber lists when you buy something from them on XstreetSL, or when you receive a sample from them via DSN (the Designer Showcase Network)*, or even when you pick up their prize item in a gridwide hunt. The store owners in question seem to be looking through their transaction history and adding to their subscriber kiosks anyone that has either visited their store, picked up a hunt prize, etc etc. This isn’t like a Subscribe-o-matic, where you click the kiosk to opt in to receive notices from the store owner; this is done without your knowledge, and the first thing you know about it is when you start getting messages from them and wondering when on earth you clicked their sign, because you can’t remember!

*Please read the comments of this post, where Peter Stindberg of the DSN says that adding DSN subscribers to a random mailing list is NOT encouraged, and what to do if you think someone has done this to you.

Not every store does this, by any means, and you shouldn’t let it stop you from doing hunts, buying on XstreetSL, or joining the DSN. It’s a rare few stores that will do this to you, and they do it because it’s part of their promotion strategy. The trouble is, these sorts of strategy tend to backfire. I only want to be a part of lists of my own choosing, regardless of whether I have bought an item from a store, got it in a hunt, or whatever. If a store bugs me without my requesting it, I am very likely to make sure I never visit them, purely because they have annoyed me!

Of late, I was added without my knowledge or consent by one store that sent out a notice and a free giftcard every single day. That’s all very nice, and I’m sure that some people would appreciate the giftcard (although items in the store cost quite a bit more than the giftcard, so it’s not as though you would be able to buy one thing cheaply using it. And no, you can only use one giftcard per purchase, so you couldn’t add them all up and get something free, before you ask!). But in the five days that I was offline, this store’s two messages/giftcards per day added up to 10 ‘instant messages’. Since the average amount of messages you receive before they are capped is 25, that was almost half of my IM quota used up already, and on something I didn’t want and hadn’t asked to be part of!

I had also been added (again, without my knowledge or consent) by another store that sent out another couple of messages, so you can imagine that I was a bit peeved when I logged in today, only to find my IMs capped. I only knew that I had lost personal IMs from actual people because I had checked to receive them into my email inbox!

There is a solution, and a way to get out of these unwanted offers, but I have to admit that it bugs me no end that I am forced to visit these stores in order to do it. (And, on visiting the stores, I didn’t recognise them at all, so I knew immediately that I had never been there before, to click the boards and opt in, which made me even more angry!)

Hop behind the cut for the solution, if you are getting these unwanted messages, too.

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August 29, 2009 Posted by | grrr!, hints and tips, second life | 5 Comments