Second Life Tutorials
Hi everyone! I was so amazed and delighted with the response to my recent post about my Second Life events spreadsheet that I researched my buns off and figured out not only how to share and embed this spreadsheet for others to enjoy, but also how to allow people to have their own personalized copy. So excited! Please click the link below to check it out:
There was a bit of discussion about additionally creating a calendar-based format in the comments of my post. Out of curiosity, I began setting one up to see how different it would function, and I personally find it to be more cumbersome and it requires more time to update and more clicks to get to to the relevant information. The main issue I was concerned with is that Google Calendars appear to truncate data if too many events begin overlapping, which as we know is extremely common in Second Life. Here’s a screenshot for reference:
I had only added 12 events to the calendar before I stopped; the screenshot is taken with a resized browser window so I could fit it to a reasonable size, but even with my browser maximized to my full 1920×1080 resolution, and the calendar set to the “Compact” sizing option, at most we would be able to view 7 concurrent events at a time. That’s why you see the little “+5 more” or similar links beneath the dates. Also if you needed a SLURL, which I included in the “Where” field for each event I added to the calendar, you’d have to open the event information and copy the link either into another browser window or into the Location bar of the viewer. As best I could tell, there was no way to make those SLURLs clickable without adding HTML code.
TL;DR – Spreadsheets are at-a-glance and super easy to update, so that’s what I’m stickin’ to! ♥
You can learn more about the formatting and how it updates on the spreadsheet page, but I wanted to add a neat trick here: there’s a way that you can have your own personal version of the spreadsheet that will auto-update for you, usually in as little as 30 seconds after I make a change. How cool is that? There are some limitations however: if you make any changes to the sheet, like highlighting certain rows, or adding notes in a specific event’s row, that information will all get overwritten or shifted around the next time the sheet is updated. If anyone knows how to get the information to dynamically update into someone’s personalized sheet and yet allow changes that they’ve made to specific rows to “travel” with the updates, I’d love to know!
So how would a personal version be helpful? Probably the best way to use it would be to set up a new Google Sheets document, have my event schedule auto-populate into one of the sheets, and then use an additional sheet to store information about your sponsors, which events they’re participating in, your most-used SLURLs for post credits, and so on. I know this might make your head spin if you’re not too familiar with spreadsheets (I’m an Excel throwback, so Google Sheets were somewhat familiar but still completely new to me). However, if you’re somewhat comfortable with working with them, here’s how you would set up your own, auto-updating copy of the data:
❖ Go to Google Drive, click on the red New button, and choose Google Sheets.
❖ In the first cell of the sheet, A1, paste in the following code snippet:
=IMPORTRANGE("https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UAupdzbtEhoDJtJWQRulbuGiRGJKE9QtQKyugBb_8yA","Second Life Fashion & Shopping Events!A1:D200")
❖ Hit your Enter button. At this point, you may see a #REF! cell, or a pop-up asking you to give permission to the master sheet to enter data into your personal sheet. Click the “Allow” button, and that should do it!
You may need to fancy-up the formatting a bit (add bold text, realign the columns, etc) but once that’s complete, the sheet should automatically update itself with new or changed event and dates as I work on the master sheet. Awesome-sauce!
I’m flirting with the idea of adding additional sheets to the master. These might include a similar schedule that covers ongoing hunts; SLURLs and Marketplace links for active designers and brands; scenic destinations to help bloggers and Flickr photographers find locales for special shots; and so on. That’s me – once I get the seed of an idea for a project, it just grows and grows! Let me know in the comments if any of these additional options would be useful, and please do enjoy the spreadsheet/schedule. Thank you to all of the lovely commenters who inspired and motivated me to make it a resource that everyone could benefit from! ♥
This quick guide was inspired by a conversation that came up in a skin designer’s group chat the other night. A gal asked if anyone could share a landmark to the brand’s store, which I thought was a bit of a curious request. So I looked in my inventory and didn’t find a landmark in the folder of the group gift that I’d picked up there. I tried the Second Life search tool, but the store didn’t show up in a Places search. So I used a bit of sneaky maneuvering to finally pinpoint the location, and relied upon the World Map to give me a clickable SLURL to share with the group member.
While this may not necessary be an issue you come up against often, it’s fairly common for landmarks and SLURLs to become defunct, owing to stores changing location or closing in-world. Or perhaps the brand uses a variation on their name in their Second Life Places search that may effectively “hide” them from coming up under other terms. Also, if a brand’s store happens to be located on an Adult sim and you don’t have your viewer settings turned on to allow access to Adult content (or you’ve unticked the “A” box in the Search window), you may inadvertently miss their listing. This tip should work as long as you have an item from the designer in your inventory, and the creator still has a presence in SL. Here’s the workaround:
1. Locate the item in your Inventory panel, and right-click on it. Choose Properties from the menu.
2. In the window that pops up, the designer’s name should be shown in the Creator field. Click on the Profile button.
3. In the designer’s profile, check in their Picks tab for a current store location. They may have closed their in-world store; if this is the case, look for a Second Life Marketplace link. Otherwise if they have a location listed, click on the Teleport button.
4. If you don’t wish to teleport, but instead would like to share the location with someone else or save it for yourself to visit later, click on the Show On Map button. When the World Map opens, look for the Copy SLURL button and click on it. You can then paste this link into the chat box to turn it into a clickable landmark.
To the best of my knowledge, Second Life doesn’t provide us with a way of creating a landmark unless we’re physically at a location in-world. Meaning, if you want to make a landmark in your inventory of a specific place, you need to visit it in-world and then use the Landmark This Place option from the SL viewer’s World menu. However, if you just want to temporarily store a location for future use:
5. Click on the SLURL that you pasted into the chat box. In the Place Profile box that pops up, click on the little arrow in the lower right-hand corner and choose Create Pick. This will store the location in the Picks tab of your own profile, which you can use at any time to teleport. (Once you do visit the place, go ahead and make a proper inventory landmark as explained above for future use.)
I hope this is helpful! And a sincere thanks to creators who make sure to keep their in-world profiles up to date with landmarks to their current store locations. This is tremendously useful when the Search feature is being problematic, or if the landmark included with a prior purchase in out of date. I can imagine that the responsibilities that go along with being a brand designer or manager must be overwhelming at times, and updating your profile would be easy to overlook, so taking the time to do so is really appreciated!
And now for a quick L$0 Look of the Day! (Please click for a full size image.)
Skin: Amacci – Yasmin (L$0 group gift)
Lip Color: Tilly – Pink Lipstick 50% (L$0 on SL Marketplace)
Eyes: Chus Poppet Lenses – Meadows (L$0 on SL Marketpace)
Hair: Little Bones – Pearl (L$0, FaMESHed group gift through May 27th)
Necklace: Pure Poison – Gabrielle Necklace (L$0 group gift)
Top: Moon Amore – Dulce Melodia Dress (L$0 group gift)
Jeans: Aniri’s Boutique – Sam Jeans (L$0 on SL Marketplace)
Sneakers: Energie – Criss Boots (L$0, Energy Club group gift)
In my recent post on unpacking boxes and objects, I learned that there were some free, newbie-friendly public sandboxes to explore in SL, and I was keen to check them out! Before I get to my recommended sandbox list though, here’s a trick if you’d like some additional privacy or open space in any sandbox or build-enabled area. Note: I use the Firestorm Viewer exclusively to connect to Second Life, but I believe these commands work on the official SL viewer and additional third-party viewers as well.
- In the Nearby Chat box, type gth followed by any number of your choosing, up to 4000. This will immediately teleport you high into the sky, where you can build or rez objects away from any crowd you may encounter. Many people choose even number heights when they’re on sky platforms – 1000, 1500, 2000, etc – so if a sandbox is particularly crowded on that day, perhaps choose an odd number for a better result.
- For example, let’s type gth 1772 into Nearby Chat hit the Enter key. You should immediately see yourself appearing (and falling from) high in the sky. Quickly click your mouse outside of the chat box, and then hit the Page Up button on your keyboard, which is the default hotkey for flying. This will stop your fall, and you’ll begin to hover in place.
- Then once more in the Nearby Chat box, type rezplat, which will rez a platform directly beneath your feet, which you can then stand on by clicking on the Stop Flying button or by holding Page Down until you meet the platform. The default platform size is 30 meters, but I’ve reset this to 5 meters in my preferences (see below) because I generally wouldn’t need a large platform for unpacking boxes or similar. You’ll find these shortcuts in the Firestorm preference menu under Chat / CmdLine. Bear in mind that the location of the CmdLine section has changed in the Beta viewer, which I’m using. In older versions, I believe these shortcuts were under the Firestorm tab in Preferences.
So let’s visit some sandboxes! I decided to compile my recommended list into its own page, which I’ll keep updated in case the links change or locations come and go. Please click the link below to view the list, then come back for some additional tips:
Second Life Sandbox Etiquette
Now that you’re armed with some sandbox SLURLs, what are the guidelines and best practices for utilizing these public spaces? While most have a stated auto-return allowance (which means that any items you’ve rezzed or built on their land will be automatically returned to your inventory after a set time period), some sandboxes will only return your items once you’ve left the parcel or logged out, and others may only clean or reset themselves once a day. However, just because you know your items will come back to you eventually, it doesn’t give residents free license to leave things lying around, especially if you’re unpacking lots of goodies.
See all those packages and parcels? Believe it or not, some of them have a fair bit of land impact, which means leaving a lot of discarded objects lying around may take up a good amount of the prim allowance of the sandbox, potentially preventing others from making full use of the space. So always be respectful and clean up the area before you teleport away.
You may be thinking: “I’ve just rezzed a hundred or more boxes. Cleaning them up is going to take ages!” Luckily there’s a trick for that as well. To delete a large number of objects at once:
- Right-click on any of your objects, and choose Edit from the menu.
- While the Edit menu is open, click your left mouse button and drag a rectangle around all of the objects you’d like to delete. This is where rezzing them all close to one another is handy, but you can always zoom out if you need a wider view.
- Once every object is highlighted in yellow (the color may vary depending on which viewer skin you use), right-click with your mouse on any highlighted object and choose Delete in the menu. You can also press the Delete button on your keyboard.
If all goes well, every highlighted object should have been deleted all at once. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
If you happen to miss an item, or for some reason an object doesn’t delete itself, you can always right-click it directly and use the same Delete function. But please bear in mind that if you delete items with No Copy permissions, they’re gone forever. The same goes if you happen to leave a No Copy item behind at the sandbox; once the auto-return kicks in, that item will be deleted rather than returned to your inventory. So be mindful of the permissions on the items you rez in-world, just in case!
Ahhhhh, all those boxed up purchases, freebies and gifts finally unpacked and ready to go in your inventory, and you’ve quickly cleaned up after yourself. Good job, avie! Go ahead, strike a silly, self-satisfied pose. You’ve earned it.
Skin: Insol Body Skin Scarlett – Ivory (L$0, no longer available)
Eyeshadow: XCW Freebie Eyeshadow – Pink/Orange (L$0)
Lip Gloss: Fudge Opening Gift Lip Smudge – Peach Ice Cream (L$0)
Eyes: TSYI Light Me Eyes – Light Blue (L$0)
Hair: LeLutka Group Gift – Sheena (L$0)
Dress: [AB] Good Life Dress (L$0, no longer available)
Jeans: LARRY Jeans Dollarbie Pack (L$1)
Shoes: Daisy Shop Mesh Ankle Boots in 8 Colors – Dark Set (L$0)
Coming back into Second Life, I found many noticeable changes to the virtual world, but one struck me as particularly perplexing: that even after so many years, merchants have yet to settle on a single, unified method of delivering purchases to their customers. Back in the day, a resident could expect a virtual item purchased in-world to be delivered to their inventory in a folder, with its contents neatly organized and ready to be worn or otherwise utilized. But with the rise of the Marketplace and ongoing issues with SL’s asset delivery servers, it seems that receiving your purchases in boxed “object” format is now the status quo.
This is excellent in theory; surely it helps to cut down on incomplete item deliveries and gives members the option of storing the unopened box as a back-up in case they lose or mistakenly delete the item later on, or any other issue goes awry. But it also means that these boxes have to be opened, and that’s where the confusion kicks in. Not only do most new members have no guidance when it comes to utilizing boxed items, but merchants may use a variety of methods when it comes to the rezzing or unboxing of their virtual goods:
- Some items can be attached (essentially “worn”) on your avatar, whereupon you’ll sometimes may a prompt asking if a script can animate you. Whether you allow the animation or not, the item may unbox itself and go into your inventory directly, or you may have to touch it to activate the item delivery.
- Other boxed items may not open if attached; these need to be dragged from your inventory and “rezzed” (placed on the ground) in order to be opened. Once again, some of these items are scripted to deliver their contents immediately after being rezzed. Others need to be touched with a single left mouse click to activate.
- There’s yet another variation of boxes that don’t have any kind of auto-open functionality. For these parcels, you need to rez them on the ground, right-click on them, choose Open in the resulting menu, and click Copy to Inventory.
- Finally, a new trend seems to be the delivery HUD. This means that instead of receiving the goods directly after purchase, the customer receives a HUD to “wear”. Once attached, it appears on your screen, you click on it to request delivery, and then the item arrives (generally unpacked into a folder) inside your inventory. Whew!
I’m genuinely amazed that new users don’t wind up overwhelmed with confusion when it comes to receiving and opening their purchases, freebies, group gifts, etc. Because to top off the fact that the customer rarely knows which method of unboxing is going to be required, if they discover that their purchase must be rezzed to be opened, they now have to find a place which will allow them to do so. Holy frustrations, Batman!
Thankfully, there’s a fairly good article on the official Second Life wiki which offers some guidance on unboxing and even provides a couple of video tutorials, but per usual they’re several years out of date by now. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I happened to see this question pop up in the Answers section of the Second Life Community portal:
This particular member’s interest was in building, but sandboxes are very commonly used for rezzing purchases, particularly by new members. Senior Helper Rolig Loon offered these helpful suggestions:
The best places to build, in order of decreasing desirability, are
1. Your own land
2. A friend’s land
3. A group’s land (assuming that you are a member and have building permision)
4. A Premium sandbox (these are all griefer-free and usually very quiet, but you have to be a Premium member)
5. Sandboxes at managed building areas, like Caledon Oxbridge University or NCI or Builder’s Brewery
6. The beta (Aditi grid)
7. An unpopular sandbox (look way down at the bottom of the list on Search for “sandbox” and avoid any place that says “weapons”)
Option #5 was intriguing to me; I was surprised (though in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been) to learn that some of the leading newbie-friendly areas in Second Life offered temporary rezzing to visitors. These areas would most certainly would be more desirable options than any old (potentially griefer-addled) sandbox. And following my freebie & group gift extravaganza the other day, I had nearly 200 parcels in my inventory that craved immediate opening. So off I went to investigate!
Stay tuned for Part II (Electric Boogaloo?): The Newbie Guide to Sandboxes in Second Life.
While Ever the Avie toils at the Learning Island portal, I thought I’d hop right in with some tips I’ve picked up over the years through my own trial-and-error and a considerable amount of Googling my way through SL forums and blogs. I love knowing how to Do Stuff Better, and with a venue as massive in scope as Second Life, there’s always a lot to learn and discover. While first and foremost on a new member’s to-do list should be learning to use their SL viewer of choice and the in-world controls, I’d say that mastering the Second Life Marketplace would be a helpful next step. With only a dozen or so default avatars to choose from when one starts a brand new account, it’s all too easy to run into someone (or several someones) struttin’ around with your exact likeness. What’s the fun in that?
Kat wrote an interesting post the other day about her experience with helping a friend start a new Second Life account, and remarked about how frustrating the endeavor can be. She asked if anyone knew of some Second Life Marketplace search tips that could help her narrow down inexpensive options to help outfit a new account, and the question was right up my alley. Ever since I discovered the MP, I’ve been looking for ways to hack the search results to be more specific and targeted, and while its interface and capabilities leave a lot to be desired, there are a few ways to make Marketplace searches more fruitful:
NOT / AND Search Parameters
One of the biggest frustrations in searching for Second Life Marketplace freebies and cheapies is that you’ll virtually always end up with search results peppered with demos. And this is understandable, since the majority of SL merchants offer demo versions of their products free of charge (asking even L$1 for a demo grinds my gears, but that’s a topic for another day!) Still, it’s commonplace for sellers to occasionally offer gifts, brand promos, and incentives on the MP for little-to-no cost, so what’s the best way to find these gems and keep the demo listings from cluttering your results?
Use “NOT demo” in your searches! Here’s an example: let’s say you’re looking for completely free, non-demo hairstyles. You would visit https://marketplace.secondlife.com and do the following:
1. Type hair NOT demo into the search box. The word “NOT” needs to be capitalized for the search limiter to work properly. Then click Search.
2. Because “hair” is a pretty broad search term, we want to narrow down the field a bit. The MP categorizes hair under Avatar Accessories / Hair so that’s the category we want to refine our search to.
3. Now we’re seeing lots of non-demo hair, but the prices are all over the place. So to only view truly free hairstyles, enter two zeros into the empty boxes under Price in the left column, and click Refine Search.
4. From 98,000+ results to just over 300, hell yeah! If all went properly, here’s what the end result will look like. I’ve gone the extra step to set the Items Per Page count to 96 (the highest value), and the Sort By field to Best Selling. Other good options are Age: Newest and Rating: High to Low.
If you’re willing to spend a certain number of Lindens on the items you’re searching, you can always expand the Price limiter by typing different values in the boxes, or by using one of the preset ranges like L$0 – L$10. However I do want to point out that unfortunately you cannot run a “NOT demo” search without an initial keyword. Meaning, it’s presently not possible to navigate to the Hair section and just search “NOT demo” and find all of the non-demo hairs; the Marketplace will instead return “No matching items found”. A bummer, I know! I’ve tried different wildcards in the search string, but thus far I’ve only found that the MP will recognize limited boolean operators. (Kindly excuse the geek-speak.) If anyone has been able to get a wildcard-based search to work, I would love to know about it!
One more thing to note: some savvy (read: shady) Marketplace merchants have figured a way around the “NOT demo” search parameter by putting varietals like D*E*M*O in their listing titles. It’s obnoxious, but thankfully somewhat rare. Until/if Linden Labs lets us completely bypass listings marked as demos, it’s an annoyance we have to deal with. Just do those folks a favor and don’t buy their products. That will send the message loud and clear!
The “AND” expression is another way to curate specific results. Let’s say you’re looking for a pair of jeans, but you only want to see mesh options – no system layers, no appliers. You can search for “jeans AND mesh” and the Marketplace will narrow the search to only show you listings with both of those words in the title. You can combine this trick with quotes as well; “leather pants” AND mesh will return only products with the phrase “leather pants” and the word “mesh” in the listings.
Sometimes you’ll get outliers in your search results with these tricks, and I believe it may have to do with the search function using the listing’s description in addition to the title to parse results. But ultimately you’ll still get more targeted results with NOT or AND than you would without them.
I hope this is helpful! I’ll post more fancy tricks soon; for now I’ve got a shopping cart full of freebies and a newbie in desperate need of a makeover. Stay tuned to see if I ever get off this dang island! :)