Friday, March 01, 2013

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New Second Life Communications: Not Sure It Will Improve SL Communication, But I'd Sure Love to See It In Skype

Linden Lab recently unveiled a New Communications Hub (tutorial video above), which merges Second Life's many communication channels (in-world text chat, IM, voice, group chat, etc.) into a single menu. I'm pretty skeptical it will improve day-to-day communication on a fundamental level; this isn't necessarily the fault of the Hub, but a problem with having to juggle so many options already. It's probably one very large reason why most Second Life users hardly leave their log-in point -- they're too busy chatting, IM-ing, voice calling, etc. with their existing contacts to actually explore the world, and going to a new location will only mean another group of people to communicate with at the same time.

That said, there is a place I think the Second Life Communications Hub would work great:

Inside Skype. Seriously. I use Skype for work on a regular basis now, and I'm often overwhelmed by group calls and person-to-person calls while also trying to conduct live text chat with other Skype users. (It's difficult enough without having to also manage a whole virtual world experience at the same time.) Linden Lab used to brag that Second Life rivaled Skype itself for communication, but maybe that just helps suggest a different opportunity for Linden Lab: Start selling SL communication tools to Skype or other competing platforms.

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Skylar Smythe

That looks promising. Agree about your point of interface being "too sophisticated" for the average bear / amateur gamer.

Fingers crossed they continue to work on things that appeal to a larger market.

Skylar

Orca Flotta

Looks promising for people who want/need it for their type of SLing. I didn't watch the vid but I guess nobody's forced to use all those communication channels all the time all at the same time. If I want my peace and quiet when I work on a notecard or when I'm scouting a new course or exploring sims and am not really game for chatting I just tell whoever contacts me to please bugger off. Any IM popping up during a race I'll kill immediately. The roundabout 200 avies in my friendslist know that I'm a unfriendly bitch so they'll understand :)

Never use voice anyway, so there: problem solved.

PS: Orca's neither a bear nor a gamer in any way, be it amateur or professional. All SL residents are by definition amateurs anyway, except maybe for the small handful of guys who made SL their main breadwinning job. And that interface isn't too sophisticated (in fact nothing LL have ever thrown at us is even vaguely sophisticated) but maybe just too nervewrecking and uncalled for. Same as Skylar's arrogant and wrong comment.

Archangel Mortenwold

I still use Phoenix or Singularity. The communications in the V2-V3 interface are essentially unworkable, as you can't figure out how to open or close the chat boxes.

Adeon Writer

Nice to see they're still working on it, but I will continue using V1... Just so fewer clicks to do what I want.

But agreed on the Skype point; it has to be the worst chatting UI I've ever dealt with. I can't imagine needing to do actual work using it. (There are many far superior third party Skype chat clients, though. I recommend Trillian, it can still do calls and chat, but no video)

Kei Mars

This is basically Skype in SL though, no? Having no friends, it won't be much use to me :)

Torley could sell me anything though. What a great voice

Orca Flotta

Archangel wrote:
I still use Phoenix or Singularity. The communications in the V2-V3 interface are essentially unworkable, as you can't figure out how to open or close the chat boxes.
---------------------

Zacly! When I watched the vid (did it afterall) I thought all the time we had that functionlity already. Years ago! For years we had a simple elegant com box until LL came up with that still-born V2. Now they are fixing something that was broken in V2 but - as typical for LL - the result is clunky and overly complicated. Have you seen how fast Torley managed to waste all the screen space with something as simple as a communication center? And trying to sell us the one-box-com system as something totally new and a great idea is audacious.
For that reason I loved Phoenix and FS in Phoenix mode and now the much more elegant and faster Singularity.

CronoCloud Creeggan

@archangel

What, you didn't see the little X's that are obviously close buttons in the corner of IM windows?

@Orca
an
Torley was intentionally making things bigger and using what appeared to be the largest chat text size so that they were easier to see in the video. The CHUI is resizable. Still needs a few tweaks, for example if you separate out local chat, you can't see IM's or group chats if you have the local chat selected (it shows a (bring this window back notice in the main CHUI)and I'd rather have the menu buttons have words rather than buttons.

Also it's not really a proper Torley video unless he says "Friendly Greetings" at the beginning of the video.

2013

Honestly, another function that doesn't need work. I don't know anyone that uses in world voice chat, everyone of my friends already uses skype. LL voice chat has never worked with any consistency since I joined SL.

Archangel Mortenwold

No, CronoCloud, I didn't. Nor could I figure out how to close or open the chat box to actually read messages. Say what you will about the V1 interface, but at least with that there is no guesswork involved, no requirement to spend hours of class time just to learn how to do something in fifteen or twenty clicks what should only take and does take only one on a V1 interface. This is why I prefer Phoenix, Cool VL, and Singularity over anything else.

Also, the V2-V3 virwer clones are resource hogs with much lower frame rates and that crash frequently. Again, this almost never happens on viewers that utilize the V1 interface. I chalk that up to better programming by more talented people than, say, the lying elitists who produce Firestorm.

Adeon Writer

I think even Linden employees deep down know that V1 was a far superior interface, it's just that there's been too much work put into V2 and V3 now that rolling back now would look bad.

John "Pathfinder" Lester

Hamlet, I think you nailed it. Integrating with Skype would be brilliant.

A young boy asked the wise fisherman,

"You catch more fish than anyone else in the village. What is your secret?"

He replied,

"I fish where the fish live."

John "Pathfinder" Lester

Hamlet, I think you nailed it. Integrating with Skype would be brilliant.

A young boy once asked a wise fisherman,

"You catch more fish than anyone else in the village. What is your secret?"

The wise fisherman smiled and replied,

"I fish where the fish live."

John "Pathfinder" Lester

Ack. Double post. My apologies.

drfran

I think the new Hub works great. I use all the communication types in SL, and this consolidates things nicely, and gets rid of the chiclets that were locked to the top left of my screen, preventing me from using it for anything other than seeing who was chatting.I like the flashing orange that shows when someone has typped, and the accessiblity of chat transcripts right in the viewer!

A little OT: The new Beta Viewer, used to access the new Hub, seems to have an inventory problem. My inventory went blank a few times, would not search, and I had to log out and relog with a different viewer to find things I thought were lost. Guess I should file a Jira...or go to office hours.

CronoCloud Creeggan

@dr fran

Yes, I've noticed the inventory problems in Snowstorm dev builds with the CHUI. You can get inventory back by clearing inventory search and hitting return in the inventory search box a couple of times. And yes you have to fully get the inventory listed back before you can inventory search again, it's a bug but you don't actually "lose" inventory, it's just the display of inventory not working properly.

I hadn't started a JIRA because I hadn't seen mention of anyone else having the inventory bugs.

Ajax Manatiso

SL keeps trying to re-invent the wheel when they had it right in the first place. If they were a car manufacturer they would want to put the steering wheel somewhere else. I'll continue to use the vastly superior and intuitive Singularity while the rest try to relearn everything with every knew fandangled version LL comes up with.

Orca Flotta

Oh Ajax you inflexible handbrake to evolution. Shame on you!
Can't you see that a steering wheel in the boot of your car is so much betterer and more comfortablerer? You can reach your beer supplies like super easy now. What? You don't drink and drive, just driving is good enough for you? And you can't easily operate the ignition from the boot? Hang on, you wanna tell me you're using your car to actually drive in it? That's useless like logging into SL.

Oh my, you technocommie. Lighten up and laugh with us! You must be a bitter character if you take your driving so seriously.

Shockwave Yareach

Dr. Fran

Something is amiss with Inventory overall. It's not just your beta viewer. My laptop and my desktops are having intermittent issues with Inventory, and I'm running the current LL viewer of V3 on everything.

And you folks saying the Linden viewer performs poorly, the latest V3 gives me double digit FPS with 12 avatars around in a club, on a poor little 1.6Ghz dualcore Turian (ugh!) laptop. If you like what you use, great. But saying the V3viewer performs poorly doesn't match what I experience. My machine couldn't run pheonix, but runs V3 just fine. (And no, I don't know why Pheonix wouldn't work on my rig.)

ZZ Bottom

V1 viewers dont have media on a prim and that makes a lot of a difference!
Sadly LL works this way, it makes a good improvment and then screws it uttertly!
See latest rollout and the cross sims bugs back again fully and a lot more new ones!

val kendal

I'm not lying, I had to stop and think if it was April 1st, because this video seemed exactly like what you would make if you said 'hey, let's make a hoax video about LL taking something that should be easy and making it ridiculously complicated...' may the Sl gods help those poor newbs...

ZZ Bottom

They don't want newbies, they don't want old users, they want to get ride of Second Life!
LL wants to lanch a new, political and moral acceptable platform!
Second Life is not, despite all the amazing that it delivers, a good business card to the eyes of the new LL Ceo!

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