31. July 2008 · Comments Off on Those pesky links! · Categories: My personal learning journey, Script

A quick, handy how-to for Windows users.

Ever have someone send you a link via email and you copy and paste it into a browser and then can’t figure out how to download the thing?

Notepad to the rescue – (da-dada-daaaah)!

  • Open notepad
  • Create html linked text – <a href=”linkurl”>download this</a>
  • Save the text doc as a .html doc (select all files in the drop down, add the file extension manually).
  • Open the html doc – it will open in your default browser
  • Right click on the linked words (download this in this example) and save

This handy tip courtesy of my brilliant husband.  Yay!

When you first start driving a car, you very conscisouly went through self-talk to ensure you were doing it all right.  Seatbelt on, mirrors adjusted, look in all mirrors, reverse, angle wheels so don’t bottom out the car, straighten wheels, put in drive, signal, move into traffic flow… There’s often no time to enjoy the scenery when you’re a new driver because you are focused on staying on the road.

With experience, that self talk speeds up and becomes less of a consious effort.  You can blast the radio, drink a bottle of water and enjoy the view without danger of going off the road.

So how can you accelerate that process for newcomers to online environments?
My new build

I’m working on a landing pad for newcomers to Second LIfe as part of my work with education.au and as a learning journey for myself as a trainer and learning object creator.  So I’m going to use my social network and put out an appeal to you:

Please leave a comment on this post sharing your top 3, 5 or 10 second life tips/discoveries that really flicked on a lightbulb for you or helped you flick onto auto pilot. I’ll incorporate the top 10 into postcards/slides for newcomers to look at and learn from.

Here are mine:

1) Use the arrow keys in conjunction with the mouse for smoother movement.

2) Play with gestures and assign hot keys to your favourites.

3) Use Page down for smoother landings.

4) Alt + arrow keys give better camera control.

5) CTL ALT D opens advanced menu options.

6) Torley Linden’s video tutorials ROCK

7) Use Make Outfit in Appearance menu to save favourite looks in folders

8) Use CTL Shift Y to turn on the sun

9) Use CTL Shift H to teleport Home if in an uncomfortable situation

10) Use Instant Messaging IM/Call button to talk privately or leave messages for friends not in-world

Those who know me know that I have a cynical attitude towards hype in general and Apple hype in particular. So the iPhone hype and stories of people waiting in line for days have caused me to retreat from many social networking sites and RSS feeds until the storm dies down.

I am not a MS or PC defender – I hate Vista with a burning hot passion because I think it’s rude that a multi-billion dollar company has made millions of innocent consumers its unpaid beta testers. I shudder for the less tech savvy who trust MS to update their graphics drivers only to be knocked back to SVGA from 3 years ago (as happened to me recently) and making the road back to 2008 video drivers a bloody nightmare.

I also hate QuickTime with a manic passion.  I pay for software because I assume it works.  Both on Vista and on hubby’s XP system, QuickTime is buggy, crashes and doesn’t do what it said it could. For a product that should be luring me over to the Apple side, it is one hell of a warning sign.

The iPhone, like the Blackberry has had its praises sung for so long — it seemed like it could offer me a compelling reason to cross over and take a bit from the Apple. I was tempted, I’ll admit — but then, as I reached up to pluck the shiny apple — a few worms emerged:

Do you want choice in software? You can’t have it.

First up, despite its hip image, Apple’s attitudes towards open source software make the RIAA look warm and fuzzy. Thanks to the wondeful Chris Harvey for bringing this to my attention.


Did you want to update and use your iphone right away? You can’t.

After all the hype, can Apple honestly been caught by surprise when it came to it’s major service fail this weekend?


Do you want to pay more for the same data plans as the unenlightened?

Finally, I have to ask  -why would I pay MORE to do the stuff I can do NOW on my Nokia N95? And what’s with this Apple tax?


And speaking of paying money for devices and having your choices made for you – think twice before buying Dell and Lenovo laptops or make sure to confirm that stereo mix is an option before you buy.

Disabling an inherent function like stereo mix without warning – the ability to record what you hear on your computer, a function which many machinimists and educational video producers legitimately need to produce materials –  is just plain WRONG.  http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/dell_colludes_with_riaa_disables_stereo_mix_without_forewarning

Maybe we as consumers need to harness the power of social networks to produce the products and services we want?

Mark Pesce’s idea for FAUC – a community-owned mobile services provider to inject some much-needed competition into the Australian marketplace is an intriguing option.

Perhaps we could all chip in to have a laptop of our choice built for us too?

12. July 2008 · Comments Off on The geek week that was · Categories: My personal learning journey, Second Life, Technologies

For 7 days Paul and I had a mission – to play with the technologies that most intrigued and entertained us, to give ourselves up to all that was geek, to exhale and to enjoy.

My geek week was largely spent in Second Life, learning some bits about building and scripting, exploring some exemplars in communication and presentations, learning how to use a different type of input device and trying out new moves in machinima.

A project in machinima really made the difference to my learning this week — I perform best when under pressure and when putting together a project for someone you both like and admire, you give it extra effort.

I also mixed my first piece of music this week.  Having only ever written one song in my life (no lyrics), I found my bliss in choosing just the right music and rhythms and blending them into a soundtrack for the machinima I edited together (I’ll provide a link in a future post, as soon as the client has okayed it).

It was wonderful not to feel guilty for doing things I love to do — and I hope that I can take that frame of mind back to my every day life.  Carve out time for work, play, learning and excercise and life has balance.

Which is why my chosen photo for my geek week wrap is one that has nothing to do with computers (although it is high-tech in a way).  On Friday we spent the day with my nephew and brother in law, both of whom I think are wonderful.  We had such a great time – hanging out in the morning, then experiencing our first outing to a circus.

Tomorrow is about getting ready for the new work week (sigh), but we are finishing geek week having had some great conversations about future projects we can work on together, encouraging each other with our endeavors and happy that we’ve had a holiday that not only yielded R & R, but some learning and exploration too.

10. July 2008 · Comments Off on Google Lively – browser-based chat goes 3-D · Categories: Second Life, Technologies, Web sites · Tags:

Being the Second Life officianado I am, I was looking forward to trying out Google Lively – http://www.lively.com.  Everyone seems to be looking for the “SL killer” — so I wondered, was this it?

I was able to create an account fairly easily and within minutes was styling my new avatar. Hairstyle, haircolour, and a few different outfits to get me started.  Next, off to look at the popular “rooms”.  One I went into had a YouTube video playing.  Over and over and over.  The quality was great.  The repetition and volume made me want to scream. And the dance animation wouldn’t turn off.

The next room I visited had a winter theme with sound effects.  It was really nice – until a male avatar started punching a female avatar repeatedly while laughing.  I left.

Two more rooms and people much like myself wandering around getting a feel for the interface.  Some Second Lifers, some World of Warcraft gamers — all with a wait and see attitude, but thinking it was more of a lightweight chatroom interface.

The last room I visited reminded me of the ewok tree city in the third Star Wars (or is it the 6th?). The people there were saying they felt Lively had elements of the Sims (in terms of the controls), Everquest and World of Warcraft in terms of looks — but didn’t seem to offer that much to actually interact with or to have a clear purpose.

At this point I don’t think this is a Second Life replacement.  For me it lacks control — in Lively, the automatic animations like my avatar screeching Hi-yeee when I type the word Hi or laughing hysterically when I type LOL (see video) really irritated me. The range of avatars and styles was annoying for me – a cartoon piggy, a realistic woman, a stereotyped 1970s fro-wearing dude – they seemed out of place and made the experience jarring for me.  I haven’t tried building as yet so don’t know if I can build or just pick pre-built items from inventory.

I’ve never been a chat room fan – the lack of control over whom I have to interact with has always turned me off, so don’t see where making it 3-D makes it better.  If that’s all Second Life were to me, I wouldn’t have gotten involved.

So, I’ve got an avatar, I might create a room — but don’t think I’ll invest a lot more time in Lively just yet.

Here is the short video I spliced together from the last room I visited: