Saturday, August 10, 2013

Back from the Wilderness! (Part IV) - I Return to Second Life

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.

Henry David Thoreau  

          Those of you who have been following my blog for a while probably remember last year when my hard drive crashed and I went into the Wilderness for a few weeks.  I wrote about Second Life from the perspective of being on the outside among its Diaspora.  (Think of an Edward Snowden who’s not being looked for by the FBI and US drones.)  Eventually, I replaced my machine and came back in from the Wilderness. 
          Well, you know how it is, last week I was sitting there happy about recovering from my loss of Internet access (Significant Other says I was being smug.) and wham-o, my replacement machine goes on the blink. 
          Once again, I’m back to where I was eighteen months ago with the only machine available to me with a SL viewer was down for the count and sitting in a repair shop.  What to do?
          Fortunately, I had already done my inworld research for my latest story about attending a Tarot reading inworld.  But, how to stay in touch inworld with friends and distribute my story’s link was my problem. 
 was not a satisfactory solution because it’s not interactive enough for me.  I needed something better.
          Just before my latest incident, I’d made a new friend inworld.  Her name is Lilly Marie.  We met in Utopia Naked Isle Resort after I’d written my story about the sim.  I went back to follow-up on the sim’s progress and meet some friends.  I’d noticed this gray avatar with a female form hanging around the dance floor.  Someone told me that she was unable to use a PC and was using a phone to access SL. 
          Always one for a potential story, I introduced myself to Lilly and learned her story.   Her PC had broken and she wouldn’t be able to replace it for a while but had wanted to stay in touch with her SL friends.  She had come across an app for her smartphone and used it.  The solution wasn’t perfect.  (She was just a gray avatar surrounded by nudists after all.)  She could only use text, couldn’t interact with anything or anyone, and using the phone’s keyboard slowed things down a lot.  But, Lilly was with her friends and they tried to compensate for her difficulties by including her in conversations.  (Another example of how SL communities try to help their members.) 
          I filed this piece of information away in my mind (Yes, I do have one.) and didn’t much of it.  That is until I found myself in similar straits. 
          Since I use an iPhone 5 in Real Life (RL), I checked the App Store and came across an app called Pocket Metaverse Pro.  The price was only $4.99US, so I figured let’s go for it. 
          I purchased the app and downloaded the app.  I then proceeded to try to log in.  This is when I learned about the vagaries of SL names.  Unfortunately, the app didn’t come with directions.  (Or, if it did, I haven’t discovered them yet.)  After about half a dozen tries, I was back in SL. 
          I was able to communicate with friends more easily than with  Multiple chats are hard as with my large fingers I struggle with the keyboard.  Movement is awkward.  This may be a poor analogy but I couldn’t help but think this is what it is like to be blind in RL. 
          According to the user feedback on the product’s website, it’s not being kept current and some functionality that had existed in previous editions no longer works.  I suspect the falling off of the developers’ interest parallels the plateauing of SL interest in RL.  But I was back in albeit with limitations. 
          Meanwhile, my machine was repaired and returned to me yesterday.  I got back inworld the old fashioned way.  This has me thinking.  Accessing SL is difficult.  Since its inception over ten years ago technology (e.g., smart phones, tablets, etc.) has moved forward but SL is pretty much where it started from a technical perspective.  This isn’t sustainable. 
          The smart app I purchased has its uses but it’s not a panacea.  Anyone looking for a mobile solution and is willing to live with its limitations should take a look. 
          But, I’m back!  (I’m sure that’s going to send everyone scurrying away.)  I have to sort out my schedule and catch up on a few things I fell behind on.  See you around the Grid! 
          I’d like to thank Lilly Marie for her recommendation and wish her the best in coming back soon to SL. 
As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here. 

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