Tools and stuff

Although I've often been amused by reading them I've never really been motivated to contribute to Strawberry Singh's Monday Memes thing. The reason is, mostly, time and the simple fact that they're normally on subjects that I don't have much to contribute to (or if I do I'd want to spend way too much time on it).

However, via Inara Pey's entry, I realised that this was one that's close to my heart and that I'd have some fun with it. So, here goes... (warning, there's a lot of self-made stuff here -- this isn't an attempt at self-promotion, it's just that I'm a programmer by trade and we have a horrible habit of reinventing wheels when faced with a problem because.... well, it's fun)

First off, here's my usual viewer view of the world:

As you can see, I run Firestorm. On my main machine I use the last stable version and on my laptop I have the beta (I've not upgraded the main machine due to a rather annoying bug that impacts on one aspect of RLV). While I have a good number of other viewers installed for testing purposes Firestorm is my work environment of choice.

I try and keep it as uncluttered as I possibly can. When I'm busy it's normally covered with an inventory window or two, a build floater, the conversation window and more often than not one or more script editor windows. But when I'm wandering around I try and keep the view nice and clean.

I only have the following HUDs on all the time. First there's my Sub-Allowance HUD:

I guess this should be considered less a tool for me and more a tool for Miss Vila. The same can be said of the Submission HUD:

Both of those are locked in place and can't be removed. So, leaving RLV HUDs aside (well, there's one more to come, sort of), the only other two HUDs I use a lot are as follows: first there's the OpenCollar Submissive AO...

Although Firestorm has a builtin AO, which actually works really well (I use it with great effect on a different avatar), I like that the OC AO has tight integration with the OC collar (my collar is scripted with OC).

Finally, to help stop the non-locked HUDs being knocked off during outfit changes, I have my HUD Locker:

And that's pretty much it when it comes to tools that are HUDs. Given that a lot of my in-world time is either time spent with Miss Vila or time spent working in the workshop I don't have much need for anything else. My other useful tools are all about knowing what's going on in-world and knowing the state of our region.

So, this is where I wander away from the viewer-oriented stuff and talk more about how I try and stay informed about what's going on. One really important tool, for me, is the Linden Lab grid status blog. There's two really important and useful things on there. The first is the calendar of scheduled server releases:

I use Google Calendar (on the desktop, on my phone, on my tablet) so I subscribe to the above. That way there's absolutely no reason why I should ever need to guess about when any restart is scheduled. All too often I see people in various build groups making guesses about it when this information is really easy to get at and, with almost no effort, can be with you all the time.

The other important information on that blog is, of course, the status information itself. While we all know that it can, on occasion, be a little misleading, or a little late, it's still important to know what's going on and to stay informed. To this end I've got a couple of things in place. The first is I've got this script I (re)wrote a while back sat in a prim in the workshop. The moment something changes on the blog's RSS feed I get an IM to let me know.

But I've also gone one step further. I'm a fairly avid user of ifttt so I've got this set up:

This is an ifttt recipe that, when something new shows up on the grid status RSS feed, it sends a push notification to all my mobile devices (they're all Android in my case) using Pushover. This in turn has my phone or tablet make a nice loud "bong" sound to let me know that something happening (and, of course, it also sends the text of the status entry so I can read it too).

Another vital tool is the region restart notifier that I wrote some time ago. I have this in a prim in the workshop so that I can know when our region has come back from any restart. In fact I normally have a copy of this, in some form, in mall locations I have too. That way I can know that a mall has had a restart in case I want to double-check that the vendor boards have come back online (something that's never been a problem since I switched to CasperVend -- but that's another blog entry for the future, I guess). It's not uncommon for me to know (and announce in their group) that a region has come back from restart before the person who kicked off the restart knows. ;)

There's also one more vital thing I rely on heavily. It's actually a viewer thing. It's also a thing that confuses me about many other people. It's to do with this:

Given the gadgets and stuff I have in-world to keep me informed about what's going on this is a common occurrence. It's a common occurrence for anyone with a non-trivial involvement in-world, I imagine. But rather than announce this fact in my profile and use the usual "so send a notecard" line I do this: I have IMs go to email. It's that simple. No messing with notecards and instructions on how to get them to me (the one that never ceases to amaze me is when people say "send me a notecard if I'm offline" and then they hide their online status from people who aren't on their contact list). Just.... send an IM, as you normally would.

The best part about it is that I can reply. Email -> IM replies are so damn handy. I can reply to people and help them out without even being near a computer, I just reply via email on my phone.

And that's pretty much it. Aside from all the usual build tools (Photoshop, Qavimator, etc...) and the backup regime I have (that's another long blog post if that was to happen) they're my most-used and most-useful tools that relate to SL.


  1. Really happy to see you join the memes. Thank you for sharing you screen and huds with us. I like that idea of the grid status on my google calendar, never thought of that but great idea!

    1. Thanks for the welcome. It was a fun one to have a go at (even if I did end up going a little off-piste). Glad the calendar suggestion was useful.