From gardening to punishment

Mistress and I spent a little bit of time in-world together earlier today. To start with we did a little bit of gardening. We'd recently purchased a rather nice fountain for her garden and it needed dressing up.

On top of the tweaks I'd made to it (sadly having to remove the splash particle effects as they were looking horrible to both of us in the latest Firestorm, and also removing a bunch of scripts that did nothing useful and just used region resources -- curiously no water sounds were included to make the scripts worth having, so I still need to add that myself) she felt it needed something to soften the edge. In the end she placed a few plants around it and that really did the trick.

After a brief (and aborted) attempt to see if the copper version of the fountain would work in the hallway of the Mansion (it didn't) Miss Vila announced that she was going to get her revenge for the previous game of En Garde.

That didn't quite go according to plan. Well, not to Mistress' plan anyway. ;)

I went on from that lead to win the game. Thankfully for me it was getting rather late for Mistress so there was no time for her to go for a "best of three".

This weekend is a weekend where there's little chance that we'll see each other so, to be on the safe side, I requested that I get a top-up for my walk allowance -- all other allowances being okay until at least Monday. Mistress was happy to oblige, and even happier when the payment handed out by the Punishment Picker was 5 hours locked in the Punishment Log.

I now face 5 hours of in-world time unable to fly or run and with touch reduced to only objects within 1.5m of me. That means editing things is a challenge and I have to get nose up to anything I want to interact with.

I'll have to chose the things I work on in-world wisely.


Staked out again!

Mistress is now convinced that I've tampered with her punishment picker.

After being staked out for 3 hours yesterday, in payment for the top-up I had a couple of days earlier, I'd caught up with my allowance debt. Only, I was getting low on teleports. After popping out and paying rent at a mall earlier today I only had 2 left, and I'll need to TP around the grid a little later on today when I make some new releases. So I had to ask Mistress for a top-up. And a touch of the book delivered: "Be staked out naked for 1 hour".

I laughed.

She eyed me suspiciously and muttered something about being sure I'd tampered with the book. Of course, it's not actually three similar punishments in a row because there was the small matter of being locked on my knees for a day that came after the last two staked outs were picked (I'm sure that just slipped Miss Vila's mind). And I did a test touch for her that came up with something very different.

She's still not convinced though.

Anyway, I was stripped, leashed and dragged over to the other side of Raven Park again, and locked staked out:

At which point Mistress decided that some variety was needed, so she adjusted my chains, resulting in this:

That was when she let out one of her cute evil chuckles, rummaged in her inventory, and left me like this:

Protesting that I suffer from hay fever got me nowhere.


En Garde then staked out

Earlier today Miss Vila and I met in-world to deal with a couple of things and then she challenged me to a quick game of En Garde.

How could I resist? Mistress stormed ahead, causing me to be stripped by the RLV add-on pretty quickly, but I managed to pull the game back and actually won! I've been told a rematch is on the cards very soon (it would have been there and then but both of us had to log out pretty quickly because of RL commitments).

Mistress, of course, had the last laugh, so to speak. Once the game ended she reminded me that I still had three hours staked out naked that I owed her. So, before we said goodnight, I was dragged to one side and locked like this:

Still, the view was pretty good. A different angle on the work we've recently done and hope to finally get finished next week some time.

As of now I'm caught up on my recent debt although, tomorrow, I'm going to need a top-up on teleports. I can only hope that the payment is another shorter-term one. Mistress seems to be hoping it'll be something much harsher and longer-term.


My new suit

For as long as I've existed in SL I've been after a good suit. A really good suit. I came close a couple of times in the pre-mesh era, and those couple of suits still get an outing, but I've never found a mesh one that's quite clicked with me.

Like many guys on the grid I've got the L&B tux. For me, it's okay, it's not bad, but it just doesn't sit right. I don't know if it's just down to my avatar's shape or something but the shoulders have always looked wrong. I think I look like I have a perma-shrug when wearing it. Also it always seems to have a bit of a "stiff cardboard" look about it.

This weekend gone Miss Vila and I were attending a wedding so a new suit was very much in order. I was dreading shopping for one given all of the above, until I stumbled on this suit from Zaara. I grabbed the demo, not holding out much hope, and was totally amazed. It sat just right. It looked like me in it. It was pretty much spot on.

The shoulders make sense, it looks like it's sat on me properly, and the textures are wonderful. Even better is the texture-change HUD that comes with a good selection of shirts and ties. (My only complaint here is that there appears to be no remove-script option in the HUD and the suit itself is no-mod -- I much prefer to create a texture combination and then kill scripts).

Combined with a pair of L&B dress shoes I think the whole thing works really well.

If the fatpack wasn't quite so expensive I'd have been very tempted to get it (not that I don't think it's worth the price -- I just don't have enough need for all those colours and wouldn't wear it quite so often enough to justify the cost). As it is I am very tempted to get at least one more colour, and I can see me wearing this as one of my outfits in heavy rotation.

When I'm allowed clothing, that is. ;)


Back in debt

The last few days have been fairly quiet for me in terms of restrictions. Ever since Miss Vila let me out of the 12 days in nothing but a chastity belt restriction I've been "free" of anything. Mostly this came about because I bit that "perfect spot" where all the allowances seem to have got in sync and nothing got too low.

Until this weekend.

Friday involved a fair bit of teleporting around the grid, doing some last minute shopping ready for Miss Eve and Paris' wedding the following day. On top of that, at the moment, I'm also on a talk allowance. Generally Mistress uses the renamer facility in my SubHUD which bypasses the chat tracker in my Sub-Allowance. However, she's recently decided that that's too easy and has turned it off, meaning that even talk is tracked now.

By Saturday morning I'd almost run out of teleports and talk so Mistress topped me up for both. Given that we had a wedding to go to I was ordered to make a note of the "payment", saving it for after the weekend. This is what I got:

Be staked out naked for 2 hours.
Be staked out naked for 1 hour.

This was, of course, much to Miss Vila's annoyance. Both the times and the fact that it picked the same thing twice. Apparently random isn't random enough if it randomly picks the same thing. ;)

Last night we had the Raven Park dance and, sadly, Mistress' machine decided to throw a funny in the last 10 minutes so she got kicked out and couldn't get back in-world. As (bad) luck would have it, just after we lost her, I ran out of talk allowance again (dances are pretty chatty affairs) and so lost the right to speak!

When she finally got in again, the following day, we met again in the Abbey and had that last dance, before popping off to do a quick bit of shopping for Raven Park before she went to bed.

Just before she went to bed though I needed another top-up for the talk I'd lost the night before. Which is why, right now, I'm well into spending a day like this:

And, of course, I've still got the 2 hours and 1 hour of staked out to pay off.


Day 12

Today Mistress and I got together to go over a couple of things. The first was to go over some outfit options for an event this weekend (not finished -- this'll likely carry on until Friday, you know how it is) and the second was to test a build I'm working on that'll end up going into the Raven Park Abbey.

Oh, and there was the small matter of the new DE release that I just had to treat her to!

And then, eventually, it was time for me to be unlocked from my chastity belt and to be permitted clothing for the first time in 12 days.

It actually feels rather odd to be in the position of being able to choose to wear clothing if I wish to. I think this might be the longest I've gone in this state so having the "freedom" to choose what to wear again feels... wrong. Even Mistress sounded a little disappointed. Obviously, if she'd decided not to unlock me that'd have been that but, really, I guess restrictions only really have an impact when they're not a constant and forever.

Of course, the Lab appeared to think it was wrong that I get dressed too; a little while after saying goodnight to Mistress I logged back in to find that my clothing wasn't downloading and that I was a cloud. The irony here is that I'd logged out completely naked, having decided that I wouldn't get dressed until later on. The reason was, of course, unscheduled inventory maintenance.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect.

Eventually I did manage to relog such that I had control over my outfits again...

...so I'm all good for the product photoshoot later today. Assuming that the grid doesn't decide to throw another funny.


Day 11

Today was day 11 of being allowed to wear nothing but a chastity belt. One more sleep and I'll be allowed to wear clothing again, which means I'll also be able to model for some product photos, which means I have a window in which I can get the photos done and the vendor boards made and everything ready to go into the shop before the inevitable need to top up another allowance...

I wonder how far into the week I'll make it before I'm inconvenienced for Miss Vila's pleasure and amusement again? I wonder if I'll look at my clothed self and miss the past week or so's enforced lack of clothing?

I know what Mistress' answer to that would be. ;)


A couple of hours in the dark...

Today Mistress and I did even more work on the area of the region around Z's house. What started as a case of "let's swap the sun deck for something a little nicer" has turned into a fairly large, and really fun, job.

That's almost a week of photos of Miss Vila in
the same outfit. This might get me in
trouble. She does have an extensive
wardrobe, honest. ;)

Today we went shopping for a swim system, so people can have a swim in the bay (somehow we found one that actually optionally uses RLV too -- never expected that!), as well as a new set of off-sim rocks to finish off the corner behind Z's house.

It's really starting to come together. There's a couple more things we want to do and it should all be done (at which point I'll probably write it all up properly on the Z&A blog).

Of course, all this bouncing around the grid, looking at things and testing things, meant that I ended up needing a top-up for my TP and walk allowances. Which in turn ended up with me being gagged and locked in the contact lenses, with the highest darkness level, for 2 hours.

Mistress chose the candle gag so I'd have some light. Isn't she sweet? ;)

Editor font size in Firestorm 4.6.1

Yesterday, after I'd got all the business of a new product release out of the way, I decided to upgrade my copy of Firestorm. I'd being sticking with 4.4.2 because of a rather nasty bug in 4.5.1 that broke quite a few RLV toys and gadgets, including a couple I use a lot. Having tested 4.6.1 on a different machine to be sure that this issue had been fixed I knew it was mostly safe to make the switch (I could always go back if I hit a show-stopper).

The upgrade went pretty smoothly (all the better for Firestorm's rather awesome settings backup and restore system) and, for the most part, there were no horrible surprises. One obvious difference I did see is that water seems more blue and more milky now, at least on the default windlight -- that's something I want to look into more as it looks a little odd. Other obvious differences pretty much came down to things being done differently in the new version (the texture tab in the build floater being very different, for obvious reasons).

However, one thing really stood out because it was such a stark difference and because it's something I use a lot: the font in the script editor seemed so much smaller and so less readable. The editor's dialog has no setting for this, and neither does the general preferences. Kind of annoying.

A quick visit to Google later turned up this FS JIRA with a comment posted yesterday with a possible solution. Sure enough, a quick dabble in the fonts.xml file and an edit of the value for this:

later and I had a bigger script editor font. I still haven't found a size I'm delighted with, and the need to relog every time I want to try a new one is a bit of a pain, but I'm thankful that there is a way to change this. I'm sure I'll settle on a good size at some point soon.

It'd be great if this could be made a setting in the editor preferences.

Still processing

Just over a week ago I uploaded a snapshot to my.secondlife.com. It's not something I normally do, most of the time I forget that that's actually an option. Besides, if I'm sharing an image I'm more likely to do it on here, on imgur or on plurk.

But, I did it, 'cos I'd not done it for a while and decided to give it a try again. Ever since then I've had this at the top of my profile:

For over a week now. The snapshot is being processed. Even though it was processed and has long gone. Sure, there's a "X" to the right hand side that, if I hover over it, says it'll dismiss the notification. Doesn't do a thing though.

I've got the horrible feeling it'll be there for the rest of my second life.

Or I could try and upload another snapshot and see if that clears it. That'd be sensible...


Stalled logins

For the past week or so I seem to be having an occasional problem with logging into Second Life. What happens is I'll hit the login button and I'm left staring at something like this (in Firestorm, in this case):

And that's it. It just sits there, never failing, never progressing. At least, it never has for as long as I've left it. If I then hit the "Quit" button and log in again almost every single time it'll log me right in without a hitch. A couple of times I've had it do this twice in a row, and it doesn't seem to be just a Firestorm problem as I've had it happen with METAbolt once too.


Caught out by unbroken time

I guess this is kind of ironic given this post from the other day: last night I got caught out by the fact that the grid is now an hour adrift from me.

One of Miss Vila's uses of my Submission HUD is to impose a bedtime. While most nights I get to see her before I go to bed (timezones being what they are) sometimes RL commitments mean that isn't possible. Her way of ensuring that I don't stay up stupidly late tinkering with stuff in the workshop is to use the curfew facility. It's simple enough: if I'm not logged off before 2am local time (or, at the very least, logged in and inside my cell) I get force-teleported to my cell (which is set to auto-close with a random timer).

In SL time 2am here is 6pm on the grid. Except, that is, for the next three weeks starting Sunday gone. Because the grid is now an hour forward, and because the UK doesn't skip forward until the end of the month, 6pm is now 1am.

Before my bedtime last night Mistress and I got together to do some more work on the landscaping we've being doing. While I was slowed down a little in my help, I was able to. Everything was going fine and I was testing a toy I had out while Mistress tweaked a tree or two when.... *bam* I was in my cell. There was a moment of confusion while I tried to figure out what the hell was happing (and sniggering coming from the other end of the Skype call) and then it dawned on me: Mistress hadn't changed the curfew time in my SubHUD to reflect the difference mentioned above (or, if you like, I'd forgotten to respectfully request her to do so).

To make matters worse, under normal circumstances, even if curfew had kicked in I'd be safe because Miss Vila uses the "safe when your Domme is nearby" facility (the idea being, if you're with your dominant, you're likely out past your curfew with their permission). However, because of the spreader bar slowing me down (and the small matter of me having just finished testing the placement of the toy), I'd not managed to stay close enough to her.

Which, of course, meant Mistress gleefully kept pointing out I only had myself to blame.

So, this is me this morning...

Thankfully Mistress was kind enough to bump the curfew time forward an hour so it won't be an issue again. I will, however, have to remind her to pull it back an hour again in just under three weeks. The consequences of getting away with a 3am curfew because I've failed to remind her about it are something I don't care to experience...


On RLV restrictions

Two things have happened today that have got me thinking about RLV restrictions, what makes sense, what level of control makes sense and so on. I'll caution anyone reading this right now: this might be more of a ramble than something with direction and purpose.

The first thing that happened was, earlier today, I was reading through some of the SL blogs I follow (some kink-related, some general SL) and I stumbled on a review of an RLV product. The product itself was some sort of isolation suit, a rubber drone sort of thing -- the kind of thing that's not a million miles away from a bane suit and, if it had a male version, likely the sort of thing Miss Vila would approve of and add to the list of things she likes to lock on me (she does rather enjoy things that cover me and isolate me). The reviewer seemed to be rather bothered about the fact that, by default, when first locked, the product denied IMs.

That struck me as really rather odd. The review stated that this was an option and the restriction could be turned off but they seemed to think that it should be off by default. Given the nature of the product I'd be surprised if it was any other way than the way this product did it. Something that is about isolation and which, in RL, would heavily restrict your ability to communicate, really does suggest to me that the default restrictions are such that communication is made as difficult as possible.

This was my thinking when I made the Z&A Isolation Helmet, for example. The main reason someone would buy this, or a similar product, would be for the heavy RLV restrictions that are implied by heavy isolation and so, by my reasoning, denial of outgoing IMs, at the very least, is a sensible default.

Of course, it makes sense that as much as possible these things are optional, can be toggled and changed. For any given build there's very few restrictions that make sense as hard-wired. Examples I can think of are detach (for anything), local chat for gags, seeing emotes for a blindfold, etc... Those sorts of things aside, a lack of the ability to tune restrictions can be frustrating (and I say that as someone whose early builds made the mistake of being all-or-nothing and who's made a point of improving on that error of judgement ever since).

Now, sure, I guess I can appreciate personal preference but that's where getting to know the product you've purchased comes in. Personally though I find being locked in something and finding it's not as restrictive as the RL equivalent would imply to be more frustrating and jarring than finding out the opposite. I'd appreciate and respect "harsher but appropriate" defaults over "might as well not be scripted" defaults every single time.

Which sort of brings me to the second thing that happened. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I'm currently locked in a spreader bar that makes walking around a reasonably frustrating experience. To walk I can't use the normal forward and backward keys. With this I have to press shift-left and then shift-right, over and over again, to (in effect) shuffle each foot. It's a very old build (dates back to 2010 from what I can see, although one script inside it has a creation date in 2008) but rather well done (if "rather frustrating, just like I imagine being RL hobbled by such a thing would be" is the measure we're using).

Except... one thing lets it down. It doesn't deny sittp. This means that I can cam anywhere on the region, find something I can sit on, sit on it and get there in an instant. While I'm doing my very best to not do this, knowing that I can do it sort of spoils the full effect.

This is a thing that I look for in the RLV toys I buy (and I do love buying RLV toys): appropriate restrictions. I like gags that control chat and instant messages. I wouldn't like a gag that didn't and neither would I like a gag that also controlled teleporting. I like leg restraints that control far-sitting and arm restraints that control far-touch, I'd like them a lot less if they didn't do that or tried to deny my maps. I like (and try and make) devices and restraints where the restrictions make sense.

So, if there's a conclusion to this ramble, it's this: if you're making an RLV product I'd applaud and encourage the harshest restrictions that make sense as being on by default. Just please make sure that a) there's good documentation available and b) that all the restrictions that make sense as being toggles are toggles. On top of that, I'd applaud and encourage restrictions that go as far as possible and still make sense, but no more.

After all, if Miss Vila wanted me to always walk up to objects before sitting on them, without the use of RLV, she'd tell me to do it rather than lock me up in fun things that use RLV. ;)

Some more landscaping, and a slow 24 hours

Today, Miss Vila and I carried on with the landscaping we started on Saturday. Time's kind of in short supply for Mistress right at the moment so we're having to do little bits each day. Today we had a play with making a small beach that, hopefully, fits the region. We spent a bit of time going over the options and how well it might work...

...and then we went shopping for bits and started work on making the beach area.

There's still plenty of work to do, we need to better blend it in to the edge of the region so it's not a stark contrast between grass and sand, but we're happy with how it's going so far. We think it helps make more sense of the bay that surrounds Z's home and the boat dock (which still needs work too, especially the choice of seating and possibly the odd toy or two).

And then it was time for Mistress to head for bed. First, however, I needed a top up for my teleport allowance. That got me a payment of being locked in a spreader bar for 24 hours, as well as having my hands cuffed.

The spreader bar isn't just for show either. It stops me from normally walking. To move anywhere now I have to press shift-left then shift-right, over and over again, to take small shuffling steps. There is, however, one RLV choice in it that I find rather curious and it's this: sit-tp isn't denied. This means I can cam over to anything that can be sat on and I can sit on it to get around quickly.

Not that I would. ;)


The Lab broke time again

Edit to add: this is fixed as of around 19:00 UTC.

It appears that the Lab broke time again. It's been a while since I last saw anything like this. Back in June 2012 we spent a week running on UTC (which was really nice, I wish the grid always ran on UTC) and, this time, they've done something that has caused the grid to not skip forward an hour to keep track with the US's switch to daylight saving.

This switch is always problematic on the grid as it is, especially if, like me, you're in the UK and your daylight saving switch doesn't happen for another couple of weeks. This now makes it confusing for everyone.

But it gets even better.

I noticed that the Raven Park and Z&A clocks were showing what would be the correct in-world time. It seems that, although the viewer time is wrong, in-world clocks that use llGetWallclock are correct! Here's a copy of the Raven Park clock, photographed when the viewer said it was 08:24:

So, not only will those in the US get their event times confused at the moment, any in-world clocks will further confuse matters by showing the correct time.

This is going to be a fun day.


Some landscaping, eventually....

We've never been ones for doing the whole "delete everything on the region and start again" remodel thing when it comes to Raven Park. Generally we prefer to let the region evolve, changing the odd thing here and there, rebuilding parts of it within the constraints of the other parts around it. While this does have the advantage of not causing complete upheaval it also has the nice side-effect of making the whole thing feel more organic, more natural, less planned. Just like an old village/town would be.

After replacing the old pony area with a slightly wild pond we decided that the next thing to get an upgrade would be the sun deck that's by the side of the Mansion. We'd already had a chat a couple of days back to decide on how it was going to go and had the main components picked out. So, earlier today, before it was Miss Vila's bedtime, we went in to make a start on it.

First off, however, because there would be lots of landscaping involved, Mistress decided that she just had to get a gardening/landscaping outfit sorted. Something with sturdy boots, some sort of dungarees that she didn't mind getting dirty and, of course, a big floppy hat to keep the Sun off.

Almost two hours later she had the outfit and almost no time left to actually get going on the build. Meanwhile, knowing that she'd actually not be getting the outfit dirty 'cos I'd be doing all the heavy lifting while she supervised, I went shopping for a clipboard for her. ;)

Thankfully we did get to spend about 1/2 hour on clearing the area of objects and Mistress supervised the terraforming and placement of the new dock that we're replacing the old deck with. Starting tomorrow and over the next few days we'll work on the details.

At least she'll have an outfit ready this time...


Six days later

Today marked six days since Miss Vila locked me on my knees. In that time, while I've managed to do most of the things I'd normally do, it's been slower -- much slower. As you might imagine I was looking forward to a bit of time with a bit more freedom of movement.

When we got together earlier today we first decided to pay a visit to the newly-opened Beaumont Manor. Miss Delores has recently done a rebuild of her region (which, in part, inspired me to reboot a Z&A product as lower land impact and more detailed mesh) so we were keen to go and see how it looked now. We'd actually tried this a couple of days earlier but had had the bad luck, or rather bad timing, of landing there about 7 minutes before the Tuesday restart hit. So rather than having a good explore we ended up back at home, having a chat over coffee. Well, Mistress had coffee anyway.

Anyway, back to today. We met up at home...

...and then headed off to Beaumont to have a good explore. Here's a few photos from the visit:

Eventually we headed back home, the TP home also using up my last teleport from my allowance. So, when we got home, I had to request a top-up for that, which meant a visit to the office...

First though, because my 6 days on my knees was up, I was released from that...

...and then I had to touch the punishment picker to find out my payment for the TP top-up. This turned out to be that I will spend 12 days wearing nothing but a chastity belt.

So that's me for the next 12 days. Mistress has already made it clear that she won't be relenting for Saturday's dance and that it's up to me to work out a costume that works with me like this. So that should be an interesting challenge.

Goodness knows what I'll do if I need to photograph a new product in the next couple of weeks... Beg, and bargain, I imagine. ;)


Texture hollow script

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by someone if I knew of a way to get the inside face of a hollowed cube to texture exactly. As in, how to work out the repeat so the texture appears to be one per "face" (okay, there's only one inside face, but when it's square it looks like there's four, or three for a triangle, etc...).

By coincidence I'd been faced with the exact same problem just a day earlier with a build that I was working on (and should be released in the next day or so) and after a bit of searching had found a blog post with some useful pointers.

Given that scripting is my thing, I thought I'd turn that information into a simple script that helps out. It's not terribly clever, and it assumes that you want an effective repeat of 4 for a square hollow, 3 for a triangle hollow and 1 for a circle. It also, for now at least, only bothers working on cubes (although there's little reason why it can't work with other types -- it's just I normally only want to do this with cubes and it makes the default hollow shape decision easier to do).

Here it is: you just drop it in the cube you want to texture, hollow it, throw the texture on the inside face and you should be good to go (so delete the script again). If you change the hollow size it'll recalculate on the fly.


Simple RLV self-locker script

The other week a friend asked for an easy way to lock an item on their avatar such that it would survive outfit changes -- sort of like a very simple version of the Z&A HUD Locker, only for something worn (okay, technically, HUDs are worn too, but you get the idea...). Given that they used RLV and had no desire to let anyone else lock it on, I quickly knocked up a script to do it.

It's hardly clever, and there are more sophisticated RLV locking scripts out there, no doubt, but I thought I'd post it here in case it was useful to anyone else: