The ultimate SLurvival guide: Part 1

baconSecond Life, even for those of us who’ve been around a bit, can be insanely confusing – it doesn’t play by the rules, makes things up as it goes along, and generally likes to mess us about.

There are, however, some SLurvival strategies that can save our virtual bacon, (or tofu, for the veggies reading this, (when i say ‘veggies reading this’, i mean vegetarians, not vegetables… as far as i know, this blog doesn’t have a large following within the carrot and cauliflower communities – unless, of course, you know better)). So, i thought it only right and proper to share the accumulated knowledge that i’ve gathered during my sojourn in sl, so that you can have the SLife you’ve always dreamed of, without the pitfalls that lurk around every corner, lying in wait for the unwary.

Much of what follows is summarised – the full unabridged version of Seren’s SL Hints & Tips will be available from Amazon some time later this year, published in 18 comprehensive, leather-bound volumes, (buyer collects), at an affordable price – payable in 24 easy monthly instalments. Until then, you’ll just have to get by on the gems of wisdom that follow:

1 Getting Inworld
Yes indeed, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly and start right at the beginning. You’ve got your shiny new avatar, Mr Ivorbigunandiknowhowtouseit Resident and are champing at the bit to get inworld and sample the delights of Bukakke Bliss Island… but hold your horses just a cottonpicking minute! Take a look over your shoulder – just how safe and secure are you really?

neo_001Don’t you know how many people out there are desperate to steal your personal virtual identity? There are spies everywhere – under the bed, behind the door, and in your refrigerator – and they’re all after your account! You need a password, and a damn secure one at that! The old standbys of ‘Password’, ‘opensesame’ and, ‘Squiddlboodlybodge’, simply aren’t going to cut the cryptographic mustard – you need to be as cunning as a rabbit, weasley as a mockingbird and as sharp as an ocelot’s breakfast. Avoid the obvious, sneer at brevity and turn your nose up at logic – you want no less than 42 characters; upper, lower and middle case; numbers, letters, punctuation, diacryticals and mirror writing – ideally let your cat walk over the keyboard… if you don’t have a cat, beg, borrow, steal or clone one.

Once you have your password, do not – i repeat, DO NOT – ever write it down! Commit it to memory, and then instantly contrive to forget it. Now you’re safe. One final word – never use the same password for your alts – always repeat the process above, but preferably in the dark at the dead at night, to ensure password integrity.

Now you’re ready to log in.

2. Inventory maintenance
This simple, yet oft’ neglected aspect of living a virtual life cannot be emphasised enough: A disorganised inventory is a sign of a disorganised existence… say it after me!

There are some simple, yet cardinal, rules of proper inventory management – firstly, folders are your friend. It’s a simple fact that intelligence increases proportionately to the number of folders in your inventory – the more folders you have, the brainier you are. However, don’t use this as an excuse to simply introduce new folders willy-nilly, you need to be supremely organised, if you’re ever going to do this properly.

Let’s start by looking inside that pesky ‘objects’ folder. What do you see? Yes… that’s right, a whole load of stuff, and i’m betting that only a small part of it is actually call ‘object’. Come on people, folders have names for reasons – only things named ‘object’ go in the ‘object’ folder, surely you can grasp that? So let’s move out all those other items, to leave a nice, neat folder containing only ‘objects’  – you’ll thank me for it, especially if you’re into building things, because you’d be amazed how full that folder will eventually become, and every single thing in it will be called ‘object’ – now, isn’t that neat and tidy?

You do need a system for cataloguing all those other things you’ve moved out, of course. Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with keeping all those interestingly named folders that everything came from the store in – that way, you’ll always know exactly what you have, and where it is. So, for example, if you have a folder called ‘~~**<{BL!NGTOPIA}>**~~ SuperHot Sizzler’ then you’ll always know exactly what’s in it. Don’t succumb to the temptation of renaming it something you think might be more memorable ‘Green bikini’ may well be more factual, but it has none of the pizzazz of  ‘~~**<{BL!NGTOPIA}>**~~ SuperHot Sizzler’! And don’t go hiding your folders away in sub-folders either – it may appear to make sense to make folders for ‘clothes’, ‘furniture’, ‘fart HUDS’, and so on, but you want your possessions to be instantly visible when you open your inventory, otherwise you’re going to lose things, i guarantee it!

If you must be more organised – perhaps you’re the sort who insists on putting your CDs in alphabetical, rather than year of purchase, order – then i have some suggestions for you:

  • Try colour-coding folders. For example, a folder named ‘green’ will contain only green items – trees, dresses, nail polish etc;
  • Put similar items in the same folder. Naturally, you should have a folder for ‘right shoes’ and another for ‘left shoes’, one for ‘alpha layers’ and another for ‘foot shapers’. It’s so obvious, but you’d be amazed how many miss this simple trick;
  • There’s always the old standby of alphabetical order – try throwing a bit of unicode in there, just to keep things interesting.

warhol2_001Follow the above tips and you’ll never look back – your inventory will be a joy to use and you’ll wonder how ever you managed before.

Now, that’s quite enough tips for today and i daresay you’ll want to be getting on with rehashing your passwords and sorting out those nightmare inventories, won’t you? So, i’ll be back tomorrow, when i’ll have another three top tips that Torley himself would be proud of!

s. x

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who 
supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of 
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the 
ugly parts and recycling it for more than 
it’s worth.
Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) 

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