Object lesson

inventoryOh my goodness! What on earth possessed me?

A slow day, working from home with not a lot to fill in the gaps, all the housework finished and a severe case of twiddling my thumbs waiting for someone to require my services.

At the time it seemed like a great idea: why not take the opportunity to tackle that horrible task that I’ve put off countless times before, and have another bash at tidying up my inventory’s ‘Object’ folder? It’s one of the more accursed aspects of SL, that object folder – no matter how fastidious you may be, no matter how rigidly you enforce standards, at some point you are going to be faced with the monstrous horror of clearing up an abundance of clutter that even The Junk Lady would be proud to possess.

It’s not as if I’m terribly disorganised – quite the opposite, in fact. My inventory folders are a work of art; all divided into logical groupings, each split into ‘sorted’ and ‘unsorted’ sections, and a final set of subfolders which form the ultimate repository for my inworldly goods. Even before reaching that inner sanctum, pretty much everything that hits my inventory has to first face the challenge of escaping my ‘pending’ folder, (again split into ‘objects’ and ‘wearables’), before it’s even considered as a keeper. However, even such an intricate and comprehensive system as mine is no match for SL!

furillen16_001Over time – even the most modest of periods – SL can generate a huge amount of traffic that is going to end up in your objects folder… Pretty much anything in a box is an ‘object’, as far as SL is concerned; then there is the detritus from building – bits and pieces taken into inventory for safe keeping, new versions, duplicates and revisions of your creations, consolidated prims, and a whole load of other stuff that I swear appears magically from nowhere. To stay on top of this plethora of prims, regular and assiduous housekeeping is absolutely essential, but for the majority of us, those items just pile up until the mere act of opening that objects folder can reduce us to a quivering wreck.

The simple solution is to nuke the lot. If thine objects offend thee, pluck them out and consign them to the trash can, but that’s easier said than done, and no matter how much dross may be hanging about in there, a good proportion of it will be things you’ve paid for, or spent hours working on, and quite definitely want to keep. So there’s only one thing for it – the Big Sort Out (BSO).

Bear in mind that I have the additional nightmare of two object folders – one pending, and one for things to keep that haven’t yet been committed to the appropriate resting place, and both had reached saturation point. There was only one thing for it… Log in, put up the ‘Do not disturb’ sign, and start putting that spare time to some good use.

This is the point at which I tend to get a little flustered, because there simply is no easy way to sort an inventory in SL. Unpacking boxes is a nightmare – with a large inventory, every time a new box is opened, you’re madly scrolling up and down, moving and deleting, even with two, or three, inventory windows open at once. Then you’re rezzing or wearing, just to see what you have and whether you’re going to keep it, before finally consigning it to it’s final repository… then repeat, all over again. Throw in SL’s breathtaking <irony>speed</irony> and you have a situation that would not only try the patience of a saint, but have them committing a wide variety of sins just in order to escape the pain.

iar

Inventory management, Opensim style

If only we could have an offline inventory management tool: Something that would allow us to open, sort and modify our possessions in an intuitive and friendly manner. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility – this is precisely what Opensim’s WifiAdminPanel allows you to do already. Even better would be a tool that also allowed us to inspect the contents of boxes without opening them first – again, entirely possible, since a box is essentially just a rezzable folder; and why not go the whole hog… How about a tool that actually allowed us to see the contents of our inventory, without all that tiresome rezzing and waiting around?

None of this is infeasible, from a technical point of view and there are any number of talented scripters and developers out there who would relish the chance to come up with something that fits the bill, if only the Lab would let them. Unfortunately they won’t, even – as I’m pretty sure is the case – sufficient safeguards to protect from IP theft could be built in. So it’s unlikely anyone is going to save us from this monotonous and soul-destroying chore any time soon.

In the meantime, one thing is for sure…

I’m going to need a lot more slow days at work!

s. x

And each time I hear your name
(Frying pan, frying pan)
Oh! How it hurts
(He’s in pain)
In the wardrobe of my soul
(Oh, my soul)
In the section labelled “shirts”
Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Canyons Of Your Mind

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