I’m a workstation sort of person – I like to have an area set aside, with all the essential tools that I’m going to need, where I can spend my working hours in an environment that is conducive to what I’m doing. Chair, PC, power, a view of the estuary and a coaster for my cuppa form the basis of my ‘office’… But it’s also my play station too, and when the days’ work is done, it’s a comfortable and accommodating retreat where I can play around with photos, surf the web and, of course, hang out in SL.
That’s all very well, but unfortunately any sort of station tends to be – as the word suggests – somewhat stationery! This is fine if you aren’t in the habit of moving around, which if I had any choice in the matter, I would be perfectly happy to be that person, however for the past couple of years I’ve become a lot more mobile than I ever have been previously. I wouldn’t mind so much if my workstation was equally mobile, but lugging a desktop PC around, along with a couple of rather large monitors, not to mention the coaster for my mug is rather an unfeasible proposition, particularly since much of the time I could really do with having them to hand on train journeys and in hotel rooms with crappy Internet connections.
The answer, of course, is to go mobile – laptop, netbook or tablet would be perfect for the job. Unfortunately, whilst I have an inordinate quantity of laptops lying around the house, they are pretty much all the size and weight of concrete breeze blocks, and whilst they might happily cope with a spot of surfing the net or the odd bit of word processing, logging in to SL is, unfortunately not an option. The letter is also true of both my netbooks, which in their day were cutting edge, but today are now rather more the butter knives of technology. The XP one is no use for SL and the Windows 7 one throws up its digital hands in horror at even the thought.
Splashing the cash on something new isn’t an option – there’s no cash to splash on something high end… However I’ve finally relented and got myself a tablet – albeit a small one, an Amazon Kindle Fire actually, mainly because I was able to get a really good deal on it in a moment of madness! My main motivation was to have something lightweight, compact and capable of running SL. Things are never quite that simple however – the Fire operating system is a customised version of Android which doesn’t natively allow access to the Play Store, drastically limiting the options available for accessing SL. Not that it stopped me… A little bit of hacking later, and Robert’s your father’s brother: Lumiya Viewer side-loaded and installed… I was ready!
I’ve given thin client and text viewers a go before, but never been particularly enamored of them. To miss out on the greater part of the SL experience, whilst you’re avatar simply stands around helplessly just isn’t my idea of a fun time, and whilst I’ve given Lumiya a whirl a couple of times before on my phone, it’s just not been a satisfying experience. I was prepared for the worst… But I was to be pleasantly surprised.
Certainly, it’s a small screen, and yes heavily textured scenes take a while to load, (but don’t they do that anyway, no matter what viewer you use?), but that aside, I have pretty much all the functionality of SL available to me, with full streaming audio and in HD tablet quality visuals – all over a rubbish hotel connection with only one bar of reception. Amazing!
I’m very impressed with Lumiya and it’s rather fun being able to take SL with me, no matter what I’m doing or where I am, in fact it’s given me a whole new lease of SLife!
I should warn you though, this does mean that you can’t escape from me now inworld quite so easily, and you need to hope that next time I have a conversation with you I’m not conducting it from the comfort of the loo!
We’ve be flyin’ high and so low
Lord, and all this madness, ain’t crazy as it seems
Everywhere they stop and stare
I’m just a stranger on this road
Blackfoot – Highway Song