Vanity Fair Finally Tackles Her Oversize Second Life Inventory: Some Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Help You Clean Up and Box Up Your Messy Inventory!

I admit it: My main avatar in Second Life, Vanity Fair, is a pack rat.

Vanity is the avatar I tend to trot out to pick up all the free gifts at monthly shopping events, snap up all the group gifts at stores, and patiently wait for her letter to come up and collect the lucky chair and lucky board prizes. And, as a result, she currently has a Second Life inventory of (does a quick double-check) 268,957 elements (elements is an SL term of the total count of both folders and items within folders)!

Now, over the past 13 years, I have tried to use third-party inventory systems, such as the inventory box system by Bright, to store items that I didn’t think I would need to access frequently, but still didn’t have the heart to completely throw away. For example, back in the day (circa 2008 and 2009), I used to scour the House of Heart store for freebies during their regular hunts, and I had amassed quite a few of their flexiprim hairstyles as a result. So I packed it all up in a Bright inventory box (L$600 on the SL Marketplace), on which I could do keyword searches on in local chat to retrieve items (e.g. “/500 brown” would pull up all hairstyles with “brown” in the description).

But unfortunately, I ignored one of the cardinal rules of inventory management: I did not do the work to keep my inventory neat and tidy as I was accumulating new items! I didn’t do this boxing-up work consistently over time, because setting up and packing the Bright boxes, then deleting the original copies, took a lot of time. In an older home, I used to store these boxes in my attic (they are one prim each when rezzed in-world). But, in my new Linden Home, I need every available prim space I can get, so they now sit in a quiet corner of my inventory, mouldering away.

There appears to be no upper limit on how many items you can have in your inventory. Up until now, I have not had too many problems dealing with such a massive inventory, but somewhere between 250,000 and 260,000 elements, my viewer performance began to degrade significantly.

For example, when I clicked the Recent tab on my inventory, it would take one minute or longer to get a full display. Signing out would take well over a minute as well, unless I forced Windows to shut down the process. Sometimes, that would lead to inventory corruption, which necessitated a trip to a quiet sim to clear my inventory cache and reload my inventory from scratch, which would take up to an hour or longer. (By the way, if you ever need the step-by-step instructions on how to do this in Firestorm, here they are.)

After several months of deterioriating viewer performance, I need to face facts: it’s way past time to clear out Vanity’s old stuff to make way for new stuff.

Fortunately, it is a relatively easy matter to sort your inventory to show only the oldest items. It’s a three step process:

  1. Click the Recent tab, then click on the tiny gear in the bottom left of your Inventory window, and select Show Filters from the menu that pops up;
  2. In the Filters menu, click on the button that says Older Than;
  3. Enter the number of days (in this example, 4,000 days, which will pull up all items in inventory older than 4,000 days, approximately 11 years.

Now I can go through all the items in your Recent tab, and delete them. You probably already know that you can use left mouseclick and then Shift-left mouseclick to select the beginning and end of two or more items at once. The selected items will then be highlighrted, and then you can right mouseclick on them and select Delete, to remove many items at once from your inventory:

Any older items which I cannot bear to part with will go into a new Bright inventory box. I can store up to 1,000 items per box, which replaces a thousand items in my SL inventory with a single element. Between deleting items and boxing them up, I hope to reduce my inventory size to somewhere under 250,000.

Inventory items you delete are moved to the Trash folder (which gives you an opportunity to retrieve them back into your inventory should you change your mind). Every so often, as your are deleting and boxing up items, you should click on the tiny gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your inventory display, and select Empty Trash, to remove all these trashed items from your inventory, once and for all (please note that this cannot be undone, and you will have confirm this task):

One final tip: you’re probably going to be unpacking a number of boxes to see what they contain. Find yourself a quiet sandbox somewhere to do this work if you don’t own any land with rezz rights.

Wish me luck! This is going to be a months-long project.

If you have tips, tricks, and tools which you have found useful to manage your inventory, I would love to hear them! Please feel free to leave a comment, thanks!

UPDATED! The 2020 Burning Man Festival Takes Place August 31st to September 6th on Ten Different Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds

The real-life Burning Man festival has been cancelled, but you can participate in a virtual version of the event on ten different platforms in 2020.

For the first time since its start in 1986, the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this year the festival is moving into a Multiverse of ten different platforms and services:

Here is a very brief guide to what’s going on where, with information taken from their website.

BURN2 (in Second Life)

Burning Man played a pivotal role in the development of Second Life, as explained in the history of BURN2:

In 1999, a dreamy guy from San Francisco decided to go explore this Burning Man thing he’d been hearing about. Into his car he tossed a tent, water and everything else he needed to survive, then he drove 300 miles out to the Nevada high desert.

He arrived at a featureless, 40-square-mile expanse of cracked mud, ringed by distant mountains. Hot. It was terribly hot. Except when the sun went down. Then it was just plain cold. The Black Rock Desert is an ancient dry lake bed. “The Playa”, geologists called it; harsh, foreign, unforgiving and so shockingly barren that it *begs* to be your empty canvas. A strange encampment had been erected there, ringed around a 40-foot tall anthropomorphic wooden statue destined to be burned the last night.

What the Dreamer found there— a huge group of people, self-organized into a city, collaboratively creating a different reality— tweaked the direction of the project he was working on back in San Francisco, and filled his head with ideas about the nature of reality, creativity, identity and community. He worked some of these ideas into the very fabric of his project, “Linden World”, which you and I now know as Second Life. That Dreamer was Linden Lab founder Philip Rosedale.

So it is not surprising that a virtual version of Burning Man has been a part of Second Life since its very beginning, in 2003. This event usually happens in October (so as not to detract from the actual, real-world event), but this year there will be a version of BURN2 running from August 29th to September 6th (here is the calendar of events). You can join the festivities in-world (SLURL) or watch it streaming live on Mixcloud.

The Infinite Playa (in what looks like Sansar?)

ENTRY UPDATED Aug. 30th, 2020: It turns out that I was wrong. I could have sworn that from the pictures on their website (and the video below) that this was taking place in Sansar, but apparently, this is something different. And they are way behind in getting it all set up, too!

We are soooooo close to gates open on The Infinite Playa! Our entire team, in collaboration with 100’s of artist performers, DJs, speakers, teachers and camp leaders have been working tirelessly to get us to launch. Turns out creating an interactive, photo-real virtual playa from scratch in just a few short months is…no small feat – who knew?To give you the best (admittedly beta) experience we can, we have decided to delay the launch a few days.

Not to fear – the free “Watch the Infinite” portal will launch on this site Monday August 31st at noon, where you will be able to access live stream performances, talks and art from within The Infinite Playa.

Tickets will go on sale…really, really soon, no seriouslyplease hold while we write some code…

Here’s their website, and a promotional video. Whatever it is, it sure looks a lot like Sansar!

The ticket portal is not up yet, but once it is, I will put in a link to it here. Also, it’s not clear if you need to register on The Infinite Playa website (the form is at the bottom of the page) in order to attend. I did, but I haven’t gotten an email confirmation back yet. It looks as though a lot of this is being set up frantically at the last minute!

And tickets are NOT cheap, either. This is easily the most expensive of the ten virtual Burning Man platforms that make up the Multiverse:

■ Visitor – Two Hour Pass – $20
Weekend Warrior – Five Hour Pass – $40
Dusty Explorer – Ten Hour Pass – $75
Founder’s Package – 24 Hour Pass – $150 (includes executable file)
Downloadable executable file available for purchase for $100 with unlimited access to the interactive experience all week. A gaming PC with a GTX1080 or higher graphics card required (sorry no MacOS version just yet).

Wait…a 24-hour Founder’s pass is $150, but an unlimited access pass is $100? What?

BRCvr (in AltspaceVR)

BRCvr (website) is taking place on the popular social VR platform AltspaceVR:

Here’s all the information you need to visit BRCvr. The initial meet-and-greet event takes place on Sunday, August 30th (here’s a link to event on the event calendar), and you can check the AltspaceVR Events Calendar to see what is taking place where.

SparkleVerse (in Sparkle)

SparkleVerse will be held in Sparkle, which is an open source fork of an experimental social contextual project which runs on mobile devices and on flatscreen computer desktop, from August 30th to Septemver 7th, 2020. Tickets are by donation via EventBrite.

MysticVerse

MysticVerse bills itself as “a fully immersive, interactive 3D experience: a visionary expression of a virtual Black Rock City”. There’s not a whole lot of information on their website, but according to their FAQ:

The MysticVerse can be accessed from any device (mobile, desktop, VR headset) and on any operating system. RSVP here and be the first to know when the gates open to our universe.

MultiVerse

MultiVerse (website; to be confused with the Burning Man Multiverse) will be taking place on a mobile/VR app called IIR:

IIR stands for “Interactive Immersive Reality.” This immersive visual technology runs on mobile phones and VR headsets. Think of IIR as a stack of technologies that take an immersive experience to the next level. IIR provides the ability to 3rd parties to access the virtual environment from a web-based portal for certain things. For example, here camps can broadcast live events and music remotely into the environment from a simple-to-use web portal. In addition, IIR shows the 3D objects photo-realistically, meaning that their look and feel as they are in real life, is preserved. In addition, with IIR we can simulate large environments such as the entire Black Rock City with all the camps, art, music stages, etc. and have people appear as 3D avatars that can communicate via live voice.

There’s not a lot of information on their website, but you can RSVP here.

UPDATE Aug. 31st, 2020: I just received an email update from the creators:

We wanted to send out this quick update to let you all know that we just submitted to the Android and iOS app stores. We hope the apps will be live by tonight, but sometimes it can take a bit longer. Like anything on the playa (IRL or digital!), schedules are more like guidelines than anything else!

Please make sure to add this email to your contacts to ensure you get all our messages, and also please follow the Dusty Multiverse social media accounts found at @dustymultiverse both on Instagram and Twitter – we will be putting out critical updates there first – but via email as well.

Please note that the Oculus Quest application is delayed, and will likely be published late Monday.  In the meantime the iOS and Android will be the only way to access the universe.

UPDATE Sept. 1st, 2020: The Multiverse app is now available, and I downloaded it to my iPhone to check it out. The app costs at least US$10.99 for seven days; there is also an option for you to sponsor other attendees at US$3.00 each. The default recommendation was $10.99 plus sponsoring ten others for a total cost of US$52.00! I think I’m going to wait until the Oculus Quest version is ready before I pay for it.

Build-a-Burn (on Topia)

Topia is a webcam app, which will be hosting something called Build-a-Burn. It is described as follows:

Build-A-Burn is an interactive digital space that has already hosted events, including fantastical remote Burns, all by empowering the community to celebrate their creativity. Using just a browser and webcam on any device, participants will be able to wander an art-filled playa with friends old and new. Prepare to bend the reality of time and space, authentically connect with others in facilitated workshops, stand too close to some of your favorite DJs, and more.

MetaBurn: The Bridge Experience

MetaBurn: The Bridge Experience is described as:

Created by the team behind the Love Burn, The Bridge Experience is an interactive, fully immersive, 3D web-based virtual reality (XR) Burn accessible via any device. It is a passion project built by new and old Burners who are committed to simplifying the barriers to entry by adjoining Extended Reality (XR) technology with the 10 Principles.

There’s not a lot of information available; it appears to be some sort of mobile/desktop/VR app which requires registration. Check their website for more details on how to get set up.

The Ethereal Empyrean Experience

The Ethereal Empyrean Experience is described as follows:

In late 2019, Burning Man Project selected “Empyrean” by Laurence “Renzo” Verbeck and Sylvia Adrienne Lisse to be the official Black Rock City Temple for 2020. As announced in the Burning Man Journal, “Empyrean was chosen for its lovely geometry and inclusive design, as well as for its strong leads and crew who have demonstrated the experience, integrity and feasibility necessary to create this unique space.”

Fast forward to Spring 2020, when it became clear the community would not be building Black Rock City this year. The Empyrean creators embraced the challenge, dedicating themselves to creating an inclusive, healing virtual Temple space where visitors can share, express, process, grieve, and heal during this transformative time. The result: the Ethereal Empyrean Experience, our 2020 virtual Temple.

Again, there’s frustratingly little actual information about how to access this. Here’s a five-minute preview of the virtual temple:

Burn Night: Live from Home

According to the webpage for this event:

After spending Burn Week exploring the marvels of the Multiverse, join us on September 5, 2020 for Burn Night: Live From Home

Wherever you live and however you choose to burn, you’re invited to connect with the global Burning Man community for a worldwide, around-the-clock Burn Night extravaganza! 

Create your burnable Mini Man effigy using our blueprint, or something from your own imagination. Then host a small Burn wherever you are, within your local COVID-safe limits, ignited time zone by time zone worldwide on Burning Man’s traditional Burn Night — September 5, 2020. You may choose to upload your Man Burn to our 24-hour live stream. These will all be streamed and shared in a portal with chat, so the entire Burning Man community can connect around our favorite fire for a full day and night of burns.


So, no matter whether you use a mobile device, your flatscreen notebook or desktop computer, or a VR headset, you can participate in Burning Man this year!

Black Rock City Animal Control members and Black Rock Scouts climb on a larger-than-life sculpture during Burning Man 2016. (Source: National Geographic)

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: L$15 Combat/Hiking Boots from Scandalize!

Every so often, the popular Scandalize womenswear store holds a hunt.

Well, “hunt” would be a strong word, since that would imply actually hiding the items; the hunt items are simply placed out on the floor in plain sight, and all you really need to do is walk through all the aisles of the store to find them. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to scatter the hunt items around the store!

Well, Scandalize is once again throwing a Summer Hunt, on now until August 30th, 2020, where you are looking for a small pink-and-white unicorn pool floatie (see image above). You do not need to join the Scandalize group to buy the hunt items, which cost L$15 each.

I wanted to alert my faithful SL readers that I have discovered an incredible bargain with one item in the Scandalize Summer Hunt: a complete fatpack of the Darliane combat/hiking boots, with an truly mind-boggling number of customization options!

The Darliane boots come in two versions (with or without socks) and they come in sizes to fit the following female mesh bodies (but really, they’re unisex; I’ll explain below):

  • Belleza Freya and Isis
  • Maitreya Lara
  • Meshbody Legacy
  • Slink Hourglass

Here’s what the Darliane boots look like, right out of the box. They come with three HUDs which allow you to change no less than nine different parts of the boot, to any of 42 different colours—every single part of the boot, from the sole to the eyelets to the laces to the loop at the back!

You can go crazy with any of a mind-boggling 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 times 42 (42⁹, or 42 with an exponent of 9) possible colour combinations, or just opt for basic black:

Yes, that’s right, 42⁹ possible colour combinations!

Here, my bored, surly goth girl alt, Nada Nix (a suitably nihilistic Second Life legacy name for a goth avatar, don’t you think? ), is rocking her new Darliane boots at the House of V club:

But the best part is this: these boots are unisex, and can be worn by men or women. And, even better, they are even resizable!

How is this possible? Well, you can always alpha out the feet and ankles on any mesh avatar body, using the included HUD that came with the body, so it should be a relatively simple matter to get them to look good on whatever body you are wearing: male, female, transgender, etc. (I mean, these are combat boots, sweetheart, not some delicate, strappy sandal where most of your foot is showing! If your foot is sticking through at any point, just alpha it out!)

And, if you wear the Legacy size of the Darliane boots, you can actually make them bigger or smaller, just by adjusting the foot size slider in the body sliders! If you’re not familiar with footwear designed for Meshbody Legacy, this is a standard feature. Just right click on your avatar, select Appearance from the pie menu that pops up, then select Edit Shape, scroll right and hit the Legs tab on the Editing Shape menu, and finally, scroll down to the bottom-most setting of Foot Size, as shown here:

There you go, easy as pie! Here, one of my male alts is out for a hike in the Mount Campion Caves National Forest (the rest of his outfit is free, from Fitch):

Here, I set the foot size using the body sliders to 80:

As you can see, these are extremely versatile boots, and at only L$15, they are a real steal! So hurry down to Scandalize before the Summer Hunt ends on August 30th, 2020, and snap up this bargain before it’s gone!

Here’s a couple of hints to help you (please ignore them if this feels like cheating to you). From the main front counter of the store, head right. The floaties tend to pop up only as you get closer to them, even at Ultra settings, so you may have to wander around a bit to find the Darliane boots.

And Scandalize is always busy, so expect lots of avatars and lots of lag. If you are using the Firestorm viewer, select Show Friends Only from the World menu to derender everybody except your friends, to get much better viewer performance (see image, above right).

Happy shopping!

UPDATED Editorial: From the Outside, Looking In

*sigh*

I can’t sleep. I’ve been tossing and turning since 3:00 a.m., so I finally decided to get out of bed and do what I do when I can’t sleep. Brood. And blog. (Yes, I know: bad combination.)

And, while I was lying in bed, it occurred to me: for the first time ever, I will be writing about a social VR platform on this blog that I may never actually set foot in.

Of course, I am talking about Facebook Horizon.

This manipulated image of the new Facebook Reality Labs logo is courtesy of the insanely talented and creative LokiEliot; the eye is actually not part of the FRL logo pyramid, but as far as I am concerned, it may as well be there.

Kent Bye, host of the influential Voices of VR podcast, shares the growing sense of unease that many informed people now feel about the extent of Facebook’s control and use of the personal data which it collects on you, which of course includes sharing your Oculus VR device data with other Facebook products and services, as evidenced by the following Oculus Support question and answer. It would seem that if you’re in one Facebook product or service, you’re in them all—and it’s yet another good reason for me start moving away from relying on Oculus hardware for any future virtual reality experiences.

Kent Bye, in a tweet yesterday, referenced another observer who compared this Q&A with a quote from the dystopian science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, commenting:

“Can I chose to not share information about my VR activity…?” “No…” I read this chilling Q&A during @FRealityCrew podcast. Contextual Integrity is an approach to privacy. Facebook says it’s for a safety context, but they don’t limit by context. Could be for data mining contexts.

(The link to the podcast itself is here.)

Again, my response to all this is to steer clear of Facebook. Yes, I full well realize that other tech companies (Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc.) also use data mining on me. But Facebook has already demonstrated in its past corporate history, time and again, that it cannot be trusted with the information it collects on you, and shares with other companies, without your knowledge or consent, other than you tacitly signing off on a lengthy Terms of Service document that only a lawyer could decipher. (Exhibit A: the Cambridge Analytica scandal.)

Therefore, I am quite content to remain on the outside, looking in, rather than continue to be “Under His Eye”, as they say in The Handmaid’s Tale. Simply put, I no longer wish to be under Mark Zuckerberg’s eye—even if it means I will only report on Horizon as an interested observer, as opposed to an active participant.


Yesterday, Facebook launched the invitation-only beta of its Horizon social VR platform, after a short, closed alpha launch earlier this year. According to the official blogpost announcing the beta test:

The invite-only beta will be available on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform in the U.S. and Canada to start. We’ll welcome more people over time, and you can add your name to the beta waitlist.

Looking at the Facebook Horizon Beta Application form, it seems very clear what kind of people Facebook is interested in inviting into Facebook Horizon at this stage:

  1. They want to know whether you “have…ever created a world, game, or experience in a VR game, in a console/PC game, or in a professional creator tool (such as Unity/Unreal)”; and
  2. They also want to know if you “lead, moderate, or administer an online community (such as Reddit, Facebook Groups, Discord, Twitch, etc.)”.

In other words, they will be giving priority to a) content creators and b) community builders and influencers. The former group Facebook wants to bring in to fully test out its in-world building tools, and (perhaps) the ability to import content from third-party tools, and the latter group they want to get the word out about Horizon to their communities, and generate some positive buzz.

Somewhat buried in the press release is the following information:

Eventually, we envision large spaces where many people can gather in Horizon, but for now, up to eight people can share a space.

So (at least to start), Horizon will be unable to host large events. Unlike Second Life, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium Space, which are one large contiguous landmass, Facebook Horizon will be composed of separate, discrete worlds you select from a menu, much like VRChat, the old High Fidelity and its successor platforms (Tivoli and Vircadia), and Sansar.

There’s so much more Facebook Horizon news to parse than I have time to cover here this morning. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I am going to try to get some sleep (but it’s probably a lost cause).

Facebook Horizon: I prefer to stay on the outside, looking in, thank you…

I wish I had never joined Facebook 15 years ago. I especially regret encouraging friends and family to sign up in the early days. I also wish now that I had never purchased my Oculus Quest and Oculus Rifts (yes, plural—one for home and one for work). I wish that I had never bought many of my VR apps through the Oculus store.

But I can learn from my past mistakes, and I can use that knowledge to make more informed, better decisions in the rapidly-evolving VR/AR/XR marketplace.

And I will continue to write about Facebook and Oculus on this blog, as part of my coverage of social VR and virtual worlds, informed by my experiences to date in dozens of different platforms, since I first set foot in Second Life fourteen years ago.

I might be able to personally boycott Facebook products and services (if not now, then at some point in the future when I sell or give away my Oculus devices), but, for better or worse, Facebook is simply too big a player to completely ignore. And, after all, this is a blog about social VR.

Stay tuned for more coverage!


UPDATE 11:27 a.m.: After finally getting some much-needed sleep, I edited this blogpost a bit, and I also wanted to add a link to an UploadVR article posted yesterday by Jamie Feltham, who interviewed a couple of Facebook employees working on the Horizon project, and received a Facebook Horizon preview before the beta launch of the product.