Monday, July 26, 2010

2013 HELP: Windows 7 and that first hour experience in Second Life

Windows 7 and 
that first hour experience in Second Life
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People come into to Second Life using Windows 7.   Not remarkable.  Windows 7  reached general retail availability on October 22, 2009.  As of June 23, 2010, Windows 7 has sold 150 million copies which made it the fastest selling operating system in history with seven copies sold every second.

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Linden Lab, as we all know, is very much concerned about that first hour experience that new users get.  I wonder if Linden Lab people know the experience new users get if they enter Second Life using Windows 7.
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I know, because I recently got a new PC--running Windows 7, of course.
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I checked the Second Life system requirements: XP or Vista. No Windows 7.   So Linden Lab has not updated its requirements since Vista came out in January 2007.  
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To quote the webpage:
"Your computer must meet these REQUIREMENTS, or you may not be able to successfully participate in Second Life. "
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So Linden Lab is telling 150 million potential customers that the powerful modern computer they bought since last fall is not able to run Second Life.  If I were a new person reading this page, I would think that Linden Lab was not keeping up with developments in technology.  I would suspect that it was so short on money that it was jeopardizing its future to cut costs.  I would probably write it off as a failing company.
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Now I have been in Second Life for five years, so I don't believe what I read on their webpages.   I loaded Second Life (Viewer 2.1)  on my Windows 7 Machine.
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The installer warned me that I was running an unknown graphics card and that it might not work.  Of course, I went on anyway.
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But that warning would be a show-stopper for lots of people.  Some people have contacted me inworld to ask for help.  I just tell them to ignore the warning.  That seems to work.
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But that is another step in the first hour experience that Linden Lab offers to the potential customer using a PC bought since last fall.
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I started the Viewer and logged on to Second Live as usual.  The only difference was that the display looked terrible.  Primitive.   Worse than the worst browser-based 3d world I have seen.  Circular objects were obvious polygons.
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As a experienced user, I understood the problem.  I went to Preferences, Graphics.  Sure enough, the graphics setting was minimum.  I moved it up to high and got a good display.
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Most first-time users probably would have quit at this point -- remember, we are still in the first hour experience.  The other day I met a newcomer at the Rockcliffe gateway.  His boss had told him to come into Second Life and find out what he could do with it.
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He was supposed to build a car.  I gave him a package of free, full perm things, including cars and showed him how to edit them to see how they were made.  He was impressed.
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Then he dropped and astonishing remark:
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"Second Life seems to have trouble with round things."
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Bingo!
- "You are seeing them as polygons," I remarked, beginning to feel like Sherlock Holmes.
- "Yep."
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"And you are running Windows 7, aren't you?"    More like Sherlock Homes.
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"Yep."
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So I talked him through the graphics adjustment--30 seconds.  He was again astonished, this time at the image quality.  What astonished me was that he had put up with that primitive graphic display as long as he had.  I guess in these days, if your boss tells you to try Second Life, you do it.
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And if you worked for Linden Lab -- suppose your boss told you the get the website and download up-to-date on Windows 7... you would do that.  Why has it not been done?  My guess is that nobody is responsible to get it done.  Or rather everybody is responsible.  Just nobody in particular.
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I am doing the only things I can do about this.  I have a standard text greeting I send an IM to newcomers at the Rockcilffe gateway.  I have added a line with specific mention of Windows 7, telling people with that system that they may have low quality graphics because of a bad default from the installer.  It suggests that they contact me if they need help on setting their graphics.
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I made a notecard (for the Hobo Kit, of course) with the needed instructions.   I will send the instructions out to the Community Gateway group and to the RHN Q & A group soon after this item is posted.
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And I hope somebody can find out who at Linden Lab is actually responsible for updating the web site and the installer.  And is that person still around?

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4 comments:

  1. Just another situation where the old mentors could and should help.....Oh, that's right, the mentors were disbanded.
    But never mind not seeing great graphics... you've got voice..and html on a prim...and a viewer that covers most of your screen...and a text bar that almost requires you to use magnifier glasses...and no one to help you.
    Welcome to Secondlife!

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  2. I've even seen posts in the SL forums about the Windows 7 warning. Newbies asking if its going to damage their machine if they ignore the warning - i know silly, but they don't know better.

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  3. Thanks for calling this out (I like your use of red text) — Lotte Linden shared your post with some of us who were going over updates to the System Requirements. We agree that there needs to be accountability about certain things that should be on there: for BIG example and directly related to your post, Windows 7 (32-bit) IS supported but needs to be added to the SysReq. Otherwise, how the heck would you know?

    Wish we could update our secondlife.com webpages as quickly as we can with the wiki (where an edit takes a few seconds, and many such edits have helped many Resis who didn't have to stumble in the dark afterwards).

    You didn't name your graphics card, but the "unknown" message isn't because of Windows 7. Our GPU table (that identifies graphics cards) is now on the web with 2.1, so we can update it easier. And if your card is fast enough, yes, it should've autodetected "High" for you.

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