Archive for March, 2007

Fan Fun

eicover.jpgI came across this piece the other day: it’s a DVD called The Eldridge Influence: The Life, Vision, and Phenomenon if H. P. Lovecraft. Jammed with interviews of scholar S.T. Joshi, filmmaker Stuart Gordon, Neil Gaiman, Brian Lumley, and Ramsey Campbell, this little DVD is a fun exploration into H.P. Lovecraft’s influence and fandom in the 21st Century. It’s worth a watch at 82 minutes as this documentary explores how H. P. Lovecraft is still impacting the creative community today.

It’s available from Hermetic Productions for $19.95 + $3 S&H.

Better Than A Swiss Army Kinfe

MystiTool.jpgHUDs are fun, but they can quickly become clutter. To cut down on the clutter, combining a tracker, flight booster, landmark history, etc. into a single tool has been the goal of many SL product designers. There are a lot of good ones out there, but so far I’ve settled on Mystitool by Mystical Cookie.

Why?

Well, for starters it has a great kit. It includes:

  • a tracker
  • flight assistance
  • landmark management
  • object rezzer
  • stationary camera (helpful in those large builds)
  • a builders work area and elevator when you need to get away from it all
  • instant table and chairs
  • URL catcher
  • and other handy tricks and devices (3 menus worth!)

Next it has a backup and restore system which makes keeping those setting and easy upgrades. And by easy upgrades, I mean easy! The server automatically hands you a fresh copy when an update is available. At your convenience swap tools, load settings again, and away you go.

This basic tool is a handy kit and I wear mine all the time. It’s available for $423 lindens (less than USD $2) through the usual places including SL Exchange.

Tags: , ,

Are we entitled?

applecare.jpgRob Griffiths of Macworld recently posted in his “editorial” section about his troubles with Apple and getting the services for a hardware problem. He discovered that unless you purchased additional warranty services from Apple, Inc., you were limited to 90 days of telephone support and then, should you have a problem with your computer, you would need to return the computer to the dealer, even if that meant the inconvenienced of schlepping the the thing down there. How outraged Mr. Griffiths was that Apple would not diagnose his problem over the phone!

Mr. Griffiths’ problems, by his admission, were solved by the dealer (a loose cable) but he took out his frustrations by writing a long, anecdotal editorial of questionable accuracy. (I, for one have used Apple’s services both in and out of warranty, and the worst that I ever got was that the product–an airport base station–had failed. Apple express shipped a new product to me and even paid for the return of the defective unit.) His one confirming data point it another Mac contributor who lives in rural France (the Alps) who was apparently required to return his product to the dealer. He expresses that Apple should diagnose his problem first, then decide if it is tech support or warranty.

I have worked technical support for some time myself. I know that most cases of “my hardware is bad” turn out to be user error. Apple has set up a warranty system that works for most people. Returning defective product, often by mail, is just one of those little inconveniences people have to live with. If you live near a dealer, this means a drive. If you don’t UPS and the Postal Service are ably there. I’ve been buying and returning things by mail for 30 years, so I don’t see what the hubbub is about.

Where I become troubled is Mr. Griffiths’ belief that he is somehow entitled to telephone support for the entirety of the warranty. Considering Apple’s policies are well posted and no dealer has ever forgot to discuss the advantages of AppleCare, was he entitled. In my opinion, no. In this world, you often get what you pay for. If you want champagne and lobster, you have to buy them. Apple offers an additional first-class support program for a fee. Alternatively, Apple could, as they did in the past bundle the first-class support into the computer’s price–alas, those days are gone!

I also object to Mr. Griffiths’ use of the press (Macworld’s News website) to air his personal opinions when he doesn’t get his way. When I questioned him on this practice, he wrote to me “This was an editorial piece, wherein I get to express my OPINIONS.” Indeed, this is the problem with the tech press and Macworld in particular. They use the front page for whatever they want. Call it an “Editor’s Notebook” if you like, but I think a better title might be “I’m entitled because I’ll smear you.”

This, my readers, is the tactic of the bully, and deserves to be repudiated by any thinking person. For a publication that claims itself as “Mac Experts” perhaps they should devote more of their space to accurate impressions versus Mr. Griffith’s all-caps OPINIONS.

Let Rob know what you think of his “notebook” at: RGriffiths@macworld.com.

Organizing Textures

I like textures . . . lots of them. For me, the simplicity of forms afforded by the range of prims available in Second Life are offset by the beauty and creativity of the textures you can add to prim surfaces. The problem is being able to easily store, organize, and work with them in SL. If only there was a HUD or something that could make the task a little easier. Even better, a HUD that could easily get out of your way while your working on an object without detaching it . . .

Well, there is a little engineering miracle. It’s called “Texture Master” and is developed by K.R. Engineering. This little tool lets you browse textures 16 at a time and put them into 16 categories.  It easily lets you zoom in and tile a selected texture before unpacking the texture back to your inventory. This great little gadget is easy to operate and puts your textures right were you need them.  With the categories you can keep all your stone, wood, and metal textures nicely organized.   Texture Master is available in a copyable version, so you can even organize by project into separate HUDs.  With access control, you can even share texture master with members of your group.

You can visit K.R. Enggineering’s store at: secondlife://Puea/99/104/25

TextureMaster.jpg

More H.P. Lovecraft Biography

poe1a.gifThree useful essays on H.P. Lovecraft’s background are readily available on the web and are worth a read. The first, by Lovecraft circle member Robert Bloch (1917-1994) best known as the author of Psycho, labors to compare the lives & works of Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. Bloch’s essay was was first published in Ambrosia #2 (August, 1973), and he rejects the simplistic superficial comparisons of their works and looks at the men’s similarities of character. The full content of the essay is printed here: http://alangullette.com/lit/hpl/bloch.htm.

gent.jpgThe second essay, by Alan Gullette, takes us on a walk through Loveraft’s literary works in relation to his life. A concise essay, Alan covers many of the key elements of Lovecraft’s literary achievements. The essay can be found here: http://alangullette.com/lit/hpl/gent.htm.

The third essay is a fairly complete rendering of H.P. Lovecraft’s life. Originally written by noted Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi for the H.P. Lovecraft Centennial Guidebook, it is now hosted by the H.P. Lovecraft Archives. Like most of Joshi’s work, this piece is scholastically well researched with considerable insight into the events of Lovecraft’s. The essay is posted here: http://www.hplovecraft.com/life/biograph.asp. The more detailed and voluminous biography, H.P. Lovecraft: A Life weighs in at 700+ pages and was published by Joshi in 1996, remains one of the most detailed and heavily researched biographies of Lovecraft.

Tags: , ,