Greenlife Emerald Viewer – radar, teleport history, and build options

Greenlife Emerald Viewer for Second Life

A few days ago I gave my first impressions of the Greenlife Emerald Viewer, an alternate Second Life viewer; today I’m examining a few more of its features.

Bianca Kendall reported two particularly useful features of the viewer: radar and teleport history. In this article, we’ll explore these along with some useful build options.

The Radar button is located on the bottom menu bar, next to the Communicate button. It has an impressive range of features. It detects all avatars who are within your Graphics draw distance and reports their name, distance, age in days, and the viewer (client) they are running, although it didn’t recognize any other clients I tested (Meerkat, Snowglobe, or the standard Second Life viewer).

Radar shows you avatar profiles and allows you to offer them a TP, to teleport to them, to mute them, and either to "track" or "Mark" them. "Track" means that you you can see where they are located; "Mark" sets a flag next to their name in the Radar listing.

Another Radar feature is Moderation; this is useful for dealing with griefers on your land or estate. You can freeze them for 30 seconds, mute them, eject them, or file an Abuse Report on them.

Another feature in Greenlife Emerald that’s lacking in the standard browser is Teleport History, which you find in the Emerald drop down menu on the main menu bar. It shows your teleport history for your current login session, allows you to repeat the teleport, to show it on the map, and to copy the SLURL to the clipboard.

Another feature that some people will find extremely handy is the Command Line option, which you find in Edit/Preferences/Emerald/Page 1. It allows you to type certain commands into chat that do things like teleport you to ground level, or to a specified elevation, or to a region, or to home. One feature I’ll find extremely useful is the teleport to camera position command. If you’re like me and you roam with your camera, it can be very handy to be able to easily teleport to a place your camera is showing you. Another feature that could be useful is Calc. It allows you to do calculations. Do you quickly need to sum a few numbers? Just type "calc" in the chat window followed by the numbers you want to sum. It works for more complex mathmatical expressions also.

Finally, also on Edit/Preferences/Emerald/Page 1 you’ll find some Build options that can be very useful. You can change many default characteristics for prims that you create. Do you want your default prim to be 4mx6mx2m, Phantom, Glass, with a specified texture from your inventory with partial transparency and glow? It’s easy. Just set specify it here and then it will be the default for all prims you create.

If you’ve used the Greenlife Emerald viewer, I hope you’ll share your experiences in the Comments section.

You can download the Greenlife Emerald Viewer at There’s a listing of available third party Second Life viewers at the Second Life Wiki, and you can read an earlier article in this series about  fifteen alternate Second Life viewers.

Burning Life 2009 preview – part two

OhMy_Shalala's camp in Second Life's Burning Life-Limbo sim

While taking pictures in the Burning Life-Limbo sim, I met two builders who exemplify one of the things I like best about Second Life: it’s global nature. We come from all over the globe, nearly every country, and speaking a wide array of languages. Without a virtual world such as Second Life, we’d be unlikely ever to meet, but in Second Life we can work together, play together, learn together. It’s an unprecedented truly global community.

The two builders are Penelope Parx, a German who came to Second Life to build, and Ally Aeon, an Italian designer and artist in both her first and second lives and who is using Second Life to learn English. She’s doing a fine job of learning. I’ll cover their builds in a future article. They are in the Burning Life-Nightingale sim, which I haven’t gotten to yet.

Yesterday I wrote about meeting OhMy Shalala riding on the bumble bee she had built. Today I visited her build, which is exactly what you might expect a bee lover to build: a gentle flower rising from the lifeless desert floor, looking like stained glass against the sky. You see it pictured here. It’s in the Burning Life-Limbo sim. In addition to this picture, I have ten more pictures of other builds in the slide show below. It contains pictures from the camps of Athena Rickena, Chimeracool Burner, Fabs Bonetto, Khloe Carter, OhMy Shalala, Pyewacket Bellman, and Vanshon Flow.

You can learn more about Burning Life at its website, The pictures in this article and slideshow were taken in the Burning Life-Limbo, Burning Life-Pyramid, Burning Life-Tungsten, and Burning Life-Zero Mile sims. They are closed now while builders are still constructing their creatings, but you will be able to visit them from October 17-31, 2009.

Khloe Carter's camp in Burning Life-Pyramid Chimeracool Burner's camp in Burning Life-Pyramid
Fabs Bonetto's build in Burning Life-Pyramid View in Burning Life-Tungsten
Mater Rhode's camp in Burning Life-Zero Mile Omni Market's camp in Burning Life-Zero Mile
In the sky over Pyewacket Bellman's camp in Burning Life-Tungsten The view from Burning Life-Tungsten looking out towards Burning Life-Zero Mile
Vanshon Flow's camp in Burning Life-Tungsten Athena Rickena's camp in Burning Life-Zero Mile

Greenlife Emerald Viewer – first impressions

Second Life's Emerald Greenlife Viewer login screen

I’ve been using the Greenlife Emerald Viewer for Second Life recently and I like it, although I’ve only begun exploring its features.

The first thing you notice is the different login screen. The photos are different – and I think better – than with the standard Second Life viewer, and you’re given several additional choices and more information.

At the upper right, you see "Turn BG Images OFF" and "Turn BG /w People OFF". Clicking the first toggles the picture on and off. Clicking the second apparently toggles showing pictures with people in them, though when testing it for this report, toggling it on didn’t show pictures with people in them. I find that with my computer at least, the images sometimes are very slow to appear.

The upper left shows the grid status, the current Second Life time, total Second Life residents (it shows 16,767,189 as of this writing), and the number logged in during the last sixty days and currently logged in. At the lower left, there’s a log of the most recent half dozen grid problems and their resolution.

One new feature on the login screen that I particularly like is the ability to log in at the location shown in the picture displayed on the login screen..

Emerald Greenlife Viewer Environment Settings menu

I do a lot of photography in Second Life and one of my great frustrations with the standard viewer is the indirect access to the Advanced Sky Editor. The Greenlife Emerald Viewer solves this problem by putting the Advanced Sky Editor, the Advanced Water Editor, and the Day Cycle Editor on the Environment Settings dropdown menu. They are still available in their usual places under the Environment Editor, but you no longer have to go through the Environment Editor to get to them. This for me is a huge improvement.

The other major changes from the standard viewer are a wide array of additional choices in a new Emerald tab under Edit/Preferences, and a new Emerald drop down menu from the top menu bar. You’ll find pictures of them in the slide show below this article. I haven’t played with most of them yet, but one feature that stands out is the variety of choices of skins. Another is the additional build options it provides. I haven’t tried them yet, but they could be useful.

There was one thing that irritated me about Greenlife Emerald until I found how to disable it. By default, it displays "(Emerald)" in bright green next to your avatar name, but you don’t see it yourself. Only others see it. I didn’t learn about it until I logged on with three of my avatars and noticed that each of them saw it displayed on the other two. It’s easily disabled. Just go to Edit/Preferences/Emerald/Page 1 and uncheck the box next to Display Client Tags.

The only problem I’ve encountered so far with Greenlife Emerald is probably not specific to this viewer. I tried taking a snapshot while my avatar was hovering at about 150 meters with my Graphics set to all maximums – screen size, quality, draw distance, etc. Every time I snapped a picture, the viewer crashed; it didn’t happen when I shot while standing on the ground, only when I was flying. The same thing happened with the standard and the Meerkat viewers but interestingly, it did not happen with the Imprudence viewer. I haven’t had the opportunity to repeat the test, so I don’t know whether it was a problem in the viewers or an unrelated problem that cleared up before I logged on with Imprudence.

I’ll give a more complete report on Greenlife Emerald in a future article. If you’ve used it, I hope you’ll share your experience in the Comments section.

You can download the Greenlife Emerald Viewer at There’s a listing of available third party Second Life viewers at the Second Life Wiki, and you can read an earlier article about alternate viewers.

Burning Life 2009 preview – part one

Wick Umino's build in Second Life's Burning Life 2009

Burning Life 2009 is coming! It will be open October 17-25, but beginning today I’m publishing a series of previews of what you’ll see. Based on the famous Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert, Second Life‘s Burning Life festival adheres closely to the spirit of the Burning Man. A cooperatively built city arises in the desert, a paragon of creativity, community, and excitement, and after it’s over every scrap is removed, leaving only bare desert floor. I’ve written about it previously here, here, and here. Now people are busy building their creations, which are overall very impressive. You can see advance views of Burning Life 2009 in the slide show that follows this article. The build pictured here is by Wick Umino.

While I was there today, a large bumble bee flew in from the desert sands and stopped, hovering in front of me. It was a "Giant Tamed BumbleBee!" and in a seat suspended from it was its creator, OhMy Shalala, a woman who loves creating in Second Life and who in real life is an avid gamer, musician, and photographer. She makes one person, two person, and five person versions of the bumble bee; you can see the single person version in the slide show below. OhMy has a build in Burning Life, which I’ll visit for a future preview article, and she’s a Burning Life ranger.

Be sure to check out the slide show below. It contains pictures from this week’s meeting of Burning Life rangers and of Burning Life builds in the camps of Artistide Despres (whose artwork was in the recent art auction), Cienega Soon, Patio Plasma, Salmon Carpaccio, Vicero Lambert, Wick Umino, and windyy Lane.

You can learn more about Burning Life at its website,

Cienega Soon's camp in Burning Life 2009  Vicero Lambert's build in Burning Life 2009
Artistide Despres' build in Burning Life 2009 Salmon Carpaccio's build in Burning Life 2009
The Distorted Room in Patio Plasma's build in Burning Life 2009 The interior of windyy Lane's build in Burning Life 2009
Patio Plasma's build in Burning Life 2009 OhMy Shalala's "Giant Tamed BumbleBee!"
Two rangers at the Burning Life 2009 ranger meeting on September 23, 2009 The ranger meeting in the Burning Life Playa on September 23, 2009

Virtual Goods Panel

Metanomics virtual goods panel

Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale and Chief Product Officer Tom Hale were joined recently by Second Life residents Harper Beresford and JeanieSing Trilling in a mixed reality panel at the Virtual Goods Conference in San Jose, California. Hale and moderator Robert Bloomfield of Cornell University were in San Jose while Rosedale, Beresford, and Trilling were in Second Life at the Metanomics Main Stage. The event was telecast by TREET.TV and could be watched both in world and on the Web. Live chat allowed Web viewers to talk among themselves and to ask questions of the panelists.

Trilling, an animator and scripter in Second Life who taught herself LSL and had never done any programming before joining Second Life, is a music teacher living in a small Pennsylvania town, population 400, that’s an hour from the nearest shopping mall. She said that there are many rural people like her in Second Life, and that for them, a virtual world provides easy access to live concerts and a social life that wouldn’t be otherwise available. She said it’s particularly valuable to her because as a mother of a four year old, getting away isn’t always easy, and that the social aspects of Second Life are "wonderful".

Hale added that Second Life has been a boon for parents, who can now "step out" after the kids are in bed, without leaving the house.

When Bloomfield asked Linden whether the demographics of Second Life are what he was expecting when he created it, he replied that he had no expectations. He was simply doing what he enjoyed and seemed right. He said that there has been too much stereotyping of Second Life residents, and that the standard deviation is too broad to make generalizations about the typical Second Life resident. He did say that there is one common denominator: they have free time to spend.

The lawsuit that Stroker Serpentine filed against Linden Lab recently was doubtlessly on everyone’s mind, but was never mentioned, at least while I was able to hear (connection problems cause me to lose about a quarter of the hour long discussion). Tom Hale spoke of the inherent difficulty of balancing the goal of an open platform against the responsibility to protect intellectual property rights and proposed a registry of trusted sellers as a first step. Audio problems caused me to lose much of this very important discussion.

Hale also discussed how Linden Lab manages the value of the Linden, Second Life’s unit of currency exchange, to prevent excessive inflation or deflation, and mentioned that there are serious currency traders in Lindens, some of them surprisingly young. He also reminded people that when they buy or sell Lindens on the Lindex, Linden Lab is not doing the buying or selling. The Lindex is an exchange, like a stock or currency exchange, in which sellers and buyers agree upon a price.

According to the website, the video of the conference will be archived and available to viewing within 24 hours. You can get more information at the website, and you can get more information about the conference from the Second Life blog.

A billion hours in Second Life

Users have spent a billion hours in Second Life

Linden Lab announced in a press release last week that Second Life users have logged over a billion – that’s 1,000,000,000 – hours in world. That’s the equivalent of 114,000 years! Users came from over 200 countries – over sixty percent are outside the United States. User hours grew 33% in the 2nd quarter of 2009 over the year before, and users log on for a total of 40,000,000 hours every month.

Those aren’t the only mind-boggling numbers. Linden Lab also reported that transactions between users in Second Life now total over US$1,000,000,000 and that the Second Life economy grew 94% in one year from the 2nd quarter of 2008 to 2009. Transactions between users are now averaging US$50,000,000 per month, and that total user transactions should reach a half billion US dollars this year.

How much time do you typically spend in Second each time you log on? If you’re average, you spend an hour and forty minutes in world. If you’ve created anything in Second Life, you’ve contributed to the 270 terabytes of user-generated content, a number that is doubling every year. A terabyte is a million megabytes!

Can you guess how many words are typed in Second Life chat every day? If you guessed 600,000,000, you guessed right. How do people type 600,000,000 words per day? By typing 1,250 IMs per second.

Did you know that total land area in Second Life is now roughly equivalent to land area of the US state of Rhode Island? That’s what Linden Lab asserts. The total land area in Second Life is now two billion square meters.

You can read the full press release at

Lawsuit against Second Life

Second Life avatar Stroker Serpentine
Stroker Serpentine (Kevin Alderman)

Can a plumbing company CEO become a millionaire by selling sex toys in a virtual world? Yes, Kevin Alderman has and earlier this month his real world company Eros LLC, along with Shannon Grei, filed a class action lawsuit against Linden Lab, owner of Second Life.

Alderman, whose avatar name is Stroker Serpentine, sells sexual animations and related objects in Second Life under the trademarked brand name SexGen and are, he asserts, among the most popular in Second Life. Grei manufactures clothing in Second Life.

The lawsuit accuses Linden Lab not only of taking inadequate action against those who violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by copying and reselling merchandise created and sold by others, even when it’s been trademarked or copyrighted, but of actually profiting from the infringements. The complaint alleges that although "Linden Lab may ban a Resident who is observed using CopyBot,… it will not ban a user for simply uploading or even selling copied content. In this case, Linden Lab’s enforcement is limited to that required by the "safe harbor" provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act", which requires filing a real-world lawsuit" and that few businesses in Second Life have the means to file such a lawsuit. The suit alleges that sometimes filing for DMCA protection within Second Life is actually counterproductive because the infringer will file a countersuit. Sometimes in fact, infringers will "threaten rights-holding merchants with the release of their protected assets for free if they file DMCA claims against their infringers."

Software such as CopyBot, BuilderBot, and CryoLife have been problems for merchants and artists in Second Life for some time. What are Linden Lab’s responsibilities, if any, in cracking down on them and protecting intellectual property rights of people who create merchandise and other objects in Second Life? The DMCA provides "safe harbor" status to service providers to protect them against the actions of their customers. Does "safe harbor" status apply to Linden Lab? And even if it does apply, is it adequate protection for those whose intellectual property rights have been infringed? The lawsuit complains that it is not sufficient, because it requires filing a real world lawsuit against the infringer.

Linden Lab has twenty days to respond. We can expect to know more in early October.

You can get more information about the lawsuit from The Alphaville Herald,, and You can get information about a lawsuit that Kevin Alderman filed in 2007 against alleged infringers at and you can read the full text of the current complaint against Linden Lab at The Alphaville Herald. As of this writing, Mr Alderman’s store in Second Life and his three websites are all offline, but his merchandise can found at kiosks in several locations in Second Life.

Mixed Reality

Ursula Le Guin appearing at a Second Life mixed reality event

An article on Friday by Des Moines Second Life Music Examiner Jen Harvey raises an important issue: the growing reality of mixed reality.

If you don’t know what mixed reality is, don’t feel badly. It’s going to be a huge factor in our lives in coming years, but so far few people know what it is, and even many of those who’ve experienced it don’t know what it’s called.

Mixed reality is what results when virtual worlds and the physical world is combined. One form it can take is an event like the one Jen Harvey writes about, where a musical performer plays in the physical world for an audience of humans while the performer’s avatar performs in a virtual world for an audience of avatars.

Another event is the one in the picture. In this March 2009 event, which you can read about here, famed author Ursula Le Guin was reading from her work at the Potlatch conference in Sunnyvale, California. Simultaneously in this mixed reality event, video of her reading was streamed into Second Life on two screens before a crowd of avatars. Avatars in Second Life were able to ask questions and Mrs. Le Guin answered them and was able to see the Second Life scene on a monitor in Sunnyvale.

The medium is only beginning to be explored. Some potential uses are for demonstrations at trade shows, classes with students who are both in the physical and a virtual world, and international appearances, such as when President Obama was recently beamed into Second Life from Ghana and was followed by a question between experts and an avatar audience. This writer wrote about the event in two articles, the speech and the interviews that followed.

Another example was Ray Kurzweil‘s appearance last month at the Second Life Community Convention in San Francisco. He wasn’t physically at the convention, but was in Second Life while convention goers in the St Francis Westin’s Grand Ballroom watched him on projection screens. This writer wrote about it here. In addition, many of the conference workshops were themselves mixed reality, with avatars in Second Life able to watch the San Francisco event and in some cases ask questions.

Mixed reality is still in its infancy. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you will. It’s coming and it’s going to be a huge factor in our lives.

Using multiple Second Life viewers simultaneously – part 4

Multiple avatars looking at multiple computers

In this picture, multiple avatars logged onto a single computer ponder the problem of using multiple avatars logged onto multiple computers. We discussed these options in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series.. One thing we haven’t yet discussed is the most basic: why would anyone want to use several avatars simultaneously?

If you already know, you can stop reading here, but if you don’t, read on. This column is for you. The following are some situations in which this writer has found using multiple multiple avatars simultaneously to be essential:

Photography: Often when you do photography, you need subjects. If you need more than one avatar in your shot, you either need to round up other people’s avatars to be subjects, or log on simultaneously with different avatars. This is often easier than coordinating with several other people. It can also be a convenient way of getting pictures from different angles without continually changing your camera position.

Machinima: Just as with photography, when making a machinima, it can be easier to use one or more viewers for camera control, as well as for controlling multiple avatars.

Multiple events: Sometimes there are two events you need to be at simultaneously. By logging on simultaneously as two avatars, you can be at both events at the same time. This can be particularly useful when you want to record transcripts or take photographs at one event while being active at another event. It allows you, for example, to record and save to a file the transcript of one meeting while simultaneously taking active part in a different meeting somewhere else in Second Life.

Comparing viewers: If you want to compare features of various viewers, it’s easiest if you have them all open at the same time.

Building: It can be useful to have your Second Life camera trained on an object from several angles while building, and especially when aligning prims.

There are other uses as well; these are just the situations in which this writer has found multiple viewers to be extremely useful.

The other parts in this series are:
Part 1: Four ways of running multiple viewers and avatars simultaneously
Part 2: Videos and more details about running multiple viewers and avatars on a single computer
Part 3: Running multiple viewers and avatars on multiple computers with a KVM switch.

Using multiple Second Life viewers simultaneously – part 3

Using multiple Second Life viewers on multiple computers

In Part 1, we discussed using multiple computers to use multiple Second Life avatars and viewers simultaneously. It has the advantage of having a much lower impact on computer performance than using a single computer, but also has two major disadvantages:

1. Expense: If you’re not using laptops, you could have the additional expenses of buying additional monitors and keyboards (and additional speakers if the audio will be different in each viewer).

2. Logistics: Even if you don’t have to buy additional monitors and keyboards, running Second Life on multiple computers is still a logistical nightmare. Most people don’t have room on their desks for three or four laptops or monitors and keyboards, and switching between them can be a hassle.

There’s a solution: a KVM switch. This device allows you to control several computers simultaneously with a single keyboard and monitor. Some KVM switches also allow you to use a single set of speakers. With the KVm switch, your hands never need leave your keyboard. With a few keystrokes, control switches to another computer. It can work really well.

This writer uses an IOGEAR Four Port USB KVM Switch (model GCS634U). There are other companies making similar products. I haven’t tested them, so I can’t recommend one over the other, but the IOGEAR has worked well for me. Be sure to read reviews carefully before deciding which one to buy.

If running multiple viewers simultaneously isn’t affecting the performance of your computer, then there’s no point in using a multiple computer setup. But if you’re running more than two viewers simultaneously or if you’re doing something that’s resource-intensive, such as making a machinima, then using multiple computers with a KVM switch may work better for you.

The other parts in this series are:
Part 1: Four ways of running multiple viewers and avatars simultaneously
Part 2: Videos and more details about running multiple viewers and avatars on a single computer
Part 4: Why on earth (ok, virtual Earth!) would someone want to run multiple viewers and avatars simultaneously?

You can get information about where to download alternate Second Life viewers at