Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Embodied souls: Life Lessons: Shopping

Days saved: 1 (good); communication malfunctions: 1 (bad)

As regular readers will know, am one of coorganisers on regular Thursday meeting of SL educators i.e. Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. In VWER we
a) discuss hot topics of day or
b) listen to someone talking about hot topic of day or
c) reassure each other that is really cool to be a SL educator: latter achieved by talking about same old same old viz. why don’t people “get” SL, why doesn’t SL fix group chat, will SL disappear when SL 2.0 comes along, what are good examples of teaching./assessing/learning/research in/about SL or
d) tell each other what the weather’s like where we are.**

Most exciting VWER recently was 3 weeks ago when Kali and I had a 2-avatars-1-voice experience, that was nearly a 2-avatars-no-voice-at-all experience. Kali was due to interview 3 v.v. interesting people but sadly had SL voice problems, which is not total bar to interviewing but using text chat tends to make things slower. Also more difficult to manage voiced people if YOU are in chat, not that would want to imply that any speakers would be in need of managing, cough.

Anyway was emailed earlier in day by Kali saying her SL voice was kaput, and could she skype and speak via my avatar. I said no problem, obs. However was busy day and when had seen last student out of RL office felt was in need of some play and rest and so checked out whether kittycats needed feeding and then took opportunity to finally tp into The Arcade (see 1st pic) and scope up umpteen gatcha items that will doubtless sit unused in inventory for forseeable future (except for peacock shown in 2nd pic, cute or what).

As sidenote, am now on constant lookout for new items of food for SL cat cafes (see yummy 3rd pic), unfortunately whilst have increasing cornucopia of exquisitely fashioned cupcakes, steak dinners, pretzels, fruit plates etc. is also rise in % of SL food that simply sits there and looks ornamental, rather than giving portion of said food on click. Would not want clients of the Yoshikawa chain of cat cafes clicking madly on array of coffee and cakes in vain hope of obtaining something to drop into inventory and ADD (here’s me stuffing face with pixel muffin etc. etc.).
Think should be some kind of SL food standards authority decreeing that only allowed to call something “SL food” if can actually eat it. Perhaps non-edible SL food could be called food sculpture, equivalent of RL food being made of plaster or plastic.

To return to the VWER meeting. Whilst was technically free for hour and a bit before VWER meeting, was indulging in SL wandering around and random thoughts as above, so was less than half hour before VWER meeting before tp-ed into the VWER auditorium to say hi and work out the voice thing.

Now must confess that had engaged zero brain cells in thinking this through, but had vague consciousness there was something wrong with arrangements that had been made. When using SL listen via headphones and speak via USB mic. Kali was going to skype and then was expecting to speak via me. How was the sound to go from my ears into SL?
Think now that must have had unquestioning faith in Kali’s ability to manage magic mind transfer, though suppose if she could do that would not have had the voice problem in the first place. Magic mind transfer would solve SL’s frequent voice problems at a stroke though could also cause embarrasment when one forgot to turn off mind transfer and broadcast all sorts of unsuitable things to assembled avatars. Although forgetting to turn mic off can also be embarrassment as I and others have found out hard way, thus does experience teach us life lessons.

Well, to cut long tedious story short was some fruitless inteplay as start time of VWER session approached and indeed was upon us, before realised that headphones were the problem. Essential element for the thing to work was placing microphone next to speakers that had sound coming out of them. Once this was realised, twas but a moment’s work to turn on speakers and so forth and away we went with efficient and effective interviewing process.

Sat in audience being Kali’s dummy and reminding people periodically that was not her. If had put more effort into whole thing could in fact have put notice over head saying KALI IS SPEAKING THROUGH SHEILA but there you go, most people probably didn’t even notice.
So what life lessons come out of THIS experience?

1) Do not go shopping when should be preparing for serious professional event
2) Test things out more than 10 mins before intending to use them if do not want to appear idiot
3) Apply simple questions such as “Is this going to work”?

In fact can dispose of first 2 points, since if apply item 3) will swiftly emerge whether or not there’s time to go shopping or whether need to be
• squinting at incomprehensible Windows control panel
• pulling jack plugs in and out
• checking and unchecking boxes in SL preferences
• deciding which of the unlikely sounding audio device names listed on the pull down menu is the one that is the actual name of the audio device you have plugged in and therefore want to activate

Final life lesson is that if have ace people (i.e. me and Kali) trying to cobble together a solution then solution will be duly cobbled and no-one else will be aware was problem in first place.


** NB VWER is one of fave things in SLife so all this tongue in cheek ahem ahem

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