Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SL UI Toggling In Linux

So this is proof I am not the sharpest knife in the deck, I am not as observant or knowledgeable as I would like to be. But, once I do find something, I want to share it because I have a feeling I'm not the only oblivious user in the world.

So today I learned that it actually is possible to change the keyboard behavior in Linux in such a way as to allow Ctrl+Alt+F1 to toggle the viewer UI in Linux. For a long time, I thought it was hard coded, that there was no way to stop the OS from trapping the shortcut, even if there was a way to stop it from switching to a PTY. But there is, and every flavor of Linux I've tested (a few Debian-based, a few RPM-based and one from scratch) includes some X keyboard tools, one of which we can use to disable the capture of Ctrl+Alt+F1 - setxkbmap.

It's a CLI command, no GUI used, though some desktops, like Unity and KDE, do have a GUI control panel you can use to get to the same function. I'm not going to describe all the possible GUI methods, instead I'm going to show you how to use the command in the Terminal. It's too simple to be burdened by a GUI.

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T in most Linux versions), then type:
setxkbmap -option srvrkeys:none
and press Enter. And from then on, you can press Ctrl+Alt+F1 and it will work in any program that wants it. To unset that, use:
setxkbmap -option
and press Enter.

A caveat to this option is that it affects all key combos that the X server would normally trap, like Ctrl+Alt+Backspace, so if you need the shortcuts normally, you want to unset the option when you're done. One way to do that would be to add those two commands to your firestorm script, setting the option before invoking the viewer and then unsetting near the end.

A warning: if you already have other options enabled, and you add srvrkeys:none, there isn't a way to unset a single option. You would have to script up a function that copies the current option set, adds srvrkeys:none, then restore the original option set when done. I expect I'll try to make that work, and if I do I'll publish the script here

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A tip to help manage inventory

Truth be told, there is no mechanism in place that will let you manage your inventory efficiently. There is nothing that will scan your inventory to find duplicate items. And there is nothing that will check an item's contents while the item is in inventory.But you can do a little bit of management for your textures, notecards and scripts. Here's what I do:

Using Radegast, I can make a backup of notecards, textures and scripts as long as they are full permission. It will copy the asset itself to your computer, and it will try to use the same folder structure as your inventory.

Then using any duplicate file checking tool, I scan that backup and then note which items I don't want to keep.

In the viewer, I look for that item (I did say there isn't an efficient way) and trash it.

I then delete all the local duplicates.

I know this isn't much, but if you collect and write as many scripts as I do, you'll find this a helpful process. Do it once a month or so and you can help keep your inventory free of full-permission duplicate notecards, textures and scripts.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Gyazo and Support

Sometimes a picture helps Supporters understand the problem you're trying to solve. If you're asked to post a picture, we don't want you to upload it, that's not free. And we like free.

So I'm going to explain how to use Gyazo to take screenshots and share the resulting uploaded URL.

1) Install Gyazo. The installation is no different than for nearly every other application you have ever installed on your computer, so I'm not going to go over that. I will, however, mention that the URL is https://gyazo.com/download. This will get you the Windows version if on Windows, Mac version if on Mac or the GitHub project page if on Linux. Don't let this scare you my Linux friends, there are really simple instructions shown on that project page.

2) Take a snapshot. This is fairly similar for all operating systems: use Ctrl+Shift+C (Cmd+Shift+C in Mac), then drag to select an area or click to select a window. After a few seconds, your web browser will open and you will see the image you captured.

3) Share the address. The URL for that image is already copied to your clipboard, so you can then paste it into a chat in SL, and everyone who sees that chat can open and view the image.

And that's all there is to using this free service.

My Linux users might find that Ctrl+Shift+C doesn't work, and that's because by default that isn't linked to Gyazo. But you will find Gyazo in your menu. You could put a copy on your panel, if permitted by the DE, or a launcher on the desktop. You could also add the keyboard shortcut to your settings' Applications Shortcuts, wherever that may reside (in XFCE it's in Settings > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts or Settings > Window Manager > Keyboard) and assign it to /usr/bin/gyazo.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Am I on the latest version

I see this question now and then, and thought I'd show you a way that enables you to determine the answer yourself.

The clues are in a few places, one being our blog, another being our downloads page. But the simplest way is on the login screen.  Here's a shot of a previous version of Firestorm:

It tells you that you are not on the current version.

If you don't see that sticky note and are unsure that you're on the latest, the splash page tells you. On the left is a previous version, on the right is the current version.

Notice that in each the current version is shown at the left, and toward the right is the version you're using. If they match, you're on the latest version

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Firestorm and Flash

This is a bit late, but it's important enough that I wanted to mention it. As of the latest 4.7.7 release, Firestorm now uses the new webkit system, which replaces and obsoletes the old one. This new one uses CEF (Chrome Embedded Framework), which for Flash video uses the Chrome-based PepperFlash player.

You will need to install this newer player in order to use/see flash media in world. It's easy to get, and you don't need a different browser. Simply go to https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/otherversions/, choose your operating system, then select the flashplayer "for Opera and Chromium".

The flash player for Firefox is no longer needed, nor will it work for SL. And again, you don't need to install Chrome or Chromium, you just need the player.

Also note, Linux users are still left out with no updates from Adobe. But installing Chrome or installing the Pepperflash plugin for Chromium should both satisfy the requirement

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Duplicate Inventory

Dealing with duplicate items in your Inventory isn't as easy as it would if the inventory were on your computer. There are lots of programs for all platforms. That doesn't mean it's impossible, just difficult. And for several reasons:
  1. Inventory items may have duplicate names, but they may be different items.
  2. Inventory items may have different names, but they may be copies.
  3. Inventory isn't presented to the user in any way that helps to find and remove duplicates, partly for the two reasons above.
If done completely within Second Life, it's a terribly slow process; even a couple hundred items could take several hours.

Here are a couple things I've tried that might help.

If you habitually name things for exactly what they are, you can copy a folder into a box. Inside the box, you cannot have duplicate names, and so the second copy gets a "1" tacked on the end. The next gets a "2", and so on. Once the folder is copied in, delete the contents of the folder, then copy everything back from the box to the folder. Repeat this process for other folders, and when you're done all your duplicates have numbers added to the names. In the filter field, enter a 1 or 2, then select all the files that are duplicates and delete them.

Don't delete folders because that will also delete anything not shown due to the filter.

If you want to reduce the repetition, you can do some sorting in your inventory cache. It's not a flat file, there are a lot of references that the viewer uses but isn't quite readable. And, once you're done, you still have to filter for each duplicate and delete it/them manually, but it can be a more complete check. For example, you can sort your duplicates by their creation date, or by inventory type, or by UUID, or any other parameter available. It will take some work to make the Inventory understandable, but once it is it reads like an inventory listing

There is no automated process I know of to do this for you, no script can access your inventory. And I personally wouldn't trust a viewer that had the ability to manage your inventory, unless it was the official SL viewer. I would like to see inventory management tools via their web site, but I won't hold my breath that they will do anything for inventory management.

In my next blog post, I hope to have crafted a way to read your inventory cache offline, organize it so that it's readable and usable. It may only be a Linux-based solution, but I will also try to make one for Windows. Apologies to my Mac friends, I don't own a Mac, I have zero experience with Mac scripting or text editing, and I don't have the means to solve either problem.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Nvidia flickering

I'm configuring my laptop and I found the Firestorm view would flicker. I thought maybe I had a bad chipset, or overheating or something, but then I found the official SL viewer didn't cause the flicker. So I did a little investigating and found some interesting details in the Nvidia driver.

This is a dual-card laptop, an Acer V15 Nitro to be exact. It has a 5th gen i7-5500U, so it has Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics. It also has an Nvidia GTX 950M. It cam with Windows 8.1 installed, and Acer told me it could not be upgraded to Win 10 Home for free because it didn't qualify, but it will. To do that I had to reset the laptop back to OEM condition, then let Windows Update have a couple rounds, then I updated to Win 10 and it activated. I had a Win 10 Pro license, so I wiped the machine and installed Win 10 Pro.

Anyway, after manually installing the Nvidia 361.43 driver, I saw that the screen would flicker when I moved. I found that it was some additional settings on the Nvidia files that might have been the cause. To start, I reinstalled the driver, choosing custom install and then in there I chose Clean Install. I let that run, then launched Geforce Experience. I am not a fan of Experience because in the past it had a tendency to mess up the driver it was helping you to install. But in this case, I found that not running it made some undesirable settings default, and after clearing those the screen no longer flickers.

So here's what I did. After installing, I let the installer launch Experience. Then I went to Preferences

Then BatteryBoost.

There I unchecked Battery Boost.

Since I have no other games that Experience recognizes as needing optimizing, I went to Games

There I unchecked Automatically scan for games daily (likely not relevant), and Recommended optimal settings.

Then I closed Experience and launched Firestorm. Now, because I performed a clean install of the drivers, I was told that my graphics had changed to the Intel chipset. But that's not a bad chipset, and with current drivers I was getting smooth motion. But I did go back into Nvidia and graphics was still very smooth.

So if you find that your Win 10 dual-GPU lappy with Nvidia is flickering in SL, try what I did and see if it helps.