How to Install New Windlights & 5 Packs to Download!

Photo Credit : Naminaeko

For anyone who is even casually a photographer in Second Life, you know that windlights are what make the beautiful shadows, delicate glows, or bold contrast in a virtual photo. As Linden Labs explains in their wiki:

WindLight is the codename for Second Life’s atmospheric rendering system that enhances skies, lighting, and other graphical aspects of the environment.

Our viewers come packed with a good number of ‘out of the box’ windlights we can use and tweak. The easiest way to change these on a whim is to go to World > Environment Editor > Environment Settings > check Customize my Environment > and play with the ‘Fixed Sky’ dropdown. To make your own windlight, you can open up Phototools and play around with the settings until it fits the mood you’re after.

However, many of us don’t have the time necessary to painstakingly alter the many sliders that make up a perfect windlight. Why not leave it to the professionals? Luckily, we can install windlights from users who have gotten them down to a science.

Where to Download

We’ve picked 5 places with professional packs of windlights to download. To begin, just download the one’s that you like to a folder on your desktop. We’ll go over the rest in the next section!

  • Strawberry Singh – This page lists a number of different packs of Strawberry’s. Many to choose from!
  • Naminaeko – For download are both 2015 and 2017 packs of windlights.
  • Magick Thoughts – Magick even includes some water windlights which change the color & reflectiveness of SL water!
  • Shaedynlee – Not only are there windlights for download, but she explains how to create windlights of your own!
  • Steffy Ghost – Four whimsical and delicate windlights for a feminine feel.

How to Install

  1. First, shut down Second Life
  2. Unpack the zip files that you downloaded and get them ready in one folder.
  3. Drag your unzipped windlights into one of these folders: ** NOTE : If you are not using the Second Life viewer, you will need to replace the part in the filepath that says ‘Second Life’ with the viewer you are using.

Windows XP – C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\SecondLife\user_settings\windlight\skies

Windows Vista & 7 – C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings\windlight\skies
or
C:\Program Files\SecondLifeViewer\app_settings\windlight\skies

Mac – use Go menu > Go to Folder and paste in: ~/Library/Application Support/SecondLife/user_settings/windlight/skies

That’s it! You’ll be able to open Second Life and see your windlights ready to use. Credit goes to Strawberry Singh for instructions and file paths.

 


 

Delilah Greyson (amoralie.triellis)
ZoHa Islands Blogger

Social Media for Second Life – Finding Your Virtual Social Circle

If you’ve ever found yourself bored and idling within Second Life, you’ve likely realized (with much frustration) how difficult it can be to find friends or people with similar interests by simply hopping from grid to grid.

With social interactions at the center of this virtual world, it’s a wonder that making connections is so difficult. Second Life’s interface based attempt at connecting the world is a destination guide, which lets you browse popular places and easily teleport to those which are currently populated. This list is full of dance clubs and beautiful vistas – but leave out the ‘niche’ communities where many of us find our homes and communities.

That’s where social media comes in. External social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter make connecting easier by letting us view a window into people around the grid via updates and information publicly shared. No need to worry about privacy concerns! Second Life social media users use their avatar’s name and photos to make accounts just like they would with their real life identity.

Of course, social media doesn’t take away the fear of having to make that first step at communication. It does give us many more opportunities to find people to talk to, places to go, brand new releases, and breaking news – something you just can’t find in world!

Ready to explore Second Life like you’ve never seen it before? Let’s see where people are talking…

Facebook

The most widely used social media platform is Facebook because of its ability to easily find and connect with other Second Life user and businesses.

A large amount of clothing stores, venues, events, and clubs have created pages for following which allows users to keep up to date with things that are happening now in world. If you’re ever bored, within a few scrolls you’ll see the release of a new item to check out – or a link to a blog post that features a new location to explore. Of course… messaging a new friend is only ONE click away. (Don’t be shy!)

Facebook is essentially the largest external hub of information from businesses and users alike. It’s a place to share art, exciting personal achievements, ask questions about how to do things within Second Life, post pictures of the avatar you’ve worked hard on, and keep up with old friends. With everyone sharing their stories, you’re bound to find a few that were meant to fit perfectly with yours.

Check out the Zoha Islands facebook page to see what it’s all about!

Disclaimer : One slight hiccup – Facebook does NOT condone the creation of accounts that are not your real life identity. Your account can be reported and removed for using your Second Life identity. While this fact is widely known, people still continue to use the platform and re-make accounts after they’ve been deleted simply because at the moment is the best social media platform for Second Life! The only way to stay ‘safe’ is to use your real life name. It is not mandatory (most people don’t) but advised to stay away from being reported.

Onlinker

In reaction to the accounts that were getting reported on Facebook, a new social media platform especially for Second Life avatars was created. Their mission statement reads…

OnLinker.com is safe and friendly social network for Second Life users. Make new friends, find romantic connections, share your photos, create events, write blogs and much more… all for free, and without the possibility of being banned for being ‘not real’. Because at OnLinker, Second Life is our focus.

With much of the same features as Facebook, OnLinker looks to be a promising source for social connections outside of Second Life. It is fairly new, so users are still migrating from Facebook and still using Facebook more heavily. But in anticipation for a harder crackdown on fake accounts in the future, it’s advised to hold an account here and start supporting OnLinker as your main social media platform.

Flickr

If you’re more interested in ‘viewing’ second life happenings rather than being an active social member, Flickr holds a large collection of photographs and artwork from Second Life users (at a much higher resolution than Facebook!). Stores and businesses also post photos of their latest happenings, so you can always stay up to date. Join groups within Flickr to become a member of your favorite communities!

Many contributors to Flicker post a link to their blog in the description of their photo. Bloggers tend to detail out which items they are wearing in their photograph, and sometimes give you the location of the shoot as well. This is a great way to find new things and get a feel for popular spots within Second Life! Its against Flickr’s policies to allow users to post directly to a money making source – so you won’t find MP links, but that’s what blogs are for!

Zoha Islands posts pictures on our Flickr page!

Twitter

Twitter is popular for 140 character updates that are published as quick quips or thoughts. Many people use twitter to share their photos or blog posts, and some use it just to think out loud.

While not the most popular of the social medias for Second Life, it can be useful for short attention spans and getting out streams of thoughts. It’s all about what resonates with how you take in information, and some people are just #TeamTwitter over Facebook!

Check out the Zoha Islands Twitter page to get a feel!

Plurk

Plurk is most similar to Twitter, and it’s more ‘Second Life focused’ companion. (Much like Onlinker is to Facebook).

It does have quite a few differences than Twitter while its the same in essence. The timeline scrolls horizontally rather than vertically, and posts can be much longer than 140 characters. Users are given a karma score so you can easily see who is active and weed out people who aren’t. It’s similar to Facebook in that people can respond to your posts and start a conversation.

Unique to Plurk is that you can post anonymously and people can still respond to your post – so you can get your feelings out while hiding.. And still remaining social!

We’ve got a Plurk too! Check the Zoha Islands Plurk Page.


While not a comprehensive list of all of the specialized platforms on which we can meet people, these social media sites can be a great help to finding like-minded communities and and events. They all work towards the goal of bringing us closer in world, and can enrich our Second Live’s through a deeper connection and capacity for immersion.

There’s something for everyone within Second Life – I hope these outlets help you find yours!

Delilah Greyson (amoralie.triellis)
ZoHa Islands Blogger

The Master Plan to Organize your SL Inventory and Keep it Clean!

One of the most difficult features for both newbies and veterans of Second Life to manage is the hard to navigate and terribly messy inventory system. Folders upon folders of outdated products, duplicates, lost items, and things you completely forgot you purchased are all hidden somewhere in the depths of folders you’ve accumulated over time.

But don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be a scary endeavor to manage. We’ve gathered some guidelines and secret tips to get your inventory freshened up and easy to navigate!

New year, new inventory. Find a sandbox, hop on your pose stand, and let’s get started!

** Note, we’ll be demonstrating these tips using Firestorm Viewer 5.0.1.52150 – your interface may look different, but the tips should still be applicable for many versions and viewers!

Create the Basic Folders

Start by outlining the basic structure of items you have. To begin, don’t get too detailed! Reorganize your items into their very general folder, then you can go back into each folder and make sub-categories later on.

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Body
  • Hair
  • Decorations
  • Furniture
  • Buildings & Structures
  • Animals
  • Cars & Riders
  • Textures
  • Poses
  • Animations & Dances
  • Holiday
  • Games
  • Scripts

Everyone’s inventory is very different. You’ll be able to customize this outline specific to you – and you’ll most certainly be adding folders as you go!

Again, make sure at this step you are only making the very general folders, then going back into each folder later to organize them further. This will help make a big task not so daunting to start!

Delete the Demos

Before you get started, do a quick inventory search for ‘DEMO’. Delete any demo folders and objects that may be hanging around – you can always go get another one for free if you really did need it! But chances are, they’re just taking up space.

Unpack Your Received Items  (& delete the boxes they came in!)

The first step I like to take before doing the real organizing is to empty the packages out of my ‘Received Objects’ folder. 9 times out of 10 when you purchase an item, the designer will send you a folder with one box. That box has the real goodies inside and is meant to be unpacked. Sometimes we unpack the item and forget to delete the folder and box it came in.

Go through your received items and see if you have any folders you already unpacked but forgot to delete. If you’re not sure, unpack it again. You can always delete the duplicates later.

If you find a Received Item that is not packaged and already unpacked within the folder, you can move that to one of your main folders now.

Unpack your Objects (& delete the boxes they came in!)

Once your received items folder is empty, we can move onto the Objects folder! This folder is also one of the places that unpacked items you purchase can end up. You can delete boxes here that you’ve already unpacked, or unpack them again to be sure.

You will have a lot of items in here that are not in a box. For instance if you picked up an item from a Gacha Mall that was already unpacked, it will end up here. We of course don’t want to delete the goodies, so place these items into the folders they belong in.

Woohoo! Another clean folder. We’re getting closer to being able to easily navigate our inventory.

Linked (Lost) Items

Looking for an item you SWEAR you had and know the name of, but can’t find for the life of you?

If you’ve ever accidentally forgot to pay rent and had your items sent back to you in a big cluster, you may have some items in your inventory that have a grid cube next to them like this:

This is because you either picked up a bunch of items together, or someone returned items to you all at once in a group. Find a big open sandbox and rez this item. Everything will be rezzed just the way it was picked up, and one by one you can pick up those objects and they’ll be returned to where they belong.

There’s that platter of burritos I’ve been looking for…

Drag & Drop!

Now you’re ready for the big task, getting all of your objects and folders into their main category.

Personally, for a single item within a folder, I like to take out the item and delete the folder it came in. This just reduces the number of clicks to get me to what I want and removes all of the note cards and landmarks I have a thousand of.

Below are a couple of tips to help you do this…

Multiple Inventory Windows

After 8 years in SL I finally discovered this life saving inventory tip. Two inventory windows to drag and drop items from side to side.

Open up your inventory tab, and in the bottom left corner click on the gear. Choose ‘New Inventory Window’ – and viola!

You now have two inventory windows to work with. I like to use one to keep open the folder I am working with, for instance ‘Shoes’. Then in the other, I search for all of the shoes I have to drag into the other window. Such a time and frustration saver!

Filter by Type

Useful for finding all of your Animations, Gestures, Landmarks, Scripts, ect is the filtering feature. In your inventory window click on the gear in the bottom left corner. Then click on ‘Show Filters…’. Here you can only click the checkbox of the item you want to find, for instance Gestures. Then, drag all of your gestures into the gestures folder to make digging around for them a whole lot easier!

In this example, I would go through and delete all of the baghold animations as well. A good touch to a purchase! But I don’t need those anymore..

Delete those Pesky Duplicates

When an item is copy, you may find yourself placing and picking up multiple versions.

The item you want to keep is the one that is simply (transfer) delete all of the (no modify) (no transfer) items. You will still have a copy you can place a thousand times!

A good habit to get into is deleting copy items that you want to remove from your sim rather than picking them back up. You will still have the main item in inventory, but you don’t need more than that!

Delete Unneeded Sizes

Never going to use that size XXXXXS that your sweater came in? Delete it! Keep the one, or ones that you will use. This will help you know exactly which one to attach the next time you go to wear it! And remember, if you end up needing another size down the line, you can always redeliver.

Resist the Hoarding Temptation

If you don’t know what an item is, rez it or try it on. If it’s hideous and you would never want your friends to see it… it’s time to say goodbye.

Yes, I mean to that beautiful prim dress you purchased in the summer of 2010 and haven’t tried on since. You can do it, be strong.

Sub Category Organizing

Once you’ve finished organizing all of your items and folders into their main folder, you can go back in and organize them further if you wish. An example would be:

  • Hair
    • Short
    • Long
    • Updo
    • Occasion

Or

  • Hair
    • Blonde
      • Short
      • Long
      • Updo
      • Occasion
    • Brunette
    • Black
    • Red
    • Pastel

Make this specific to your items and inventory – organize however you want!

Upkeep

Now that the hard work is done and you’ve got a squeaky clean inventory, make sure to keep it clean by:

  • Deleting the boxes and folders that you’re goodies came in
  • Deleting demos after you’ve tried them out
  • Organizing into your main folders as often as possible
  • Unpacking linked/lost items as soon as  you see them
  • Deleting copies rather than keeping multiple
  • Deleting sizes of clothing you’ll never use
  • Deleting old outdated items that you’ll never use again

Managing your inventory may seem like a daunting task, but the time it will take you to do it will save you just as much when you go looking for that item you have in mind!

Take it in small steps and work on it day by day. You may just find some hidden treasures you forgot about along the way!

Good luck!

Delilah Greyson (amoralie.triellis)
ZoHa Islands Blogger

Keep Your Second Life Safe

Second Life SafeOnline safety is just as important in Second Life as it is anywhere else. While Second Life itself ensures a lot of safeguards and TOS to keep things streamlined, there are a lot of instances where a user may learn the hard way that there are simply some unsavory people in our blissful virtual existence. So let me share some tips on how to avoid some common scenarios and ensure your Second Life is even safer.

1. The almighty Catfish

Catfishing is very common in Second Life. Now, I am well aware that Second Life is a place of escapism for many. Many people want to be whatever and whoever they want to be. However when you’re finding that someone wants to get to know you on a more personal level, it’s sort of important to ensure that what they’re sharing is accurate.

I had learned the hard way that people will seriously put on a false persona not just in Second Life, but also falsify their real lives as well. In one instance a few years ago, I spent two months involved with someone in Second Life that pretty much lied about everything. Had pictures of themselves “real life”, a whole backstory, job they didn’t really have, etc etc. However, I noticed that they would never talk on voice (and always had a reason not to) so when I pushed for them to meet outside of the game, of course they went running. Ultimately my gut instinct proved to be correct.

Here are some simple ways to ensure that the person you’re talking to isn’t putting on a show about who they really are:

• Have them speak on voice. If they are unwilling to speak on voice, there is a good chance they’re hiding their real life gender and/or real life relationship status. In rare cases, they could also be hiding that they’re not the age they say they are (I’ve heard of spotty stories where minors have hopped onto other people’s accounts).
• Skype is a wonderful thing. Ask them to do a Skype video call. Again, this is appropriate where someone is claiming they want to invest time with you and claim there’s potential outside of Second Life. This way, you can see that they are who they say they are.
• Did they send you a picture? Reverse search the image to make sure they didn’t steal someone else’s. Ultimately, this was exactly what I did to nail the person I was speaking with. I found out they were the opposite gender from what they claimed, and that they had been stealing pictures from some poor college-aged sap. Go HERE to upload and reverse search an image.
• If they’re local to you, ask them to meet up in a safe public place. Not many will have this option, but a request to go for coffee could confirm or eliminate any worry.

2. The Scammer
One thing that happens too often is that you meet someone that seems like a decent person. Within a few weeks they become “good” friends or more and then….BAM! They suddenly have some life altering crisis where they are financially strapped. They may start asking you for money, Lindens, things to be sent to them.

Honestly, this should really be avoided unless it’s a situation where here is a supported fundraiser by a recognized group (for example, when Linden Lab’s supports a fundraiser for someone who is ill in real life) or it’s someone that you truly have confirmed everything for in the “catfish” section and have known for a while. But, in most cases, it’s a sign you need to run screaming. Panhandling in SL is otherwise a huge no-no.

And, it’s said a lot, but don’t click any mystery links in chat, profiles or elsewhere in Second Life. People have links that alter your avatar totally, mess up your computer etc. If you don’t know them well, don’t click.

3. The Alt

This is common, this is easily avoided. There are some folks that are simply an alternative account (meaning, a spinoff of the original) and may engage in behavior geared towards taking advantage of others. Here are some simple things to check when deciding if someone’s account is suspicious:

• If they look like they are head to toe mesh and well-versed in Second Life ways (emoting, animation override, has a lot of land, heavily into breedables or some other time-intensive activity) but their account is less than 4 months old, that’s an instant red flag.
• When in doubt, ask. Sometimes people have a reasonable explanation, but generally speaking if you have to pry, it’s not a good sign. Some people do have business alts, some have ones for when they want to not be in their roleplay character, etc. Those folks tend to be straightforward about it.
• Read their profile. If they say something to the tune of “getting a fresh start” that’s a pretty blatant indication of an alt. It’s also an indication of so much drama on a previous account that they decided to ditch it and create a new one.

4. This goes without saying, but…….

Never share your password. Sometimes this seems like this is in dire circumstances but honestly, I’ve seen too many people lose their entire balance, their businesses and their inventory due to trusting the wrong person with their credentials.

Those are just some basic tips to keep your Second Life safe and easy. Have you ever had a crazy experience that was a tough lesson? Any surefire ways you utilize to avoid those pesky people out to cause issues? I want to hear them!

Bria Oceanside
ZoHa Blogger/Social Media

Giftbot Discount Scam in Second Life

It never fails to amaze me at the lengths people will go to get something that doesn’t belong to them. How these people sleep at night is beyond me. But sure as the sun rises in the east, if there is a way for a scammer to get your money, be it real life dollars or Linden dollars, they will do it. Strawberry Singh recently blogged about a scam (that’s a clickable link) that is going around SL right now called the Giftbot Discount Scam.

Strawberry landed at Glam Affair and as soon as she landed there, she received an object from a one day old Second Life resident. The object was supposedly a discount object that claimed it would give her 60% off at Glam Affair, where she had just landed. Apparently many merchants have been complaining about these giftbot avatars that send these kinds of things to their customers as soon as they land on the sim. It’s basically an object and once you wear/attach/rez it, you get this kind of message asking you to give it access to your linden dollars:

gift bot

Because people have received this object that is supposedly for the store where they just landed, they trust the object and accept without really reading. Too late, they realize that the bot script has stolen all their lindens. Every content creator tries to make sure their customers have a pleasant shopping experience and their sim is a safe place to shop. These kinds of things can make that difficult.

Strawberry goes on to say:

“Unfortunately there is not much the content creators can do aside from letting Linden Lab know about the account and banning it from their sim. However, . . . it’s futile since these are bots and a new one is created by the culprits within minutes to replace the banned one.

“If this sort of thing happens to you, these are the steps that you can take:

• Deny/Delete Object: Immediately deny or delete object without attaching, rezzing or wearing from your inventory.
• Report: File an Abuse Report against that resident/bot right away to make Linden Lab aware of it so they can take the appropriate action.
• Block: Block/Mute that avatar/bot right away.
• Inform Sim Owner: It might be a good idea to also let the sim owner know, even though they cannot do much else but ban from the sim.

“Most of these bots that you may encounter on popular sims will be named ‘shopsdiscount’ or ‘giftbot’ or something similar. So if you encounter an avatar like that, especially if they are only a few days old, please don’t accept anything from them. However, be aware that the names change frequently, it’s not really the name of the avatar that matters. What matters is the entire idea about this discount/free gift scam that you need to be aware of , watch out for and also tell your friends and family about. We don’t need more people losing money to these scammers.

“Hopefully if you ever experience this kind of script asking for permission to access your lindens, you will make sure the source is a legit one and you will read it carefully before accepting because this kind of message and script is used legitimately in certain situations. [There are some] instances in which you may accept giving permission to access your lindens:

• If you are a shopper, certain vendors that have shop at home HUDs sometimes require access.
• If you are a merchant and setup a certain type of vendor, you may need to give access for various reasons such as: to give refunds to your customers in certain situations.
• For a vendor at an event or rental sharing percentage with landlord.
• For different charity or partnership vendors.
• If you are a DJ, perhaps you may need to give access to a tip jar if you are splitting tips with club or host.”

There are certain legitimate situations where this kind of script for giving access to your lindens is acceptable. Just keep in mind that these scams are out there, and if you do not 100% know what the thing is and where it came from, and are not entirely certain it is legit: DO NOT ALLOW! It’s just not worth the risk! When in doubt, throw it out!

I hope this raises your awareness of this latest scam. We all need to watch out for one another and pass this information along so that hopefully these scammers will no longer have victims in Second Life.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media

Windows 10 and Second Life

Just a quick note about Windows 10 and SL compatibility:

After my post yesterday, a resident messaged me and told me they could not use SL after they upgraded to Windows 10. The first time after I upgraded to Windows 10, I also tried logging into SL without luck (I use Firestorm viewer).

However, what I discovered was that the graphics drivers have to be updated after you install Windows 10, and that is not something that Windows 10 prompts you to do. Apparently the upgrade rolls your graphics card drivers back to their original version. If you try Windows 10 and are not able to log in, try updating your graphics drivers and see if that makes a difference.

I remain respectfully yours,
~ Suzanne Piers, ZoHa Islands Blogger/Social Media