Archive for September, 2008

Imprudence at Orange Island Innovation Week

I’ll be participating in a discussion at Orange Island tomorrow, Tuesday September 30 at noon SLT. I’ll be representing the Imprudence project as one of a panel of participants, including the lovely and talented Rheta Shan, who won the UI design contest a while back. The discussion will be moderated by Dusan Writer, and will cover innovation, UI, lightweight clients, and more! It should be fun times!

Progress Update – September 22

If I’ve been quiet here lately, it’s not that I’m slacking off. Quite the opposite! I’ve been busy importing all the patches that are going into the first version of Imprudence, and making some significant progress. I’d estimate that we are 85-90% done with the code work for the first release. Continue reading ‘Progress Update – September 22’

In-World Discussion Notes and Transcript

In case you missed or weren’t able to make it to the informal gathering earlier this week, but still wanted to go, Jacek has put the notes and a transcript up on the forums. It was great seeing everyone there. More ideas were discussed, with some interesting feature requests popping up (all included in the notes), and Jacek answered a few questions about the project.

In-World Discussion Sept 16 @ 1PM SLT

We’ll be having a casual discussion in Second Life tomorrow at 1PM, and anyone is welcome to attend. The topic will be ways to improve the SL user interface and usability. Lex Neva has kindly let us use her new plot of land in Hippotropolis for the chat. Thanks, Lex!

  • Topic: User interface, usability, accessibility, etc.
  • When: September 16 at 1PM SLT
  • Where: Hippotropolis (SLURL)

Improving Accessibility

Imagine this scenario: You’re confined to a wheelchair and have very limited use of your arms. You can’t use a physical keyboard, but you can handle a mouse or other pointing device well enough to work with an on-screen keyboard. You use Second Life; you enjoy moving around freely, talking with people, seeing all there is to see.

But one day you accidently press ‘M’ on the on-screen keyboard at the wrong time, and SL switches to mouselook mode. Exiting mouselook is a simple matter for someone fortunate enough to be able to use the keyboard, but for you, it’s impossible. You’re now completely stuck.

Continue reading ‘Improving Accessibility’

Transcript and More Forum Topics

The transcript of Jacek’s talk at Benjamin’s office hours has beeen posted on the wiki. Some choice quotes:

On why we’re doing what we’re doing, and word form Nicholaz:

[15:08] Jacek Antonelli: Linden Lab has, unfortunately, had a tendency to be rather slow and cautious about making changes. Which makes sense, from a business perspective. But I’m interested in pushing the envelope.
[15:09] Jacek Antonelli: Specifically, I want to focus on improving the usability of the viewer. For the most part that’s the UI, but also other issues like stability and the various tools that we use to do stuff
[15:10] Jacek Antonelli: By tools, I mean the things that let us do stuff, from IMing to shopping to building to taking snapshots
[15:11] Kippie Friedkin: Sweet.
[15:11] Charlette Proto: stability would have to be marginal issue at the moment, I don’t remeber a crash of the viewer sine last update
[15:11] Jacek Antonelli: Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky, Charlette :\
[15:11] Charlette Proto: graphic drivers have become more of a problem that is for sure
[15:12] Jacek Antonelli: I’m quite excited, because last night I received word from Nicholaz Beresford that we can use his stability and memory leak fixes in Imprudence. He even sent me some ones that he hadn’t submitted to JIRA :)

Continue reading ‘Transcript and More Forum Topics’

Talking Imprudence at Linden Rx Hour: Sept 11, 3pm

Grant Linden has invited me to talk about Imprudence at the Resident Experience Office Hour next week. I’ll talk for a little while about the project rationale and goals, then open it up for questions and discussion.

Where: Benjamin Linden’s office in Second Life.
When: Thursday, September 11, 3-4 PM PDT

Like all the Linden office hours, Rx is always open to anybody to attend, so come visit if you can make it! Rx topics cover a lot of different areas, including UI and usability, new user disorientation, and more. It’s always good times (if you’re interested in that stuff, anyway!).

If you have a question or discussion topic but can’t make it to the office hour at that time, leave a comment and I will try to bring it up for answering discussion next week!

Discussion Opportunities

There are several topics of discussion than anyone and everyone can participate in to help guide the course of the Imprudence project. We’re trying to serve SL users at large, so we need as many viewpoints represented as possible!

Participating in the forums or mailing list is a great way to contribute to the Imprudence project, even if you aren’t a tech whiz or fancy artiste.

Here are a few of the topics of discussion on the forums right now:

  • The Little Things that Drive You Nuts: Hate it when the inventory opens up all your folders? Wish you didn’t have to go through so many clicks just to invite someone to a group? Want the ability to set perms on multiple objects at once? Those are just a few of the hair-pullers that people have posted in the forums! What are your SL interface pet peeves?
  • Favorite Usability JIRAs?: Do you know a good JIRA when you see it? Post the issue numbers of some of your favorite open JIRA issues. We’re especially looking for patches we could integrate into the Imprudence Viewer. (You can also chime in on the mailing list, if that’s more your style.)
  • Features and commands I never use in the official viewer: Ever looked at the UI and thought, “Why does _____ need a button / preference / menu entry? Who even uses that, anyway?” Help us identify some of the features and commands that don’t need to be featured so prominently in the interface.

See you on the forums / list!

P.S. We’re also looking for bloggers to make occasional summary posts like this one, to highlight what’s new and interesting with the project. Interested in doing that? Email jacek.antonelli at gmail.

Imprudence Begins

I’m pleased to say that, after nearly a month of serious thought, planning, and preparation, the Imprudence project is ready to begin.

This is probably the first you’ve heard about Imprudence, so I’ll take a moment to explain it. Imprudence is (or rather, will be) a major fork of the open source Second Life Viewer. Our aim is to greatly improve the usability of the Viewer through community involvement, thoughtful design, modern development methods, and a pro-change atmosphere.

Why are we doing this? Because we, the Second Life Residents, need a better Viewer, and Linden Lab isn’t getting it done — not fast enough, anyway.

I’m sure they’re trying. They have made some modest improvement. But they are faced with intractable obstacles that block them from making real progress: a lack of resources, an overloaded QA process, and a large established user base who are, on the whole, sullenly content with the way things are — and tend to resist any change.

Those are tough problems, and I don’t foresee Linden Lab being able to get past them any time soon. Rather than continue to push against these obstacles with little to show for it, I’ve decided to carve another path. A community project has its own obstacles, but they are obstacles that we can overcome. They are obstacles we can act against for ourselves, instead of sitting on our hands waiting for someone else to act for us.

The Imprudence Manifesto lays out the rationale, goals, and methods of the project, and explains why we, the Residents, must take an active part in shaping our own experience. With the involvement of a wide range of community members — programmers, designers, and users of all types — we will be able to renovate the Viewer to meet the wants and needs of today’s Residents.

If you want to get involved with the project and make a difference, please see How You Can Contribute. You don’t have to dedicate all of your time to it; like any volunteer effort, you need only give as much time as you are able. And you don’t have to be a programmer; if we’re going to do this right, we need a wide range of people with many different skills, interests, and ideas.

If you have questions or comments, contact me via email (jacek.antonelli on gmail) or in-world IM (Jacek Antonelli).