I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but LL is determined to force it down our throats. There’s plenty of discussion elsewhere about the pros and cons of the new Viewer 2.0, so I won’t pick that up here. Instead, I’ll just bring a few tips that might make your experience a little bit better.
Because I’m a builder, I’m approaching this mainly from the point of view of a creator in Second Life, but my first tip is one that will be useful for anyone: download the Starlight skin!
Let me explain (if you don’t already know). Viewer 2.0 comes with the ability to change ‘skins’ — in other words, the appearance of the interface. At the moment, unfortunately, they don’t seem to have put in place an easy mechanism for installing and switching between skins, so for now it is a case of copying and renaming folders. If you are comfortable with doing this, there is already one third-party skin which is well worth having, which is the Starlight skin created by Hitomi Tiponi.
Starlight, Viewer 2.0 skin
The most significant thing that is does is to change the right-hand slidebar so that it overlays the main viewer screen, rather than squashing the display. This squashing of the display seems to be a major complaint about the new Viewer (and I certainly don’t like it myself, and find it very disconcerting and distracting), so a fix to this is more than welcome.
If you do regular building or scripting in Second Life, you probably find the Advanced/Debug menu invaluable. Under Viewer 2.0, the Advanced menu can be summoned up using the traditional CTRL+ALT+D incantation. At the bottom of this menu you will find a ‘Developer Menu’ option — select this, and a Developer menu (essentially the old Debug menu) will appear, will the old familiar options in it.
Bizarrely, this seems to be a well-hidden option, unless I am missing something obvious (which is always possible). To get to this, open the sidebar, and select the Groups tab. It is not immediately obvious, but there is a right-click menu available for the group names, and this menu has the ‘Activate’ option.
It took me quite a while to find that one…
Possibly the only reason to really celebrate the arrival of Viewer 2.0 is that we finally have the long-awaited HTML-on-a-prim. Some people have reported problems with getting this to work, but so far it has worked impeccably for me.
To display a resource from the web (usually a webpage), create a new prim and size it appropriately. Select a single face before continuing. On the texture tab of the build menu, there is a new ‘Media’ option at the bottom, with a small plus sign. Click the plus, and a new dialog will appear. Fill in the URL of the page you want to display, and click Apply.
If all goes well, the page should display on the selected face of the prim. The page will be fully active — if there are links, they can be clicked on.
Note that you can apply different media sources to different faces. Here’s a cube running two YouTube videos simultaneously:
For a jaw-dropping example (and a hint of what might now be possible), try applying http://collabedit.com/ to a prim face, then clicking the ‘Click here to create a new document’ button.
In a few seconds you will have a document which you can edit directly from Second Life. On a prim.
What’s more, it’s collaborative, so in theory someone else can edit the same document with you (I’ll admit that I haven’t had a chance to try the ‘collaborative’ part, so I’m not sure how or even whether it will work…once I find out, I’ll let you know).