Daily Archives: February 27, 2012

Received Items: the good, the bad and the “$%^&*!”

So, as I was updating the Viewer Round-up for this week, I thought I’d have a run with the new Received Items Beta launched last week.

Those familiar with Direct Delivery testing will already be somewhat familiar with Received Items – it is a section of the Inventory floater wherein anything purchased from the Marketplace will show up. However, the overall functionality has now been extended so that anything you obtain or receive by way of a “new” inventory item will pop-up within it.

To test the new functionality, you’ll need to run one of the following versions of the official Viewer: the Beta (3.2.9.249510 or later), Development (3.3.0.248913 or later) or the Direct Delivery Project Viewer (3.3.0.249395 or later). For testing, I used the latest Beta, 3.2.9.249510, which has been available since before the Received Items Beta was announced, but which has the Received Items capability available within it.

You’ll need to be on the Beta grid (Aditi) to carry out the tests, and will need to visit one or more test regions, as detailed in the Received Items Beta wiki page and my original blog post on the subject.

Where to Find the Panel

I’ve read reports of people having problems finding Received Items. It should appear as a “button” at the bottom of your Inventory floater. Clicking the “button” will open-out the panel.

Opening Received Items

If, for any reason, the button is not apparent within your inventory floater, try this (with thanks to Innula Zenovka):

  • Go to the Fast Return test region on Aditi (this is the LIGHTER GREEN area within the GC Test 9 region)
  • Rez a prim and wait for the auto-return to send it back to you – it’ll take around a minute
  • Open your inventory floater and the Receive Items “button” should now be visible – click on it to open it as described above, and your prim should be sitting inside it

I spent an hour or so playing in the test regions to see what Received Items does / does do, and here’s a summary of my findings, together with some broader observations and feedback.

Situations where there is no change to current behaviour

  • Rezzing an item from inventory – the item will still return to its originating folder when you TAKE it back
  • Taking a copy of a rezzed object you own will still return it to your Objects system folder
  • Trying to rez / build in a no rez area will generate the usual warning without anything being rezzed / returned
  • Trying to move an in-world object into a parcel with NO OBJECT ENTRY set: item will be blocked and the usual pop-up displayed

Situations where Received Items IS used

  • Creating a new object or linkset and taking it to inventory
  • Taking a copy of an object belonging to someone else (permissions allowing
  • Purchasing / taking anything from an in-world object (prims set to give / sell, Vendor systems, etc.)
  • Anything returned to you manually by someone else, or via parcel auto-return
  • Anything someone else gives you in-world
  • Items sent to you while off-line
  • Multiple items in a single delivery (e.g. items from a suitably scripted giver or passed to you via folder)
  • Anything you purchase via SLM or which is brought for you as a gift.

Other points of note

  • When receiving items via a transfer when on-line, you will still receive a pop-up notification – but without the ACCEPT button, which has been replaced by SHOW – clicking this will open your inventory floater and the Received Items panel. The remaining options, DISCARD and BLOCK remain unchanged
  • If you are offline when an item is sent, you’ll still get a notification sent (which will appear when you log-in and get sent to your e-mail, if you have IM forwarding set-up) as per current behaviour
  • Recently received items tagged as “New” (click to enlarge)

    Recently received items will be tagged as “New” in Received Items, helping with identification (right)

  • Received Items provides almost the same degree of functionality for items it contains as the rest of your inventory. However:
    • You cannot directly rename items (i.e. right-click and select RENAME from the menu), although you can select the item’s Properties and rename it from there, if permitted
    • You cannot paste a copy of an object into Received Items (but you can obviously paste it into your main inventory panel wherever you like)
  • If you delete items from Received Items and they will go to your Trash, as usual. However, if you subsequently restore an item from Trash that was in Received Items – it will go to the most appropriate folder in your inventory (so a notecard will be restored to Notecards, a landmark to Landmarks, etc.)

Received Items as a Folder

Received Items seen as a folder in the RECENT tab (click to enlarge)

For those that like to use the RECENT tab in inventory, it is worthwhile pointing out that Received Items also appears here as a folder (although there is no corresponding folder in the main inventory view). The folder view has the same functionality as the panel, but offers an alternative way of viewing incoming items. The major difference between the two is, when viewed as a folder in the RECENT tab, Received Items does not display “New” against recently received items.

However, this will only last during your current SL session – as soon as you log-out from SL, the “Received Items” folder will vanish from RECENT, just like everything else, leaving you with just the Received Items panel to peruse the next time you log-in.

On the good side

Providing a single “point-of-entry” for new items coming into inventory may well ease the process of understanding how works inventory and getting newcomers started on good inventory husbandry and may encourage those who don’t engage in inventory  housekeeping to do so… Which is not to say this new approach is without issues or necessarily preferable. Right now, it has to be said the negatives outweigh the positives.

On the poor side

There is no hierarchy to Received Items: Outside of items that are received into folders via their delivery mechanism (e.g. SLM or a scripted object), Received Items presents a “flat” view of incoming goods. This is liable to create a headache for some.

For example, many in the rental business put-out “for rent / sale” signs on their vacant parcel, and may add trees and other bits and pieces – up to and including houses and sim extenders on the parcel as well. Some or all of these get returned by the new tenant when the parcel is rented – and until now have gone to the Lost and Found folder, where they can be easily identified and disposed of.

But under the new system, all this now gets lumped-in with everything else the Estate Owner / Manager is receiving as well. This could get very onerous in terms of sorting through stuff and separating the wheat from the chaff.

There is no capability to sort / order / filter items: Obviously, the intention is for Received Items to be routinely cleared-down by users on receipt of incoming goods, no matter what the source. However, there are going to be times when – even with the best intent in the world, the Received Items panel is going to run the risk of getting choked  - such as in the case of estate management as mentioned above, or where information is specifically requested via notecard (such as requests for product help) and so on. Even someone being away from SL on vacation for a week or to could come back to find their Received Items brimming. As such, it would be nice to offer people the ability to sort / order / filter contents.

Creates an artificial divide in inventory: The Received Items panel does tend to split inventory into two, and unless it is clearly and properly explained to the likes of new users, it could end up creating as main problems as it is intended to solve, particularly if new users are no encouraged to use it as intended, but simply allow incoming items to reside in the panel. Communication is the key here – and that’s not really LL’s strongest suit.

(Currently) does not appear to solve the capped IM problem: I have read from feedback elsewhere, but have been unable to verify myself, that this new approach doesn’t presently overcome the problem of goods failing to be delivered if IMs are capped. Whether this is because the code itself doesn’t contain a “fix” for doing so, or whether it’s actually not working as hoped, I can’t say. However, this is causing concern, and may still need to be addressed.

Opinion

There has been a lot of negative feedback from users on this new approach. Whereas Received Items was accepted for the forthcoming Direct Delivery system, people are questioning why everything now has to go into Received Items, rather than the more intuitive approach we currently have.

I personally can see both sides of the coin: as an established user, I’m very familiar and comfortable with the current behaviour – notecards coming in go to Notecards, landmarks to Landmarks, and so on. As such, I can only see this approach as being something of a step backwards – and I’m someone who is pretty obsessive about keeping my inventory sorted.

However, for new users, then the system – again with the caveat of “as long as it is properly explained” – offers a much easier-to-understand approach to the receipt of goods and items. At least initially. There is also the fact that it does present (or should eventually present) one consistent mode of behaviour for new items entering inventory – and consistent can be often be good.

The problem really is that this approach is one in which – yet again – established users appear are being faced with something that is definitely less intuitive and potentially useful than the current system in order to “improve” matters for the ever-elusive new user. Even for those (like me) who are obsessive about keeping inventory sorted, this approach adds an irritating additional level of management, simply because we do now have to faff around moving various received items around that once pretty much took care of themselves in the first instance.

As such, Received Items does run the risk of leaving people with the impression that the existing user community simply doesn’t figure in LL’s thinking, and how we use SL on a daily basis simply isn’t really understood. I could say more on that topic, but Saffia Widdershins already has, and very eloquently.

Related Links

Viewer release summary 2012: week 8

Updates for week ending: 26 Feb, 2012

This is intended to be a weekly round-up of current public SL viewers (of which I’m aware). Links to my most recent reviews of said viewers will be included, but may not reflect the current release. As few Viewers are static, and releases are made according to individual development cycles, further versions of any given Viewer may well be released between these updates, and as such the information here may become out-of-date as the week progresses. Please check with the relevant download pages.

Changes since the last round-up shown in green.

SL Official Viewers

Available for: Windows, Linux, Mac

V3.2-based TPVs

V1-based TPVs

  • Cool VL version 1.26.2.19 (stable) / 1.26.3.8 (experimental)
  • Imprudence version 1.3.2 (stable) / 1.4.0 (beta 2)
    • Released: 1.3.2 – May 18th, 2011; 1.4.0 – Sept 25th, 2011 (download page)
    • Available for: Windows, Linux, Mac
  • Phoenix Version 1.6.0.1600
  • Singularity version 1.6.0.3

Related Links