New-to-Mac Users: How to Install Firestorm

This question came up in the English Firestorm support group tonight, so I figured I’d tutorial it! As markets change and more users are switching to Mac, installing a program from a DMG instead of a Setup.exe can be a little confusing for some. Hopefully, this tutorial makes it easier to install Firestorm and other programs that install from a DMG.

installing-FS

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But I’m terrible at reading!

I have to say, this phrase probably gets my goat the most. Not just because it allows the sayer to be absolutely lazy when it comes to reading the wiki, but because they have to read the group text anyway. Group chat isn’t in voice, and it isn’t in pictures. It’s in text. This rant goes right along with the rant about not being a techno geek. Saying you’re horrible at reading is pretty absurd. Surely, you’ve learned at some point in your education how to cope with reading comprehension issues. Other than sheer laziness of the teacher, there’s no other way you could have graduated. Be that as it may, I actually have something positive to say on this matter.

 

Read slowly. Take it one line at a time.

If you happen to be one of those who say they can’t follow the wiki links because you’re horrible at reading, there is a solution. Take the page one line at a time, and reread it until the instructions make sense. Because you’re reading on a static web page, you can take as much time as you need to work through your problem. The text won’t leave you behind like the group chat will, and it also won’t get lagged out. There’s no need to feel rushed. Please feel free to work at your own pace. Doing so will actually help you figure out the problem and understand how the instructions lead you to the solution. You’ll be much less frustrated when you work at your own pace rather than feeling stressed to fix the problem NAO.

The fact something doesn’t work right is frustrating enough, and we all do understand that. That’s why we continually update the wiki with new information for common problems and even some not-so-common issues. It helps us help you help us all. When you read the wiki one line at a time, and work through the instructions at your own pace, you really do end up learning a little bit more about the viewer and may even have a solution for someone else with a similar problem. Plus, you know where to look when your friends have issues and can help walk them through it a little at a time as well.

 

If you don’t understand, just ask!

Contrary to popular belief, the support team doesn’t throw wiki links out for shits ‘n giggles. The wiki links are designed to offer each user a truckload of information in a single line of chat. This helps cut down on chat lag, but also eliminates huge wall ‘o texts. We also understand that not everyone learns at the same pace, and that not everyone will understand every line of instruction on the wiki. We’ve tried to word the information into an easily understood language for the least techy amongst us, but sometimes not even that is understood by all. If you don’t understand something, please don’t hesitate to ask in group. We’re here to help you learn, and you can’t learn if you don’t ask.

 

Go to class!

As a final word, don’t be afraid to attend the Firestorm classes. They’re held regularly, and offer a lot of information on the viewer in short, one hour chunks. There’s usually one or two support members present as well, and an open Q & A after the class for any and all questions you may have. These are very beneficial and 100% free for all users. Many of the users who attend them are very pleased to leave the class knowing a little bit more about how their viewer works, and they go on to help others who are having issues. As a support member, I also enjoy seeing who shows up to the classes. It’s great to see some of the users of this great viewer, and it’s always a pleasure to meet you in avatar. Come join us! We don’t bite. Well…I don’t bite very hard. I can’t speak for the rest of the team.

Whitelisting Firestorm and its plugins in Gatekeeper

For those of you wondering how to add programs as exceptions in the Mac OS X firewall, wonder no more! This tutorial will show you how to do just that very thing. Also, this tutorial walks you through being able to add package contents such as the SLPlugin and SLVoice assets from the app package into the firewall. It does get a little advanced for most users at the point where the plugins are added, but I tried to keep it simple enough for anyone to follow along and accomplish successfully.

whitelist-in-gatekeeper

Pasta bowls are a MUST for all homes

So, I’ve recently come to the conclusion of “why didn’t I buy these sooner?” Pasta bowls are great, multi-purpose eating dishes that have become quite the requirement for many of my meal time needs. That and my Crock Pot. Oh, the joy of being able to set dinner to cook before I leave for work and then come home to have a nice, hot, homecooked meal. Even if I don’t go to work, having the Crock Pot do the cooking for me is still an amazing feat for dinner time munchings. It’s funny, because when I was a kid, I’d crinkle my nose any time I saw my mom drag out the Crock Pot. Now? Now I wonder how I lived without one for almost five years.

The worst thing about it, though, is beef tends to like to leave this film on the inside of the stoneware that’s rather unappealing. It’s one of those things, that no matter how much you scrub it, no matter how long you soak it, it just doesn’t come off without help. “But Hata, how’d you get it off” you ask? Bar Keeper’s Friend, my friend. The liquid kind, I might add. I’m not so sure the powder kind is safe for ceramic, but the liquid kind is so long as you don’t put it directly on the enamel. Instead, put the liquid stuff on the sponge and spread it around that way, rinsing immediately afterward. And use it sparingly. There’s an acid in the stuff that allows it to cut through the tough grimey stuff on your stainless steel cookware that could possibly damage the cookware, etc., if left on it for too long. But enough about that. You want to hear about the pasta bowls.

Pasta bowls have kind of a deceptive name to them. Sure, they’re MADE for pasta and serve it beautifully, but they’re also great for other food too. Soups and stews are great to serve in a pasta bowl because they’re not as deep as your cereal or salad bowls may be. Yet they’re deeper than those puny soup bowls, making them a great choice for those hearty soups and stews that you just can’t get enough of. They’re a perfect size to serve that beef stew, because you actually can see the beef and other veggies. Plus, because it’s shallow but wide, you can fill it and not feel like you’ve put too much on your plate. It fills both your eyes and your stomach without overfilling the latter.

But wait! There’s more! Pasta bowls are also great for that tossed salad you planned to serve with your dinner. Again, because of their wide but shallow nature, you can feel free to stuff your bowl full of a nice hearty salad that won’t leave you grabbing your tummy for more…or wishing you ate less. It’s very much the same thing as with the soups. It looks fuller because it’s a shallow plate with high edges, so your mind THINKS you’re stuffing your gob to kingdom come, but your tummy thanks you because you didn’t overfill the gas tank again. But not only that, you can pile on the toppings without losing them in transit. Like a whole Roma tomato sliced on your salad? No problem! The high edges of the pasta bowl will hold them, and its mighty girth will let you spread them out so you can actually eat your salad before eating all the tomatoes. Croutons? No biggie! The high edges and wide diameter also help hold the crunchy bread pieces in place. And don’t worry about dripping dressing! There’s no salad running over the edges, remember?

So far, I haven’t experimented with other ways to use my pasta bowls. I just know I wish I had more than three. Drop me a line on Twitter about how you’ve used your pasta bowls and maybe links to your favorite slow cooker recipes. I wanna know what I can stuff in my gob that tastes good!

Hata’s Tuts Episode 0: A New Post

Just updating because I feel like it and because I can. I’ve done a bit of changing the right sidebar because, well, I got thinking. *sits down for some story time* I don’t really want the blog to come off as looking official to Firestorm and such, so RSS feed is gone and the class schedule is gone. The links to the wiki and main Firestorm blog are still there though. Those are too useful to make go poof. I may put the RSS feed back at some point, but not sure.

I also decided to go for a more personal theme for the blog. Previously, I chose something that was similar to the Firestorm colors, but then that decision was antiquated when I decided to make this a tutorial blog for just about anything I could think of. So, a more personal theme was required. 😀

My thoughts are my own

Mic check. Is this thing on? Good. It has occurred to me that before I get too carried away with this blogging thing, that I put some things out on the table. They are very important disclaimery things about the blog, my part on the Firestorm team, and how this relates to the project.

This blog is primarily about tutorials. I stared it with the idea that it was going to be Firestorm only, so that the wiki could be translated for the more visual amongst us. I then got thinking (dangerous, I know), why does it have to ONLY be Firestorm? I do enjoy making tutorial graphics for lots of things, so why not expand the horizons? Thus, my decision to add tutorials that don’t relate to the Firestorm viewer was made. Tuts. This blog is about lots and lots of tuts.

My place on the Firestorm team is one of in-world support. I’m online and in Secondlife somewhere, and while I don’t usually take one on one IM sessions from users, I do on the rare occassion if the Lagdra in group chat is too much of a beast to overcome. All I ask is you clearly state the issue at hand rather than start off with “hi, I have a problem.” The faster I get he details on your sitch, the faster I get you off to enjoying the Linden world as we know it. Seems fair, right?

Finally, and this is the big thing I need you all to pay attention to, this blog is NOT affiliated with the Firestorm Viewer Project in any official sense of the term. It is run and maintained by me, and me alone. That said, I may say some things here that are HIGHLY opinionated. That’s just how I am. My opinions, however, are mine and mine ALONE. I do not, cannot, and WILL NOT speak for anyone on the team. I want to stress this again: my words are mine. No one else owns them, no one else feels the same way that I do, and no one else can share partial or complete blame for the idiocy that can sometimes come out of my face. This is so important, that it’s also repeated on the about page.

My thoughts are my own. Please regard them as such.

HTTP Textures: On or Off?

You may have seen the syndrome of your avatar stuck in a perpetual cycle of rebaking. Blurry one second, clear the next, rinse and repeat. This is most likely due to HTTP textures not playing well with your system and or network. HTTP textures is one of those settings that either works for you, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, well, you get the aforementioned scenario. Then there are others who are able to use it, and textures come in to view quickly and without any hair pulling by you, your computer and network, or the viewer. So what’s best? On or off? Well, it depends. HTTP textures are kind of iffy. When they work, things rez beautifully and quickly. When they don’t…eh….they don’t.

But what is HTTP textures you ask? It’s simply a second way for your viewer to pull textures from the server to your cache. It’s one of two ways, actually. The first way is called UDP. With UDP, textures are requested by your viewer to the region. The region then tells the server “I need these textures to go to this viewer, please.” Then the server says, “one minute. Let me find them.” When the server finds the textures, it hands it off to the region and the region then hand delivers the textures to your viewer that then caches it locally on your computer.

With HTTP textures, you skip the hand off between the viewer and the region and pull the textures directly from the server via HTTP protocol. In most cases, it’s a very fast and efficient method to pull the info for what’s needing to be rendered. In the worst case scenario, it gets botched up somewhere and just doesn’t work well. That’s when you get the blurry-clear-blurry-clear-rinse and repeat syndrome in how your avatar ultimately bakes. The graphic below will help walk you through basic troubleshooting of this annoying occurrence that will hopefully fix you. Do keep in mind that if turning OFF HTTP textures fixes the issue, it’s best to leave them off for the future.

NOTE: The following image is fairly large, but it should load quickly on a decent connection.

HTTP Texture Tut

By hatakekohime Posted in Archive

F1, F1, F1!

F1. The universal function button for help. At least it was eons ago when I was just starting out on Windows 3.1 and then up through ME. I’m not sure when F1 got hidden under the fluff of online help guides in programs like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, but it’s not as prominently pushed these days. Either that, or I’m just not looking. Either way, F1 plays a HUGE role in the Firestorm viewer. It’s your direct link to lag-free help via the Firestorm wiki, and I must say, it’s a handy help tool to have.

I really can’t stress using the wiki enough. It has topics on every single question you could possibly imagine. And if it’s not there, well, we’ll get it there eventually. The in-world support groups are fantastic on days the Lagdra doesn’t decide to wreak Havok on us all, but there are days when it’s just so bad I find myself relogging several times just to get the group chat to open for me. That’s where F1 comes in handy. It’s your quick link to the biggest body of documentation on the viewer, and it comes to you with no chat lag.

Need to troubleshoot a bake fail? Press F1 then search for bake fail. You’ll find http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/bake_fail just a few clicks away. Curious about everything the bridge adds to your viewer? Press F1, search for bridge and you get http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/fs_bridge to peer over. There’s even a wiki about filing a jira on that bug you may have just found. That’s right here: http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/file_a_jira . So you see, there’s a lot of info inside the wiki, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. More like poked it and made it annoyed at me.

Give F1 a press and see where the wiki takes you. 🙂

“I’m not a techno-geek!”

We’ve all heard it before a million times a day. We send a user to the Firestorm Wiki to troubleshoot a problem or learn how to use a feature and we hear “I can’t understand that because I’m not a techno-geek!” Wikis are, by their very nature, very wordy. What they aren’t, however, is hard to understand for most people. Some people simply do not want to even try to work through the wiki links they’re provided in chat and instead insist on having their hands held through the process.

Then, there are others still, who are more visual in learning. I happen to be a more visual learner myself, though you’d probably never have guessed that. I prefer pictures to words, as they tend to tell me more of what the heck I’m trying to do. Thus, I’ve decided to start this blog in hopes of educating a few more of the Firestorm users who say they can’t make heads or tails of the wiki.

I’ll be updating this periodically with visual tutorials to help guide you through the basic troubleshooting steps on the wiki. I can’t cover all OSes, as I don’t have them all and I won’t even try to have them all. But I will attempt to at least cover a couple of the more major ones, time permitting.