Thursday, May 2, 2013

I don't have a thing to wear!

Well, no, that's not strictly true.  All my clothes are still there... there have even been some additions to the clothing folders, what with finding some mesh items that (despite the evil that is Standard Sizing) can be made to work.

What I don't have any more is my varied and extensive Outfits folder.  Let me explain....

I have mentioned, in previous posts, what I called the "blue limbo" problem.  Basically, this means that when I log in, it's in a semi-disconnected state - I can't move, can't communicate, my ping time is pegged at the maximum value, and the world around me is partially or (more often) completely unloaded - nothing but blue sky and blue sea.

This happened enough to be annoying, was fixed for a while, but has been back with a vengeance since my return to SL.

So, I went to the lengths of filing a bug report... but, more pertinently, also went to the lengths of examining my log files.

The thing is, when you log into SL, a whole host of things happen behind the scenes to get you inworld (or not).  And these things are recorded, by default (on my Win7 box) in C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Roaming\Second Life\logs.  (The AppData folder is invisible by default, you may have to Take Steps to see it.)

Studying the text file in there called SecondLife.log... well, it is long and complex, and if you're not intimately familiar with the viewer's source code (and I'm not) it's not all that meaningful.  But, as I scanned the lines of text with my jaded eyes, a few things leapt out at me.

One of them was the fact that errors were being returned relating to outfits - specifically, "broken links" in the outfit folders.

Now, as we know from previous witterings on this blog, outfits are individual folders containing, not actual items, but links to items in the inventory.  However, those links are, themselves, entries in your inventory, and in SL's databases... and, if something has gone agley with them, things can go wrong.

Was it possible, I asked myself, that the system was spending sufficient time and effort chasing its tail, following invalid entries in broken links, that it was timing out on completing other, more important tasks?  Yes, I answered myself, this was certainly a possibility.

So... track down the broken links and remove them?  I thought about that.... I could get which objects they referred to, after all, from the log file.  But I had a lot of outfits.  (How many?  We shall soon see.)  I rather blenched at the idea of trawling through them individually.  Besides, many of them needed updating anyway - they used old skins and old eyes, or something equally naff.  So.  Time, Glorf, I said to myself, to bite the bullet.

So I selected every outfit I wasn't actually wearing at the time, and deleted them all.

I crashed, of course.  But, when I logged back on... some 13,000 items lighter in the inventory... I was logged in properly, straight away, and had a darn sight better performance than usual.  Whether this was down to the elimination of broken links, or simply to the reduction of my inventory by something over 20%, I don't know.

But things worked, for a time, and I was a happy Glorf, though a Glorf who had to trawl through actual inventory folders to find stuff to wear... Then the viewer sent through its automatic update, from 3.5.0 to 3.5.1 - and, next time I logged in, blue limbo again.

So it wasn't that... or it wasn't just that.

Well, I shall persevere.  But all this demonstrates, I think, just how many cans of worms you can open, trying to fix a software problem.

It also raises several other questions, such as why those darn links got broken in the first place.  The items they linked to are still in my inventory, and haven't been moved out of the original folders they came in, nor have they been edited or otherwise fiddled with, by me at least.  So what happened to get them unlinked?  (The main culprits seem to be two pairs of boots - one a freebie set I could happily dispose of entirely, the other a Steam Hunt prize of quite excessive sexiness which I should be sorry to sacrifice.  What's so problematical about them, though?  Answers on a postcard please.)