All government manuals (such as military field manuals and the like) follow a very simple, consistent rule with regard to callout notifications. A plain three-tiered level system designed to be clear and easy to understand with the concept of saying what it means and meaning what it says. These callout usually highlight something important you need to know as you follow the instruction on the main page and usually have to do with "If you do A, the result will be B".
The three tiers are as follows (with ridiculous examples):

  • The "Notice".
    As in: "NOTICE: If you do not replace the light bulb, the brake light will not function when applying brakes."

  • The "Caution":
    As in "CAUTION: Attempting to shoot your rifle while the barrel is plugged-up with mud could damage the rifle."

  • The "Warning":
    As in "WARNING: Do not inspect the end of a tank barrel during live-fire exercise or serious bodily injury or death could result."

The rules are pretty simple and consistent: A "Notice" simply means a certain way of doing things might not get you the expected result. However, a "Caution" could irreparably damage the item you are working with. And finally a "Warning" means screw the equipment, you could really end-up with a bad day if you fuck-up.

Now, back to Linden Lab's nuclear option regarding Viewer 2: It's like drugs... use it and your hooked. No, not emotionally, but rather kind of like a "once you use it, keep using it or else".

I don't believe for a second the way this all works is intentional by Linden Lab, but rather a side effect of some of the new features of viewer...features I really like. Specifically: the new "inventory links" that allow the "Outfits" portion of the sidecar (my word for "Side Bar").

Here is what is happening: if you fire-up Viewer 2 (V2 in my own vernacular) then the system takes a "snapshot" of you. Your shape, outfit, HUDs, all of it. This snapshot is updated regularly. However, this snapshot will prove dangerous for a lot of people.

In a nutshell: If you use V2 and logout (or crash out) then go to use another viewer, ANY other viewer, including the "old official" Linden Lab viewers, that snapshot sits idle waiting for V2 to access it. The other viewers don't mess with it and don't even know it's there. If you return to V2 later, that snapshot is restored.

In case that didn't make any sense to you, or you are unclear, I'll be very clear right now. Any and all changes you make in any viewer other than V2 are not saved to the system snapshot. Shape, skin, hair, outfit, HUDs, any and all customizations to any of these (including the contents of HUDs)... anything that is "attached" to you... none of the changes are recorded in that system snapshot.

In fact, if you already do use V2 - try it out. Set a look in V2. A particular outfit, HUDs, hair, whatever. Then logout (or crash-out as seems so often in V2 right now) - then fire-up any other viewer. Change things around a bit. If you are like me, you have many avatars. Go ahead, switch into the dragon or evil kitty or whatever. Change things around. Detatch your HUDs and attach different ones.

Now logout and then use V2 to login again. Whatch what happens. It's as though you never stopped using V2. Everything you have changed around in the other viewer is "erased". The state of your avatar and attachments (including HUDs and their contents) is "restored" to the last state they were in the last time you were using V2. It's as though you never logged in and changed things around at all.

So, the download page on the Second Life web site where you grab V2 should have a large box in bright red headline-size text on a black background with a skull-and-bones that says:

"WARNING: Playing ping-pong with different viewers could destroy your entire Second Life as you know it and be massively detrimental to your real life sanity!"

Case in point (and this is for all of you who "tried" V2 way back when and then decided to wait for the bugs to be worked-out - be warned): A friend tried V2 back when it was first "released" (a few months ago). She then fires it up last night. Go ahead. Take a wild guess what happened.

Here's the "nuclear" part: in utter WTF frustration, killing the V2 and returning to (name any other viewer here) does NOT reverse that snapshot restoration. Meaning the V2 restores your state to what it was the last time you used it. Going back to any other viewer and what you get is however V2 left it.

KABOOM. Mushroom clouds galore. (I can envision Outy Banjo's super-poofer right about now.)

So, if you want to evaluate V2 properly (and I do think everyone should evaluate it, really I do) - here is the "proper" way to do so:

Download V2, Install it but don't use it yet. Instead, pick a day and time, for example Friday evening. Fire it up. Use it all weekend and do NOT use any other viewers. The reason is to give V2 a fair shake. Linden Lab at least deserves a fair evaluation, rather than people getting frustrated after 5-minutes then bad-mouthing the viewer and Linden Lab. It's just not right (for any product).

Vow to yourself you will use it at least all the way through Sunday night, no matter how frustrated you might get. Or better yet, all week long. Because this is going to be the one and only time you will make your decision regarding V2 altogether, forever. And besides, it gives you a chance to find all the preferences to make V2 usable again.

Side note here: Linden Lab has screwed-up a few things in a major way: First, the preferences in v2 are scattered all over the place. Not all preferences are in the preferences window. Learn to right-click everything, every interface element. You will find preferences that help bring back a lot of the old style functionality. Such as seeing parcel permissions and coordinates in the "location bar" at the top of the screen. And restoring tabbed IM window. (Hey Linden Lab: Make-up our minds, will you? First it was separate IM windows. Then you changed it to tabs and we all hated you. You have trained us for two years to use tabbed windows. Now you change it back... WTF!?

The second thing is that the opposite preferences are set to default - such as what I mentioned being off, not on like they should be for migration reasons. Also, you already know about CTRL-ALT-D for advanced menu. The new "Dev" menu is CTRL-ALT-Q. You definitely want that menu.

Okay, there are a few bugs (God I hope they are not "features") that will hopefully be fixed in the next update: music plays every goddammedtime you come into aparcel, no matter your preferences. You always go into fly mode when you stand from sitting on a prim (including teleporters and the like). TP to a new destination and the viewer can actually freeze for 10 to 30-seconds at a time if your draw preference is set very high while textures download and so on.

At the end of your proper evaluation you must decide: keep it? Or dump it?

If you choose to dump it then do so. And never, ever even think about using it again. Especially because the longer you wait to return to it, the more fecked-up your account will be (all changes you make in the 'between" time will be erased.)

If you choose to keep it, then make it your primary viewer. Use other viewers sparingly and don't make massive changes while using them. I suppose for all you Emerald lovebunny fanbois and gals out there the answer would be to not touch V2 with a virtual 100-foot pole. Evar!

The one caveat to everything I state above: I have not tested how V2 will "react" after a full uninstall and then reinstall. In other words, if that "system snapshot" is stored locally or at the server level.

I would suggest you exercise WARNING just the same.

Not caution.
Not just a notice.