A genuinely useful program . . .

I don’t generally write of such modern items as “software,” whatever that is, but I’ve come across something that is genuinely useful to anyone who fears losing data to the asset computational engines. I was reading an article by someone and saw mention of Second Inventory, a program that allows one to save one’s assets to their own local computational engine. Save one’s assets indeed!

I, being generally paranoid, was quite hesitant to jump right in, but mention from a dear friend of the potential loss of a great deal of inventory made me take the plunge. Second Inventory makes use of the much-maligned libsecondlife libraries to pull your inventory directly from in-world and place their representations on your own device. My concern is that this would give an unscrupulous developer the ability to take copies of your precious builds to use for their own nefarious deeds. More on that later.

The program is still in its early stages, and after installing, you are told that the program is still effectively in Beta, though you are not told this on their website. The program is reasonably priced, so I wasn’t too concerned, but I am more concerned with the potential risk of data loss when backups are made. Essentially, the program places you in world and objects that you are backing up are rezzed or attached (I believe… I’ll have to confirm this) in order to be backed up. I think that is how it works as there seems to be mention of such in their forums.

I’ve run the program and backed up all of my scripts. The current version does not allow for mass backups. You have to select each inventory item separately and back it up individually. This can be quite tedious if you have several thousand items to back up. Luckily, the items I am most concerned with are those that I’ve built, so there really aren’t that many things I need to back up. Backups of full folders is coming soon, so this limitation will soon be in the past.

The developers have put in checks to determine rights to objects before backing them up. It will only allow you to back up an item for which you have full rights. If, for example, you purchased a wonderful skin (that would be truly sickening in RL!), you likely do not have copy/mod/tran rights for that object, therefore you will not be able to back it up. Kudos to them for ensuring that objects are not illegally copied!

I do have concerns before I recommend this product. As mentioned, the program is effectively in Beta. It is being updated quite regularly and the developer is adding features to improve its capability, performance and reliability, but it does have a few bugs. It did what I needed and worked well enough for me, but then I’ve been a programmer for 28 years and an IT manager for 9 years IRL, so I am more accepting of flaws when I know they can exist and they are being actively worked on when reported. Imagine that! Listening to your customers bug reports. What a novel concept!

Another concern, borne from my own personal paranoia, is this: what is to stop the program from saving a copy of my object to my computer, but at the same time, saving it to someone else’s computer? It is quite conceivable that someone could do such a thing with this program. It would likely become quite unwieldy, but it is possible. I will have to monitor the network traffic on my computational engine to determine what is happening in the background, but in this case, so far I feel I can trust the developer. I’ve read his postings in his forum and he seems genuinely interested in creating a good product. Then again, what’s to stop ANY developer from putting code into their application that sends works of my own intellectual property to their servers? Ethics. Besides, if he can develop this program to where it is today, my little code will be of no consequence to him. He will make far more from this program than I will make from my LSL scripts. There, paranoia put to rest.

If you choose to purchase this program, be aware that it is not yet perfect. It is meant as a means to back up and restore your inventory and will do so for multi-prim objects (see the video on their web site… very nice). I hope that the developer is successful with this application, as it is much needed by the 2ndL developer community. It’s not perfect, but the developer listens, so it will get there with peoples’ input.

Now, what I would like is for a good development environment (Eclipse) with a good plugin for LSL (ByronStar), with the ability to compile and test remotely (LSLeditor) and then upload to inventory directly (hmmm… ummm…). Perhaps directly to the prim used for testing. Oh, and if I had four wheels, I’d be a wagon. Now, if we could combine the features of Eclipse/ByronStar or LSLeditor with Second Inventory, I’d be a happy camper. Oh, camping is bad.


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