So now I’m watching Desperate Housewives
and reading People magazine.
I never get on the computer
I’ve been banned from the machine.
But late at night I sometimes wonder
about the one I was to meet
if she’s still waiting in the Elbow Room
sitting by and empty seat
from ‘Escape - The Second Life Song‘
So, your partner, your children, your mom, your dad, your roommate or your cat spends just to much time in Second Life according to you? Sure, we can solve this. There are a few options, of which all require messing with their computer, content on it, or the house’s internet connection. Be aware that changing settings on a computer not owned by you is probably a crime. Trashing it most definitely is. On top of that, it will probably not help your relationship when they find out, that is… if they find out. I’m going to give you three options, which range from ‘obvious’ to ’subtle’ to limit their Second Life usage - ‘SLugage’ in further references - but first, do ask that person: “Are you making any money in Second Life, I mean ‘real’ money?” If the answer is “Yes!” and the number is high enough to justify the time spend, please, let them be, and ask for a stake in their virtual business.
Cancel your Internet Contract
Get your ISP on the line, and ask them to cancel your internet subscription. Wrap up the modems and router delivered to you, and mail them back to the ISP.
Long term solution? It will probably take over a week to get new gear and ISP to handle reactivation. A few months if you’re lucky and their client support sucks.
Chance at discovery? Extremely high. Unless you’re a damn good liar and can bring “but bills weren’t paid, so they cancelled our contract and came to confiscate our modem” in a convincing way, you’re not getting away with this.
There are a trillion of ways to bring a computer - or only it’s Operating System - to an untimely death. Google is your friend.
Effectiveness? High, unless you have a second computer. Which is probably less powerful, so this might even then still lower the SLusage. Physical destruction works best.
Long term solution? This depends on how well you play this. Try to send in your computer to the manufacturer, or at least a PC shop you know doesn’t work very quickly. If the person you want to help or any family members or aquintances are ‘computer savvy’, this will only buy you a few days.
Chance at discovery? That’s all up to you. Choose your method well, and think of a valid reason. “Windows asked for updates to be installed and I clicked “yes” will work well with any Windows operating system, especially Vista. Else use “something asked if it could update itself”.
Second Life Client Parameters
My personal favourite! It’s subtle, and will take them ages to figure out. You will change a parameter (a kind of command) that the Second Life viewer reads on start-up and obeys to. We’re not going to ruin his/her Second Life experience completely, but we are going to limit the time they can spend in-world before they crash.
Instructions for Windows:
- Obtain access to the computer. (You’re on your own here! ;))
- Locate the Second Life Shortcut - it’s a little blueish hand - and then right click. Choose ‘properties’. (You shall likely find Second Life shortcut icons on both the desktop and in the start menu. You need to do this for each shortcut you think they use for starting the program.)
- There’s a field that says “Target:”. At the end of that one add “–quitafter <secs>” (without the quotes) where you replace <secs> with the amount of time you want the program to be open before it crashes, in seconds. Some options:
- “–quitafter 30″ => “OMG?! Each time I start Second Life, it almost directly crashes! WTF?!”
- “–quitafter 600″ => 10 minutes is a reasonable time, and one could expect the viewer to crash. By then they probably already engaged in some activity that could explain the crash.
- “–quitafter 3600″ => You give them an hour to spend inworld. After the crash, they are likely to go fetch a drink, and let the computer recover. Find something to distract them from the virtual world by then, so they won’t start the client again. Food, sex, TV, … I’m sure you can think of some possible distractions.
- Press “OK” to confirm your changes.
- Repeat this step for any Second Life shortcuts you find.
- Find a mirror and practise your “serious and concerned face”, so you won’t betray yourself when you hear sudden swearing coming from the computer area later today.
This is ” - - quitafter <secs>” with two ‘dashes’, but without the spaces, WP seems to render this weirdly!
Some extra good advice: Implement this ‘fix’ right after you’ve heard them mentioning a ‘client update’. They will most likely blame the client in stead of you.
Effectiveness? High to Medium, depending on the time settings. It is possible your target will dodge your changes by using an alternative client. Of course, you can try to feed that client’s shortcut the same parameter using the above procedure, only replacing “Second Life shortcut” by “Hippo Viewer shortcut”, … .
Long term solution? It might be you need to repeat this after a client update, or the installation of a client which does not accept this parameter solves things. But still, I’m pretty confident about this one.
Chance at discovery? Low, definitely pretty low. Unless your target’s intelligence is way above (the) average (SLuser). If you try this “fix”, let me know how long it takes them to find out. If ever. ;)
Personal use of the “–quitafter <secs>” client parameter
Of course, the “–quitafter <secs>” parameter does not only limits other people’s SLugage - but can also be an aid to managing your own virtual life. A few use cases:
- You tell yourself ‘only an hour’ but end up in-world the entire night. Quick solve: “–quitafter 3600″. (Of course, you need the strength to not re-start your client.)
- There’s pizza in the oven. Quick solve: “–quitafter 720″.
- You promise yourself to only quickly login to answer IM’s and notecards, but need some help keeping that promise: “–quitafter 600″.
Now, if only there was a “-quiton buyoutfit”, no? ;) Think you can do more with client parameters? He’s the overview list on the Second Life wiki.